American Birkebeiner News

Posted 06. January 2004 by Editor

HAYWARD, Wis. -- Discover Wisconsin, a television program showcasing
great get-aways throughout the state, will air three segments
highlighting the American Birkebeiner ski race. The annual event, held
the
third weekend in February, attracts 6,500 skiers from around the world
and 15,000 spectators to cheer them on.

The Discover Wisconsin segment will highlight the American Birkebeiner
and Kortelopet ski races, the Birkie trail run held in August of each
year and the annual Women's Clinic held each October at Telemark Resort
in Cable. Segments will be aired on Channel 10 Duluth/Superior at 5:30
p.m. CST on January 10-11, 2004, September 11-12, 2004 and January 8-9,
2005.

Viewers outside the Channel 10 reception area can go to the
www.DiscoverWisconsin.com website for a listing of channels, cable
networks and satellite dish airings available in their area. "The
production is very well done and does a great job of highlighting our
major sponsors, the Birkie Trail, skiers, bikers, runners, hikers,
volunteers and the surrounding community," said Shirley Riedmann,
executive director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. "The
production covers winter, summer and fall on the Birkie Trail and shows
what an impact this trail has on the region and state and what a delight
it is for recreational and competitive athletes throughout the world."

Viewers will hear from skiers of all ages and abilities who describe, in
their own words, how the annual ski race has altered their lifestyles.
Skier Mark Serafin said, "There is no comparison to being out on skis
and being out in a race where it's a timed event. I've really enjoyed it
... being able to compete in a race and set a milestone for the race and
obtain it. It's a great adventure." Tom Thornton said it brings
countries and ethnic backgrounds together. "We are all one when it comes
to the Birkebeiner."

The segment shows the morning of the big race with competitors lined up
in waves or groups based on competitive status. The first to hit the
trail when the cannon sounds is the wave of elite men and women who are
competing in the esteemed International Ski Federation (FIS) Marathon
Cup series. Next come 10 waves of participants leaving in groups of
hundreds. "You line up in those gates and that alone is an awe-inspiring
sight when you have that many skiers all ready for the gun," said Don
Sissons, a wave one skier, "and when the gate comes up you go for it
and it's a case of putting your head down and staying with the pack
because it's pretty fast and furious action. There are a lot of people
out there; there are a lot of things shared among racers during the
race. It's really an enjoyable experience."

With the trails already in superb shape, the 2004 Subaru American
Birkebeiner and Johnson Bank Kortelopet, slated Saturday, February 21,
2004 in Cable and Hayward, Wisconsin, is shaping up to be a race that
will once again attract thousands of elite and citizen skiers. An
expected 6,500 skiers will descend upon the communities of Cable and
Hayward, two small towns with a total population of 3,000. Hundreds
of volunteers from both communities as well as outlying regions will be
on hand to stuff racer bib packets, slice oranges for race day food
stations, and register eager skiers in the days leading up to the race.
Hundreds of business and community volunteers will staff hotels,
restaurants and retail stores to assist skiers and their families.
Hundreds of volunteers will be on hand race day to hand out 10,000
oranges, 5,000 gallons of water and 5,000 gallons of Powerade sport
drink. And thousands of spectators -- 15,000 or more -- will line the
trails and the Main Street finish line ringing cowbells and cheering
skiers on. They'll also watch a range of other ski events throughout the
week. This is an event with stories of personal accomplishment and
community pride. This is a event with a tradition that spans three
decades. This is an event with a worldwide focus that brings skiers from
19 countries together in the spirit of camaraderie and competition. To
learn more about the Birkie, tune in to Discover Wisconsin or join
Birkie 2004 festivities from February 19-21.

For more information or to register for the Subaru American Birkebeiner,
Johnson Bank Kortelopet, Salomon Elite Sprints, Hayward Chamber of
Commerce Citizen Sprints, Century Tel Junior Birkie, Cheqtel
Communications 10K, or the Sons of Norway/Swiss Miss Barnebirkie, call
715-634-5025, e-mail birkie@birkie.com, or log on to www.birkie.com.

Birkie 2004 is sponsored by Subaru, Johnson Bank, Polartec, Murphy
McGinnis Media and other businesses throughout the region and country.

Contact: Leslie Hamp, Media Coordinator
Phone: 715-682-5824 * Fax: 715-682-2205 * E-Mail: leslie@birkie.com


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