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All you need to know ahead of Birkebeinerrennet Season XV

Birkebeinerrennet, the 12th stage in Ski Classics and the final Grand Classics event of Season XV takes place this Sunday, March 17, from Rena to Lillehammer in Norway. Here are all the facts you need to know ahead of the event.

Photo: Magnus Östh/Ski Classics

Ski Classics Season XV continues with Birkebeinerrennet, which was planned to take place this Saturday in Norway but was postponed to Sunday, March 17, due to severe weather conditions.

BIRKEBEINERRENNET

Ski Classics Season XV heads to Norway this weekend for another action-packed Pro Tour stage and Grand Classics event, Birkebeinerrennet.

While not the longest race in the Pro Tour, Birkebeinerrennet boasts one of the most challenging and demanding courses. Covering 54 kilometers, this traditional Grand Classics event presents skiers with a formidable endurance test. 

The stage starts with a long uphill stretch, with only a relatively brief downhill segment, to the mountaintop at Raudfjellet (Iconic Climb). Then, Pro Team athletes will face the second challenging uphill starting at 28km, and after 40km of “mountain skiing,” skiers reach Sjusjøen. 

Finally, as they approach the latter part of the course, skiers can savor the excitement of speed as they descend towards the finish line at the Olympic stadium, located a few kilometers away from the heart of Lillehammer city.

The historic race between Rena and Lillehammer is always exciting, with never-ending climbs, stunning scenery, and a fast finish down from Sjusjøen. It’s a proper classic finishing to the Grand Classics events of Season XV.

Also Read – Birkebeinerrennet: Ski Classics Season XV goes to Norway 

BIRKEBEINERRENNET – COURSE MAP & PROFILE

Birkebeinerrennet – Ski Classics Pro Tour Event 12

  • Date: March 16, 2024 (postponed to Sunday, March 17, 2024)
  • Distance: 54km Classic Technique
  • Place: Rena-Lillehammer, Norway
  • Start Time: Men 7:45 CET / Women 8:00 CET
  • Number of SC Climbs: 2
    • Raudfjellet: 20km (Iconic Climb)
    • Midtfjellet: 34km
  • Number of SC Sprints: 
  • Website: Birkebeinerrennet 
  • Live Center: Birkebeinerrennet
  • SC Play: Birkebeinerrennet

Birkebeinerrennet program, start lists, live timing, and live streaming on SC Play can be found HERE and HERE

BIRKEBEINERRENNET SEASON XIV – VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

HISTORY & TRADITIONS

Like Vasaloppet, Birkebeinerrennet is one of the world’s most iconic long-distance ski races, steeped in a rich historical legacy filled with tales of courage and adventure. The saga dates to the harsh times of the 13th century, when two brave soldiers, known as birkebeiners, undertook a daring mission to rescue a young prince, defying the harsh forces of nature as they traversed treacherous mountain terrain. 

This young prince, Haakon, would eventually ascend to the throne as King. As a tribute to the prince and his courageous rescuers, every participant in Birkebeinerrennet must carry a 3.5-kilogram backpack, symbolizing the prince’s weight.

Also Read: Why carry a backpack at Birkebeinerrennet? 

Birkebeinerrennet. Photo: Magnus Östh/Ski Classics

NORWEGIAN ATMOSPHERE

The starting point of “Birken” is a small town called Rena. It has a friendly and cozy atmosphere, while Lillehammer is more city-like, with almost 28.000 inhabitants. Both places can easily be accessed by train from Oslo airport. The Rena Military Camp, Norway’s largest military camp, is northeast of Rena. 

Lillehammer’s center is a late nineteenth-century concentration of wooden houses. It enjoys a picturesque location overlooking the northern part of Lake Mjøsa and the river Lågen, surrounded by mountains. Lillehammer is also an Olympic town, having hosted the 1994 Winter Olympic Games and the 2016 Youth Winter Olympics. 

In addition to Birkebeinerrennet and other sports activities, Lillehammer and its surrounding areas have several other tourist attractions such as the Garmo Stave Church, built around 1150, the PS Skibladner, the world’s oldest paddle steamer in scheduled service, rock carvings at Drotten, Fåberg, and the sculpture Mothership with Standing Matter designed by Antony Gormley. 

There are also many museums to visit, like the Norwegian Olympic Museum, Lillehammer Art Museum, and Maihaugen, the largest open-air museum in Norway. 

SKI CLASSICS ICONIC CLIMBS

The Iconic Climb, launched during Season XIV, is a category in the Ski Classics points table. It is used for the most iconic climbs in Ski Classics. 

There will be four Iconic Climbs for Season XV. The second is Raudfjellet, the first climb of Birkebeinerrennet. 

Raudfjellet, from 300 to 880m above sea level; the climb is 19 kilometers long from the start in Rena. It’s not the steepest climb, but it is often very high-paced already from the start, and hence the climb is located on top of a mountain also gives another dimension, the wind, and of course, when passing the climb line, the splendid view of Norway!

Read More: Ski Classics Iconic Climbs Season XV

GRAND CLASSICS

The Grand Classics are the four largest and most prestigious events in Ski Classics: Marcialonga, Jizerská50 (event canceled for Season XV), Vasaloppet, and Birkebeinerrennet. 

During Season XI, the Grand Classics events and the Grand Slam were introduced in Ski Classics. The concept was an immediate success and a great motivation among the best Pro Team athletes of Ski Classics. Nobody has completed a Grand Slam in the history of long-distance skiing.

If you win all four Grand Classics, Marcialonga, Jizerská50, Vasaloppet, and Birkebeinerrennet, in the same season, you complete a Grand Slam.

SKI CLASSICS FANTASY

The SC Fantasy League for Season XV is in action. Join the excitement of Ski Classics managing your own Fantasy Team. Win prizes throughout the season and chase the Fantasy champion title of Season XV. 

Create or access your account now and set up your Fantasy Pro Team for Birkebeinerrennet. 

How to Play

  1. Go to SC Fantasy via https://fantasy.skiclassics.com/
  2. Login with your existing Fantasy account or create a new one.
  3. Read through “HOW TO PLAY” 
  4. Go to “Team Selection” and start to spend your 40.000 Fantasy dollars. 
  5. Don’t forget to mark one of your athletes as a Team Captain!
  6. Optional: Create your own League and invite your friends.
  7. Have fun, and may the best Fantasy Team Director win!
Fantasy Vasaloppet

WHERE TO WATCH

Birkebeinerrennet is just around the corner. Here is an overview of where you can watch the Ski Classics Pro Tour event.

  • SVT – Sweden
  • NRK – Norway
  • Czech TV – Czech Republic
  • TVP – Poland
  • Warner Bros Discovery – Finland
  • RTTR – Italy
  • Servus TV – Austria, Germany, Switzerland
  • beIN Sports – Australia, Canada, Turkey, USA
  • SC PLAY – all countries (English commentary)

The Season XV of Ski Classics Pro Tour consists of 15 events on 11 event weekends in 6 different countries. 

SKI CLASSICS PRO TOUR SEASON XV (2023/2024)

  • Event 1: December 9, 2023 – Bad Gastein PTT, Austria, 13km
  • Event 2: December 10, 2023 – Bad Gastein Criterium, Austria, 36km
  • Event 3: December 16, 2023 – La Venosta Criterium, Italy, 37km 
  • Event 4: December 17, 2023 – La Venosta ITT, Italy, 10km
  • Event 5: January 13, 2024 – 3 Zinnen Ski Marathon, Italy, 62km
  • Event 6: January 20, 2024 – Engadin La Diagonela, Switzerland, 55km
  • Event 7: January 28, 2024 – Marcialonga, Italy, 70km
  • Event 8: February 11, 2024 – Jizerská50, Czech Republic, 50km
  • Event 9: February 17, 2024 – Grönklitt Classic, Sweden, 60km
  • Event 10: February 18, 2024 – Grönklitt ITT, Sweden, 13km
  • Event 11: March 3, 2024 – Vasaloppet, Sweden, 90km
  • Event 12: March 17, 2024 – Birkebeinerrennet, Norway, 54km
  • Event 13: April 6, 2024 – Reistadløpet, Norway, 50km
  • Event 14: April 7, 2024 – Summit 2 Senja, Norway, 60km
  • Event 15: April 13, 2024 – Ski Classics Grand Finale – Janteloppet, Norway, 100km

More information about the Ski Classics Pro Tour can be found at skiclassics.com

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