Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 Today's Paper
SC Ranking
1 Emil Persson 26,400,000
2 Ida Dahl 25,634,041
3 Astrid Øyre Sli... 25,587,856
4 Andreas Nygaard 25,001,087
5 Tord Asle Gjerd... 24,585,729
6 Kasper Stadaas 24,454,035
7 Emilie Fleten 24,325,898
8 Lina Korsgren 24,261,574
9 Max Novak 24,242,504
10 Oskar Kardin 24,167,787
11 Johannes Eklöf 24,059,635
12 Britta Johansso... 24,058,203
13 Stian Hoelgaard 23,898,052
14 Morten Eide Ped... 23,801,744
15 Johan Hoel 23,746,548
16 Herman Paus 23,352,248
17 Karstein Johaug 23,295,531
18 Torleif Syrstad 23,088,817
19 Magnus Vesterhe... 23,035,079
20 Runar Skaug Mat... 23,016,684
21 Vetle Thyli 22,626,609
22 Marcus Johansso... 22,602,890
23 Maxim Vylegzhan... 22,501,703
24 Thomas Ødegaard... 22,141,107
25 Anders Aukland 22,106,993
26 Axel Jutterströ... 22,101,993
27 Joar Thele 22,089,606
28 Torgeir Sulen H... 21,912,117
29 Eddie Edström 21,670,703
30 Klas Nilsson 21,524,247
31 Chris Andre Jes... 21,473,447
32 Ermil Vokuev 21,432,680
33 Nils Dahlsten 21,328,102
34 Jiří Pliska 21,021,748
35 Amund Riege 21,005,359
36 Stanislav Řezáč... 20,468,085
37 Gabriel Höjlind... 20,190,935
38 Jan Šrail 20,176,199
39 Stian Berg 19,880,354
40 Fabián Štoček... 19,822,756
41 Petter Soleng S... 19,625,489
42 Thomas Joly 19,599,928
43 Sofie Elebro 19,544,075
44 Viktor Mäenpää... 19,499,879
45 Mauro Brigadoi 19,418,543
46 Anikken Gjerde ... 19,342,483
47 Simen Engebrets... 19,178,110
48 Bastien Poirrie... 19,138,063
49 Patrick Fossum ... 18,844,680
50 Alexey Shemiaki... 18,653,161
Events & Results
Event Country Date
Mobile icon Mobile icon

Long-Distance Skiing Scene in the USA

Perhaps best known from American Birkie in Hayward, Wisconsin, the long-distance ski scene in the USA is well spread around the country. This prestigious event is the biggest recreational skier race in North America and the only one with a year-round staff like major marathon races in Europe such as Vasaloppet.

Photo: ABSF/Bob Pearl

American Birkie 2022.

American Birkie as a leader of the US long-distance skiing

The director of American Birkie, Ben Popp states that American Birkie is an organization with a threefold mission (1) host world-class events, (2) maintain the 100+km’s of the Birkie trail, and (3) promote sports development and facilitate an active healthy lifestyle.

It is not only limited to cross-country skiing and with its 25 employees, but they also host over 45 events during a year. American Birkie, started in 1973 by Tony Wise and has now grown to the Birkie week with over 13.500 skiers. They also hope to host a World Cup event in 2024 alongside the 50th anniversary of American Birkie.

“The trail here is wide and winding over a hill covered terrain but finishing in downtown Hayward with over 25.000 screaming fans is a bit unique as well I think… It is like finishing a race in a packed WC stadium,” says Popp.

Long distances between ski regions

5000 km. That is the distance between Alaska and Vermont, two of the major ski states in the country. In the US, the distances are taken to a whole other level and it makes the long-distance scene slightly different from Europe. According to American Birkie commentator and Olympian in 1994 Lillehammer Games, Adam Verrier, every major ski region has one to two marathon races, but they tend to attract mainly local skiers due to distances, American Birkie being an exception.

The USA does not have marathon skiing circuits such as Visma Ski Classics but rather locally organized, separate marathon races, mainly in skating. Generally, US ski marathons are not part of any formal circuit, besides American Birkie 50km skate race, which is part of the Visma Ski Classics Challengers and Worldloppet series. Other bigger marathon races in the US include: 34km skate the Boulder Mountain Tour in Idaho, 50km classic/25km skate the Craftsbury Marathon in Vermont, 50km skate/classic the Tour of Anchorage in Alaska, and 48km skate/classic the Mora Vasaloppet in Minnesota.

How does the American long-distance scene differ from Europe then?

No specialization

One interesting difference to the European scene is that there are no professional athletes focusing specifically on long distances. In Visma Ski Classics, there is solely one American Pro Tour skier Meg Lane, representing the German Endless Local Nordic Team.  

Verrier explains: “The best skiers at our marathons tend to be elite skiers who would like to be racing World Cup or OPA Cup but haven’t been selected or aren’t quite fast enough, so they race a marathon race if they can fit it in their schedule. None of the top skiers at the Birkie, or any other American marathons, tend to be marathon specialists. All of them have World Cup and traditional elite distances as their primary focus.” For example, 2nd and 3rd in Birkie respectively, David Norris and Adam Martin and women’s winner Alayna Sonnesyn just missed the Olympic selection. Sonnesyn is also 2nd in the current US Super Tour standings. The other podium skiers, Caitlin Patterson was an alternate in the 2022 Beijing Olympics while Rosie Frankowski was a Sochi 2018 Olympian and currently leading the US Super Tour standings. Additionally, there are no clubs or elite teams that focus on long-distance.

On the start line with very little preparation

What comes to recreational skiers, Adam Verrier, the commentator of American Birkie states that people tend to be more laid back, coming to the start line with very little preparation or skiing on snow: “I think perhaps Americans tend to be less self-conscious about their performance than Europeans.  I’ve been impressed by the hordes of citizen racers who live in places without much natural snow, willing to huck themselves down the 50km Birkie trail with very little actual ski training.”

Moreover, most of the marathon races, besides the major ones, tend to be skating. Verrier finds this more approachable for marathon racers who have discovered cross-country skiing at a later age.

“While some of our ski marathons are classic races, the majority of them tend to be skating, because more Americans tend to find skating a little more “accessible” because there’s less reliance on good kick-waxing skills. I think probably a higher percentage of American marathon racers have come to the sport later in life, and have perhaps only learned to skate proficiently, making that a more attractive format,” concludes Verrier.

Most read
Become a member now