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Birkebeiner ski race celebrates 50th anniversary


This month has been eventful for nordic skiing. From the first World Cup in the U.S. in 23 years, to the celebration of the 50th Birkebeiner ski race, it has  been a month to remember for this beloved sport, especially for fans of Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins. 


Besides her outstanding performance at the World Cup, Jessie also participated in the 2024 Birkie. This was her first time participating in this event, but that was not the only significance of this race. This year marked the 50th year of the Birkie being held, and even with the unusual Minnesota winter we have encountered this year people still showed up in droves to participate. 


In 1975, the iconic Birkebeiner race was founded by Tony Wise. Ever since then the race has attracted skier after skier to participate in the legendary event. This year the course may have been different due to the lack of snow, but the energy of the race was still all there. People came from all over the world to ski their hearts out. 


Participants and fans of the race had been worried that the event was going to be canceled due to the lack of snow, but thankfully for all the nordic skiing lovers out there, the event stayed on schedule. With the help of some fake snow, reevaluation of the course, and hundreds of snow chants from across the world the unforgettable Birkie was held for the 50th year in a row. 


Thank goodness it did, because it gave us all so many unforgettable memories. From family members who finally got to participate in the race, to fans getting to watch Jessie Diggins finally race this monster of a course, participants of this year’s Birkie felt that Minnesota magic for sure.   


This almost snowless winter may have been hard on the winter sports world, but these small wins like watching Jessie Diggins race a 2:10:42 in the Birkie and having the World Cup finally be hosted in the U.S. after so many years reinvigorated the excitement for nordic skiing in all of us.


As someone who got to go to the World Cup and be surrounded by so many fans of skiing I can say there was no better place to be. Cheering for all the wonderful skiers that keep this sport alive made me know that the future of skiing is strong.

Juliet Stouffer
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