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Norwegian Birkebeiner Canceled Due to Strong Wind

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Birkebeinerrennet decided to cancel the race this morning after following the weather throughout the night.

The organisation considered the risk too high having a start at this year edition of Birkebeinerrennet. There is very strong wind over the mountains which forced them to cancel the race.

For more information see Birkebeinerrennet’s webiste:

SOURCE: Swix Ski Classics

Packer Describes Engadin Experience, Broken Pole for 13 k and All

Thursday, March 13th, 2014
Eric Packer (Stratton Mountain School T2 Team) broke a pole about 7 k into Sunday's 42 k Engadin Ski Marathon. (Photo: Eric Packer/

Eric Packer (Stratton Mountain School T2 Team) broke a pole about 7 k into Sunday’s 42 k Engadin Ski Marathon and didn’t get a replacement until about 20 k. (Photo: Eric Packer/

According to Eric Packer of the Stratton Mountain School T2 team, “the Engadin was unlike any other race I’ve done.”

One of some 80 Americans in this year’s 42-kilometer freestyle race, the 23-year-old native of Anchorage, Alaska,  competed in the world-famous marathon in Switzerland this past Sunday.

“The traffic out of the start was ridiculous with the pack constantly churning as people fought for position,” he wrote in an email. “If you weren’t actively moving forward, you were moving back.”

Eric Packer competed in a sprint the eve of the 2014 Engadin Ski Marathon in Switzerland. (Photo: Holly Brooks)

Eric Packer competed in a sprint the eve of the 2014 Engadin Ski Marathon in Switzerland. (Photo: Holly Brooks)

Packer shared lodging with a few U.S. men the weekend of the race, including Matt Gelso (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation), Pete Kling (Alaska Pacific University) and Matt Briggs of Bend, Ore., and took part in a night sprint race the evening before.

“All the U.S. guys in the elite wave did a good job staying near the front of the pack early on across the lake,” Packer wrote. “Gelso was able to recover from a fall right at the start in order to make his way back to the front.”

At 7 k, Packer’s pole snapped — unexpectedly.

“Everyone I asked refused to give me a replacement —(I can’t blame them – how would they ever get it back?) — so I ended up waving the broken stub above my head for the next 13k or so.”

Somehow, he missed the pole-service station, but “finally got a replacement entering Pontresina at the 20k mark.”

One kilometer later, Packer found Clarke Sullivan, the U.S. group’s wax tech for the event, along the course and was able to switch out his pole yet again, this time retrieving his own.

Did this incident ruin in for Packer? Not so much. “Even with the broken pole it was an awesome race.  I can’t wait to go back next year!”

Packer ended up 126th out of nearly 13,400 racers, about eight minutes back from the winner.

– Rosalie Lipfert

The start of the 2014 Engadin (Photo:

The start of the 2014 Engadin (Photo:

Caitlin Gregg and Tom Reichelt win American Birkebeiner

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

HAYWARD, WI—Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg) and Tom Reichelt of Germany came out on top today in the American Birkebeiner. Gregg won the 50 k skate race in 2:40:57 after skiing away from the women’s field in the first half of the race. She made her break as the elite men’s wave, who started after the elite women’s wave, began catching the women. She hung on to the passing men and ended up skiing much of the race by herself before catching another ride with Matt Liebsch (Team StrongHeart) in the last few kilometers of the race. Antonella Confortola Wyatt of Italy placed second, 1:16 behind Gregg, while Rosie Brennan of Alaska Pacific University (APU) placed third, 2:05 back.

Gregg, Brennan, and Laura McCabe of Winthrop, WA were the top three Americans, in that order, with McCabe finishing in fifth overall. Gregg took home $10,000 for the day: $7,500 for the win and $2,500 for the top American finish in the race.

In the men’s race, Tom Reichelt narrowly edged out Italians Simone Paredi and Sergio Bonaldi to take home the win in 2:14:29. Paredi and Bonaldi finished in second and third place, respectively, and both were within one second of the win.

Matt Gelso of the Sun Valley Gold Team was the top male American finisher in seventh overall. Lex Treinen (APU) and Matt Liebsch were the next Americans, in 10th and 12th place.

Santi Ocariz, formerly of CXC, and Russian Natalja Naryshkina (CXC) were the male and female winners in the 54 k classic race.

Times were slow on the day—copious amounts of new snow and cold conditions made for a challenging race for much of the field.


Bradley, Enman Win White Mountain Classic in Jackson

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
The 10th Annual White Mountain Classic 30 k in Jackson, N.H. (Photo: Peter Minde)

The 10th Annual White Mountain Classic 30 k in Jackson, N.H. (Photo: Peter Minde)

JACKSON, N.H. – In close-fought battles, Elissa Bradley and Eli Enman won the 10th Annual White Mountain Classic 30K on Sunday. The 30-kilometer marathon was also the one-day club championship for the New England Nordic Ski Association’ (NENSA).  Ford Sayre, the Cambridge Sports Union and Stowe Nordic were just a few of the clubs with big turnouts for this race.

An independent skier, Bradley won the women’s race in 1:14:40. Dartmouth’s Molly Siegel placed second, 14 seconds behind, and Cambridge Sports Union’s Kathy Maddock another 1.7 seconds back in third.

Enman, skiing for Stowe Nordic, crossed the line in 1:02:45.  Dartmouth took second and third with Torin Tucker, who was 1.8 seconds back in second, and Sam Merrens, 41.8 seconds behind Enman in third.

Due to the weather, organizers shortened the race to 22 km, cutting out some trail sections with a lot of wind exposure. Overnight, Saturday’s comfortable temperatures plummeted, and two inches of light, dry snow fell.  Race morning dawned sunny and cold. At the start, the temperature was three degrees, with wind gusting to 35 mph.

Blowing snow obscured tracks and slowed skiers down in the fields. In the woods, the tracks were fast, and some downhills were scraped down to ice.

– Peter Minde

Results: WomenMen

Power Off at Telemark, Future of Historic Birkie Building Unclear

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Telemark Resort (Photo: Tom Held)

Telemark Resort in Cable, Wis. (Photo: Tom Held/The Active Pursuit)

With questions swirling about whether Telemark Resort’s new owners would reopen the 40-year-0ld lodge in Cable, Wis. (the historic start of the American Birkebeiner), the community got an answer Tuesday when the power breakers were turned off.

Idle and without power since March, when the former owners stopped paying the bills and left town before the 975-acre property went to foreclosure, the 200-room resort had its power restored about a week ago. The new owners, Mount Telemark Properties, met with the Central Cross Country (CXC) Ski Association to discuss CXC’s interest in leasing and developing it into an Olympic training site, WDIO News reported.

James Bolen of the Cable Area Chamber told WDIO that CXC determined it did not have the expertise needed to run a hotel in conjunction with an Olympic center. Tom Held of The Active Pursuit reported that CXC did not want to take on the “enormous task of renovating and operating it, according to Oyvind Solvang, president of the CXC Board of Directors.” Solvang estimated the long-term renovations would cost between $2 million and $4 million, and it would require at least $500,000 to open the building this season.

“We were looking to keep it heated and perhaps do some events there, trying to accommodate the people who want to stay there for the Birkie, but to get from here to there was too insurmountable,” Solvang said. “It really isn’t feasible for CXC.”

A former Telemark employee who works for the current owners, Rick Carpenter told WDIO that the new owners bought the property (for $926,000 dollars at a sheriff’s sale) for the land, not the lodge. The deal with CXC would have included the lodge by donation and some surrounding land, he added, plus 135 acres of leased land and trails.

Bolen said the new owners are still seeking a hotel group to run the resort, and CXC will look elsewhere in Cable for a potential Olympic training site.

This summer, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) secured rights to their race’s starting area at Telemark for two more years. ABSF executive director Ben Popp told The Active Pursuit that he expected to work out an agreement with the new owners to make a permanent start in roughly six months.

Telemark Resort Sold to Colorado Company, Future Unclear

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
telemark lodge

The historic Telemark Resort (ABSF photo)

Facing foreclosure since April 2013, Telemark Resort in Cable, Wis., the iconic start of the  American Birkebeiner, went to auction on Tuesday and sold to a Colorado-based private company, Newco, LLC.

Newco purchased the property at sheriff’s sale in Bayfield County Courthouse for $926,000 dollars. The only other bidder was the lien holder, Great Southern Bank in Missouri, according to a Birkie press release. The auction came after a Bayfield County judge ruled in favor or Great Southern Bank’s desire to pursue foreclosure of the historic lodge in August.

For fans of the American Birkebeiner, North America’s largest ski marathon entering its 41st year, the hope was that Great Southern Bank would purchase it and resell it to a group with plans of reopening the resort with ties to the U.S. Olympic Committee, WDIO reported.

Executive director of the Cable Chamber of Commerce James Bolen told WDIO Newco’s bid came as a surprise.

“The question is what they intend to do with it, they may not reopen the facility,” he said.

Newco hasn’t announced its intentions for the resort, but Bolen said they’d be meeting this week to discuss possible plans. The decision could be a huge blow or relief to the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, which recently hired a new executive director in Ben Popp.

“We have a 40 year history with Telemark … and for the past couple years we’ve been trying to secure a permanent start area at Telemark,” ABSF board member John Garrett told WDIO.

“Telemark has been an integral component of the history and legacy of the American Birkebeiner,”  Popp said in a press release. “We look forward to working with the new owners in creating great events for years to come!”

Under the former owners, Ric Ahern and Steve Kaufman with Telemark Properties, Telemark closed for what it called “spring cleaning,” and did not reopen. Court documents showed that the electricity was turned off in late March, and WDIO reported that a sign saying the resort would open in mid-May was still on the door.

Goepferts Win Argentina’s Ushuaia Loppet

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
Forty-three skiers started the 3rd Annual Ushuaia Loppet 42F. (Courtesy photo)

Forty-three skiers started the 3rd Annual Ushuaia Loppet 42F on Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

(Press release)

Coldest day of the Fueguino winter for ski marathon’s third edition 

German skiers Caroline and Falk Goepfert stood on top of the Ushuaia Loppet’s podium a week after doing the same on the Marchablanca’s podium.  The third edition of the annual two-lap 42 kilometer ski marathon took place on Saturday August 24th.  The start/finish was at Centro Invernal Tierra Mayor, about a half hour outside of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.
Argentina’s Paralympic skier, Pablo Robledo, during the 2013 Ushuaia Loppet.

Argentina’s Paralympic skier, Pablo Robledo, during the 2013 Ushuaia Loppet.

On the men’s side, Argentina’s Federico Cichero placed second about three minutes behind Goepfert’s winning time of 2:05:43.  Local skier Walter Acuña placed third.  Caroline Goepfert won the women’s category in 2:54:05.  María Giro and María Viaña, both of Tierra del Fuego, took second and third respectively.
Conditions were a departure from typical Fueguino conditions which usually hover around 0 Centigrade.  At race start, the temperature in the Valley of Tierra Mayor was -17 C.  It never went above -5 C during the entire day.  Cichero, who has been representing Argentina internationally commented that the snow was like sandpaper at the start.
“Falk has been good competition for me.  He has been a little stronger than me but today his skis were also a little faster and I just could not stay in contact with him,” stated Cichero.  Consider it advertising for Goepfert who owns a ski wax retailer in Germany and is a wax tech for the German national team.
The Ushuaia Loppet ski marathon is the newer sibling to Argentina’s traditional Marchablanca.  The organizing Club Andino Ushuaia and Race Director Pablo Valcheff have collaborated with a host of sponsors and the Fueguino provincial government in an attempt to create a body of cross-country ski events in the region.
The “International Month of Cross Country Skiing” has incrementally aggregated several events together in August.  They include the Marchablanca, the Ushuaia Loppet, three days of FIS races at the Francisco Jerman Nordic Ski Area, and provincial funding for more regular grooming on the Marchablanca/PIPEF ski trail.  The Ushuaia Loppet is also a candidate for “associate” status within the World Loppet starting in 2014.
“Every year, a few more people come,” said Valcheff.  “On one hand, our work is meant to be a sustainable effort towards creating events of first-world quality.  On the other, over time the goal is to create a valuable resource for our society here in Tierra del Fuego.”

More information is available at and

Men’s Ushuaia Loppet podium, l-r, Cichero, Goepfert, and Acuña.

Men’s Ushuaia Loppet podium, l-r, Cichero, Goepfert, and Acuña.

Johaug Defends Skarverennet Title, Beats Bjørgen

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Defending champion Therese Johaug jumped out front early in the Skarverennet on Saturday and stayed there, holding off Norwegian teammate Marit Bjørgen to win the 38 k event from Finse to Ustaoset, Norway.

Bjørgen finished 19 seconds behind Johaug, who won in 1:41.33. Norway’s Martine Ek Hagen was 1 second behind Bjørgen in third, Tuva Toftdahl Staver (NOR) placed fourth (+3:48) and Astrid Øyre Slind finished with the same time in fifth.

Norwegians swept the top 11, and Sweden’s Seraina Boner placed 12th.

Top 10

1. Therese Johaug (NOR) 1:41:33

2. Marit Bjørgen (NOR) 1:41:52

3. Martine Ek Hagen (NOR) 1:41:53

4. Tuva Toftdahl Staver (NOR) 1:45:41

5. Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) 1:45:41

6. Silje Øyre Slind (NOR) 1:45:42

7. Marthe Kristoffersen (NOR) 1:48:34

8. Marthe Katrine Myhre (NOR) 1:50:30

9. Anne-Tine Markset (NOR) 1:51:40

10. Astrid Urenholdt Jacobsen (NOR) 1:51:47

Women’s results

Jespersen Edges Northug in Skarverennet

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Chris Jespersen edged Norwegian teammate Petter Northug in the Skarverennet on Saturday, winning the 38 k race from Finse to Ustaoset, Norway, by 5 seconds in 1:31.24.

Close behind, Russia’s Eugeniy Dementiev was third (+8.0), and defending champion Jean Marc Gaillard of France finished fourth (+8.0). Sweden’s Martin Johansson was fifth (+9.0).

The runner-up from last year, Jespersen led with just over 8 k remaining and held off Northug, who moved up from fifth and made up a more than a minute (1:19) on Jespersen. Dementiev was in second at 29.7 k, but was 1 minute and 18 seconds behind Jespersen. He led a seven-man chase pack, which included Northug.


Top 10

1. Chris Jespersen (NOR) 1:31:24

2. Petter Northug (NOR) 1:32:29

3. Eugeniy Dementiev (RUS) 1:32:32

4. Jean Marc Gaillard (FRA) 1:32:32

5. Martin Johansson (SWE) 1:32:33

6. Toni Livers (SUI) 1:32:33

7. Robin Duvillard (FRA) 1:32:34

8. Simen Andreas Sveen (NOR) 1:32:44

9. Martin Hammer Team (NOR) 1:32:45

10. Frode Andresen (NOR) 1:32:52

Men’s results

Lake Placid Loppet Canceled

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

The 30th Lake Placid Loppet has been canceled due to unseasonably warm weather at Mount Van Hoevenberg in upstate New York.

The 25- and 50-k races were supposed to be held Saturday after a lack of snow in February pushed the event back a month.

The Loppet is part of the American Ski Marathon Series and usually takes place on a modified version of the course used at the 1980 Winter Olympics.