New Birkie Start Area Proposed

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New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby T-Pines » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:44 am

http://www.haywardwi.com/news/article_e78b63b2-1b82-11e1-a826-001cc4c03286.html

I think Ned has done many good things for the Birkie. If this comes to pass, it may be another beneficial change. However, there are factors not addressed by the article that I hope are given due consideration.

The article briefly addresses logistical considerations of the race before the cannon is fired. What about after the ropes are lifted? While the current start area at Cable airport is not perfect, it does provide some important qualities:
  • Very wide starting line
  • Only one significant turn in the first couple Ks until reaching the Power Line section
  • Essentially flat until reaching the Power Line section
  • Hills are bottlenecks, especially early in the race. Currently, the first hills are on the Power Lines. Fortunately, this is the widest section of the course. Also, the hills here are a series of short, steep ups and downs. I think these two features are beneficial in sorting out the field of each wave before hitting the first long climbs in the woods ... when things really start to back up.

I think the "gridlock" on the climbs early in the race is universally the least favorite aspect of the event. Without some of the features offered by the current start area, I fear the gridlock will be much, much worse.

Thoughts?

Jim

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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby MN Hoser » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:33 pm

I skimmed the article. I think the Birkie now has some thoughtful people running the race. The Chequamegan ran into problems with Telemark (before the sale) and had to pay $10/person to "rent" the area for the day and that may be a warning flag. In fact, I heard that the Telemark owners tried to charge the Birkie $10/person and the Birkie simply said they'd run the course as a out and back starting at "OO" or something like that. Don't know if that's true, but it's sobering.

The existing trail crosses private land and I believe the Birkie can't groom the trail until quite near to the race. (I think the land owners don't want people on their land. Makes sense.) So, the Birkie doesn't "own" the course and this change would give them control over the event. I think it makes sense, particularly when you're hauling bus load after bus load of people down a narrow road, then a gravel road, to get them to the race. All you need is for one bus to hit the ditch (block the road) and you have a big problem. So there's multiple issues that seem to be solved with a new start.

We used to start in the field near the road on the way into Telemark. It was much narrower and had a hill with a 90 degree turn. People survived.

Jay

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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby kuan » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:40 pm

I think we should have a 90k classic race running from Ashland to Hayward.
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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby Montana » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:24 am

Haven't read the article yet but will aft I make this post. The Birkie used to be billed as 55 km. Assuming that it was that long in the past why not try to get it back to its original length. What about a start somewhere out of Cable with a run down through town and then out the road that leads toward the North End trails? Logistics might be tough but you never know.
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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby E365 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:50 pm

An Update:
http://www.birkie.com/news_article/show/126724

Birkie to Move Ahead with New Trailhead Proposal - Birkie.com
12/28/2011, 11:36am (CST)
By Susan Kendrick
Birkie Start to Remain at Cable Airport

The Board of Directors of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) has voted to develop a new trailhead just south of Cable, WI, off highway 63 and Leonard School Road. The Board also decided to continue use of the Cable Airport for the start of the Birkie ski races as long as possible.

There are several reasons the ABSF Board made these decisions:

First, the new trailhead will be available to and used by the public year-round for hiking, running, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, and other non-motorized recreation.

Second, the existing trail that uses the airport start area crosses private lands owned by six different landowners. If any one of these properties is sold or access is denied for any other reason, the Birkie would be left without a start location and the need to find a new one. In addition, access to several of these properties is now limited to use only on race day. Use of the Cable airport also requires annual approval from state and federal agencies. Building the new trailhead would provide a backup start area if and when any land-use issues arise.

Third, the planning, budgeting, and costs associated with using these private lands has also become a concern. For example, during the past year, one of the private landowners initially proposed to charge ABSF a fee of $100,000 to $150,000 for race day use of the trail and facilities. This fee was later reduced to $25,000 and access was allowed, five weeks before the 2011 event.

By creating a permanent trailhead on its own land that is also suitable as a backup start area, the ABSF has found a way to secure a long-term solution that will be in place if needed. The new trailhead will also enhance Cable’s reputation as a year-round destination for outdoor recreation not only for skiing, but also for snowshoeing, hiking, running, and mountain biking.

The ABSF will present its request to construct the connector trail, linking the trailhead across three-quarter miles of Bayfield County forest to the Birkie Trail. This request will be presented at a public hearing to be held by the Bayfield County Forestry Committee on January 11, at 6:00 p.m. at the Cable Community Center. If approved, the ABSF will purchase 120 acres from two private landowners. Construction of the new trailhead would begin in spring, 2012. The new trailhead and trail would be in place by late fall for general, non-motorized recreational use and for the 2012-2013 ski season.

Birkie events alone--including the American Birkebeiner ski races, the Birkie ski Tour, and the Birkie Trail Run & Trek--currently bring more than 24,000 visitors through Cable and surrounding communities each year. A new year-round trailhead on a major road corridor is expected to increase this traffic, resulting in economic benefit to local businesses and communities.


Please direct all media questions to media@birkie.com or call 715-634-5025.
Last edited by E365 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby E365 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:52 pm

Third, the planning, budgeting, and costs associated with using these private lands has also become a concern. For example, during the past year, one of the private landowners initially proposed to charge ABSF a fee of $100,000 to $150,000 for race day use of the trail and facilities. This fee was later reduced to $25,000 and access was allowed, five weeks before the 2011 event.


Very interesting (and disappointing), and probably what spurred all of this.

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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby Montana » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:41 am

I'm very pleased that the Birkie organization is planning ahead to cover contingencies. The director Ned Zuelsdorf IMHO is best director the organization has ever had. It seems he continuously looks ahead, plans well and keeps the interest of the participants at the top of the list.
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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby MN Hoser » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:04 pm

I'll make a strong opinion of what I do not know. That'll keep things interesting. From my previous post, you can probably tell that I think the Birkie was somewhat held hostage last year by the interim owners and talked their way out of it. So yeah, getting a new start is definitely a good move. Just like grooming improved when we had low snow years, the Birkie is improving when they encounter adversity.

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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby E365 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:01 pm

Another Update - This time on Telemark's proposal to keep the Birkie there.

http://skitrax.com/41995/

Telemark Resort Eager to Partner With American Birkebeiner
release by Telemark Resort


March 29, 2012 (Cable, WI) – In an effort to partner with The American Birkebeiner, Telemark resort has laid out the following win-win proposal to keep the start and many of the Birkie functions solidly located at its original home at Telemark Resort.

Some of the challenges the Birkie is facing is the uncertainty of access across several parcels of private land including the Cable/Union airport as well as several parcels of private land north of McNaught road. The financial security of Telemark Resort has also been a concern given past closures and ownership changes.

Telemark believes that the two can help offset each other to provide a secure future. Telemark has the trails, meeting/expo space, parking and infrastructure, while the Birkie has the event with its 9,600 participants and the millions of dollars they bring to the area.

A successful partnership between Telemark Resort and the Birkie also translates to the success of other events in the area that use Telemark Lodge (Fat Tire for example) currently and potential events that can come to the area (IPC World Cup for example). A successful Telemark Resort also translates to more jobs, increased tourism in the area and more traffic for local businesses. It’s not just a win-win partnership between Telemark Resort and the Birkie, but a big win for area, businesses and the residents.

Telemark is amenable to any or all of the following solutions:
- Allowing guaranteed easements to all existing trails on Telemark property for the weeks of Birkie, Birkie Tour, Birkie Trail Run and future events as necessary.
- Providing Birkie Trail access to the public 365 days of the year with no fees.
- Offering similar easements on other Telemark lands for construction of an alternate start area closer to Telemark resort, and new trail to connect to the existing Birkie and/or Classic trails.
- Offering permission and support to continue improvement and redesign of trails across Telemark property.
- Telemark to construct a heated expo center, (possibly old Coliseum pad or Hytte location) which could greatly increase Telemark’s ability to handle Birkie Expo, Registration, bib pickup and more in addition to the 25,000 sq. ft of meeting space currently available at Telemark.
- Offering Birkie land options to construct maintenance/storage building(s) in close proximity of Telemark Resort and/or Birkie trails.
- Providing office, secretariat and headquarter space during events or year round at no charge.
- Provide a permanent space for a Birkie museum at no charge to preserve history and legacy of the events.
- Providing additional parking space for participants which will help for the growth of the event and actively work with The Birkie in finding solutions to traffic congestion, bussing routes and reducing skiers walk distances.

Telemark is proposing the Birkie to agree to the following:
- Staging of the Birkie, Korte, Haakon start, the Birkie Expo, registration, Bib pick-up to be returned to Telemark Resort.
- Finish for the Korteloppet, Haakon, Birkie Trail Run and Birkie Tour to remain at Telemark.
- Lease the new expo center for the week of the Birkie and/or other Birkie events for a 10 year renewable term.
- Provide Telemark Resort reasonable marketing access to Birkie participant database for promotions and non-competing events.
- Annual event usage fee for Telemark Resort to remain the same.

In summary, Telemark feels it is important to create a solution that is good for the community as a whole. With the right approach along the lines of what is detailed above, the ski community and the Bayfield County businesses and residents will benefit and the legacy of the Birkie being located at Telemark will be preserved.


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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby E365 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:12 pm

Sounds great, but does this even solve the issue with the landowner(s) between Telemark and the Birkie trail? If this person (multiple?) will continue to try to take advantage of the Birkie, what's the point?

If the Birkie board really thinks a new start area is best for the future of the race, I'll take their word for it and support it. I just don't know enough about the land and financial issues to know any more than what I'm told. And maybe it's sacrilege, but I don't view Telemark resort as a key part of the Birkie anymore. While some racers spend their weekend there (probably a very small percentage of the total racers actually stay there), I really just see it as a building I grab my bib in - I can do that anywhere.

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Re: New Birkie Start Area Proposed

Postby NorthstarNerd » Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:02 pm

My major concern is staying warm before the Birkie. My wife and I do different events (classic and skate) and our starts are often seperated by 40 minutes. I suspect other groups come with skiers of varying abilities. Keep us warm ... and I am happy to start anywhere.

The Mora Vasaloppet keeps us in the high school. Announces what buses we should be on, and has big bonfires at the start. While I like the Birkie, I love the Vasaloppet.


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