Trading my Birkie for a Korte
Well, I just pulled the trigger. Or rather, I did the opposite. (Stuff the bullet back in the chamber? Leave the gun half cocked, in this case?) What I did is call the American Birkebeiner office in Hayward, Wisconsin, to switch my registration from the full 54K classic Birkie to the 23K Kortelopet set for February 21.
The deadline to make that change is this Friday, January, 30, which Phil Van Valkenberg helpfully reminded me. (Click on previous link and scroll down to “Schedule: Race, Changes, etc.”)
“Then you can help me sing the Kortelopet song at the Moccasin Bar after the race,” Valkenberg said. I promised him I’d brush up on the lyrics and work on the harmonies. Thanks to YouTube, Valkenberg can be seen and hear singing the song at the Moccasin here.
As the song argues, pulling back to ski the Korte is no retreat. It’s a great, challenging course that loops from and back to the Telemark Resort. And it’s over sooner so it gets you a better seat at the bar post race.
The just as helpful woman in the Birkie office said I wasn’t the first to call by any means; that many skiers are making the same move, planning to do the Korte instead of the “full pull,” because of the lack of snow on which to train this winter. That’s been the case in southern Wisconsin where I’ve been able to do little more than bike, on a new fattie, at least, and with my road bike on an indoor trainer.
Only once have I crossed the street from my home to ski at Elver Park in Madison. A lack of snow there has caused the cancellation of the first four races in the six-race Madnorski Race Series, which I planned to do as I did a year ago.
Valkenberg said he was headed to Lapham Peak Park to sit-ski the man-made snow loop there. Conditions and grooming were reportedly good there as of Tuesday.
And while groomer Phil Johnsrud sounded optimistic on the recording for the the Iola Winter Sports Club, I’ve all but thrown in my skiing towel. If I go to Iola, it will be next Friday night for the Snow Bully Fat Bike Race on the lighted loop.
And depending on how that goes, maybe I’ll rethink the Birkie. The Fat Bike Birkie, that is.
Joel Patenaude is the editor of Silent Sports magazine.