The Long Distance Ski Championship


“After the detour down to Switzerland, the Season IX comes back to a familiar classics event, Norwegian Birkebeinerrennet! Birken is together with Vasaloppet and Marcialonga one of the most prestigious events in the tour. All three of these events being on the podium when last season´s award “Event of the Season” was crowned by the Pro Team athletes. Birken is unique by being the only race where the skiers need to carry a 3,5kg backpack with surviving kits in case harsh condition over the two mountains Raudfjellet and Midtfjellet that the course passes over. The course is a hilly one with a Visma Ski Classics Climb position after 20 km on top of Raufjellet, before the finish in the Olympic stadium in Lillehammer it passes the center of gravity for cross country ski lovers in Norway, Sjusjøen, where a huge crowd normally surround and support the skiers every year. Birken is the 2nd event in the Visma Nordic trophy competition who started with Vasaloppet, combining the Scandinavian part of the season in to a mini tour within the tour.” 

Birkebeinerrennet is Norway’s 54km contribution to Visma Ski Classics. The legend has it that there was a civil war in Norway. Faction pitted itself against faction in a fight for the throne. One faction was the birkebeiners.

They were the underdogs, often in such dire need that they had nothing but the bark of the birch-trees as foot-wear.

The word birkebeiner, birch-leg, has come to mean a man strong in adversity, never daunted by trials and hardship. The birkebeiners had gained ascendancy over great parts of the country, but the rival faction, the baglers, prevailed in the East of Norway. After the birkebeiner chieftain Haakon died on New Years Day in 1204, the baglers saw a dangerous rival pretender in his son Haakon Haakonsson , who was born in 1204, a few weeks after his fathers death. His life was at stake, and the birkebeiners wanted to bring him to safety in Trondheim. On Christmas Day in 1205 the party reached to a small farm in Lillehammer, where they remained hidden over Christmas. They found it too risky to follow the route up the Gudbrandsdal valley, so they cut across the mountains to the neighbouring valley in east, Østerdalen. Due to bad weather and difficult snow conditions the two best skiers, Torstein Skevla and Skjervald Skrukka had to go ahead with the two year old prince. ”On this trip they suffered severely from the cold, snow and wind”. Behind this succinct account of the saga lies a fear of valour and strength which appeals to skiers of all ages and nations. The 3,5 kilo pack carried by the present day birkebeiners symbolizes the prince, who later became king Haakon. The 54km course transverses over two mountains from the start in Tingstadjordet to the finish line in Lillehammer.



Facts About Birkebeinerrennet

Live Center 2018/19

GPS tracking


Saturday March 16th 2019
54km Classic Technique
Rena-Lillehammer Norway

Start Time
Women CET 07.45
Men CET 08.00 

Visma Ski Classics Climb
20km Raudfjellet

Record number of participants
14 750

Results 2017/18

1. Andreas Nygaard SAN 02:33:13
2. Tord Asle Gjerdalen SAN 02:33:16
3. Anders Aukland SAN 02:35:15


1. Justyna Kowalczyk ROB 03:06:10
2. Katerina Smutna BST 03:09:15
3. Astrid Øyre Slind KOT 03:10:05