The Long Distance Ski Championship

Kowalczyk is back for Birkebeinerrennet!

Birkebeinerrennet kicks off this Saturday 17th of March. It is the 80th edition of the legendary event- the first race was held in 1932. Last year´s winner Justyna Kowalczyk is back in Visma Ski Classics to protect her title in Birkebeinerrennet. Women start CET 07:45, men start CET 08:00.

Thousands of skiers will on saturday climb up the two mountains on this 54 km course carrying a 3.5 kg backpack symbolizing the rescue mission of prince Håkon- with whom the story of the race began in early 13th century. Birkebeinerrennet is event number 9 out of 11 season VIII and also the second installment in Visma Nordic Trophy tour. The CEO of Birkebeinerrennet, Olaf Johan Thomasgaard, is confident that this year’s race is a great step towards those glory days when it almost rivaled Vasaloppet as the biggest ski race in the world.

“We are ahead of last year’s entries, so we hope that the popularity and interest will grow again. We are always looking for new opportunities to develop our race, but we don’t have any big secrets to reveal at this moment. However, there’s one thing that’s new; the veterans’ start after the elite classes for the first time in history. We are also celebrating our 80th anniversary with different activities such as various exhibitions in Rena and along the track.”
 
This year’s snow conditions are perfect for the race, and according to Mr. Thomasgaard all final preparations are under control.
 
“The finish area is ready and the track has been groomed regularly. We have also started working on other venues to ensure that the historic race will live up to its reputation. We are also very happy to be part of Visma Ski Classics as it has increased the interest outside of Norway. This year, we have the highest number of foreign participants ever, 20 %. And of course, TV broadcast is very important for our sponsors.”
 
The CEO would like to see local heroes Morten Eide Pedersen, Team BN Bank, and Vinjar Skogsholm, Team Parkettparner, to be on the podium, and the former is certainly one of the strongest candidates to win the race. Britta Johansson Norgern, Lager 157 Ski Team, has never won the race, and now it could be her turn, but her defeat in Vasaloppet is certainly not an advantage come Saturday.
 
Andreas Nygaard, Team Santander, and Lina Korsgren, Åre Ski Club, were the surprise winners in Vasaloppet, could they repeat that defeat this Saturday? Justyna Kowalczyk is back in the tour for Birkebeinerrennet and she will definitely try to keep her title as number one from last years victory. 

Follow Visma Ski Classics facebook page for behind the scenes material and latest news!

Birkebeinerrennet info:
Location: Rena- Lillehammer, Norway
Date: March 17th 2018
Distance: 54km Classic technique
Start time: CET 07:45 women start, CET 08:00 men start
Active years: 80
Record number participants: 17 163
Climb: 
Livestreaming: play.vismaskiclassics.com
Fantasy gaming: fantasy@vismaskiclassics.com

Map and profile: