American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation today canceled the 2017 American Birkebeiner, Kortelopet and Prince Haakon cross-country ski races.
The American Birkebeiner is North America's largest cross-country ski race, which runs from Cable to Hayward, Wis., finishing on the snow-covered Main Street of Hayward. Unseasonably warm weather made that impossible, the ABSF said in a news release Friday, Feb. 24.
After record high temperatures and more 1.5 inches of rain, race officials closed the Birkie Trail from Cable to Hayward eight days ago to preserve the trail for this week's originally planned races. Shortly thereafter, Lake Hayward was deemed unsafe for use, which caused race officials to focus contingency plans on the Birkie Trail from the American Birkebeiner Trailhead, east of Cable, to the OO Trailhead, east of Seeley, Wis.
After discussion with a wide constituency of key stakeholders including emergency and medical officials, the ABSF board said it determined the greater ski course was unsafe for a timed race. Areas of the Birkie Trail were lacking snow, icy or simply unsuitable for use.