Officials with the American Birkebeiner announced this afternoon that this weekend's main cross-country skiing event will be conducted on a shortened course. Sunshine and temperatures in the 50s have affected the base to such an extend that Sunday's big race will be reduced from 51 to 23 kilometers, finishing at County OO in Seeley.
"52-degree temps and sunshine today damaged the existing base and opened fields beyond repair," said Bill Pierce, President of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation Board of Directors in a statement released on Feb. 21. "We determined it would be a better quality race to finish at OO."
And the race's executive director acknowledges a strong likelihood that if weather conditions do not improve, organizers may also be forced to scrap the classic tracks groomed on the route.
Meanwhile, snow is being deposited along Main Street in Hayward for the finish of this Thursday's Barnebirkie and Saolomon Elite Sprints events, and for Friday's Sunflour Citizen Sprints.
Updates and details about the races as the weekend approaches will be provided by the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.