birkie-start-38278_staatsThe largest cross-country ski race in North America was held this past Saturday – the American Birkebeiner (affectionately known as The Birkie, the Boston Marathon of Skiing).  A total of 7,461 skiers registered for the various races including the 50K Birkie Skate, 54K Birkie Classic, 23K Kortelopet, and the Prince Haakon 8K.  With skiers from over 20 foreign countries and close to all 50 United States it is truly a festive event. This photo is from the race start in Cable, Wisconsin at the Telemark Resort.  The course runs through the hills and forests of the area,  and ends on Main Street in Hayward.  Saturday was a great day for skiing (and for spectating — which is what I did).  Temps were in the teens, with a light snow falling.  We went to the start line to witness all the excitement and fun that precedes an event like this, then we made our way to Hayward and the finish line.  Main Street is closed to traffic, snow is brought in to cover the street, and spectators line the course ringing bells and cheering on the skiers.    My congrats to all the participants — I admire their training, their commitment, and their love of the sport; and to the volunteers and spectators who know how to celebrate and enjoy a beautiful winter day in central Wisconsin!   For more information, check out