New Year Round Birchleggings Club Activities Posted! Also see Birchlegger Stories...

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Jessie Diggins Autographed Bib To Be Auctioned During Birkie Week

At the American Birkebeiner in 2024, the Birchleggings Club (BLC) will offer at silent auction one of the commemorative 50th Anniversary Birkie bibs autographed by Jessie Diggins. A limited number of bibs were produced and autographed by Jessie for the milestone 50th Birkie.

Jessie Diggins has autographed specially-prepared Birkie Bibs to help raise funds in support of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF). The BLC is fortunate to have obtained one of the bibs. Our thanks go to Ben Popp, Executive Director of the ABSF for providing the BLC with a bib. Proceeds from our auction will go to BLC projects that will benefit the American Birkebeiner and the Birkie Trail.

 

 

 

 

 

Silent Auction Schedule

 

Birchleggings Club Booth at the Birkie Expo

Thursday, February 22 & Friday, February 23, 2024

Hayward High School, Hayward, WI

 

and at the

 

Birchleggings Club Annual Breakfast

Sunday, February 25, 2024, 8:30 am

Steakhouse & Lodge, Hayward, WI

 
Jessie Diggins, X-C Ski Legend

 

Jessie Diggins is the USA’s most-decorated world-class cross-country skier of all time. She is the first US Nordic racer ever to win an Olympic gold medal, obtained in the team sprint with Kikkan Randall, at PyeongChang in 2018. She won individual silver and bronze medals at Beijing in 2022. Her FIS Nordic World Ski Championship record includes four medals from 2013 to 2017. Jessie was the first American to take the top spot in the women’s overall standings of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup for the 2020-21 season. She has been making multiple podium appearances during this 2023-24 World Cup season. She took top honors in the 2008 and 2009 Kortelopet skate races. The Kortelopet wins and coming from her home in Afton, Minnesota make her accomplishments even more heartwarming for Birkie enthusiasts.

 

Jessie was instrumental in helping the BLC raise the funds to purchase for the Birkie trail an all-electric Taiga “Nomad” snowmobile in 2023. She autographed and donated four of her World Cup race bibs and several Birkie and Korte bibs to the BLC for the 2023 auction.

 

In Jessie’s own words:

“As an athlete, following a gas-powered vehicle filming the lead pack is harmful to both my lungs and to the planet. I highly encourage EV snow machines to be used at race venues whenever possible to reduce the breathing issues for the athletes and to cut down emissions.”

2024 Birchleggings Club Breakfast and Awards Meeting

 

The 2024 Birchleggings Club Breakfast and Awards Meeting will be starting at 8:30 am on Sunday, February 25, 2024. It will again be held at the Hayward Steakhouse and Lodge.

New 20, 30, 40, and 50 year Birkie and Korte skiers will be recognized and presented with their Birchleggers awards. New 20 year Birchlegger and Kortelopet skiers will receive a free breakfast, compliments of the Birchleggings Club!


We are asking skiers and guests to please register for the breakfast in advance! We will still accept walk-ins on the morning of the breakfast. Price of the breakfast is $16.

 

The address, telephone number, GPS Coordinates, and website of The Steakhouse & Lodge are:

Steakhouse and Lodge
15860 T Bone Lane
Hayward, WI 54843
715-934-4411
GPS:46.002568, -91.486723


 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Birchleggings Board Members Get Enjoy My Deals and Membership Renewal Letters out!

 

The Birchleggings Club Board Members that live in the Twin Cities area came together on January 15, 2024, to send out Enjoy My Deals and Membership Renewal Letters through a mass mailing. Many other board members, including Dave Balsiger, Treasurer and Jim Tenorio, Secretary, assisted with this process. Special thanks to Mindy Ahler, the Regional Coordinator for the Citizens Climate Lobby, for organizing the activity and taking the photograph!

Birchleggings Club Members and Renewing Members, be on the lookout for the mailing! If you do not receive a letter, you can always join or renew your membership by going to the Birchleggings Membership Page. Additionally, learn more about the Birchleggings Enjoy My Deals discount card.

From left to right are Steve Carmazon, Membership Chair; Edward Eroe, Webmaster & Social Media Coordinator; Jim Haubrich, Board Member; Bob Britz, Vice President & Fund Raising Chair; Paul Thompson, President & Birkie Green Chair; and Gus Virkus, Board Member.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Time to Renew Your 2024 Birchleggings Club Membership and Sign up for the 2024 Awards Breakfast!

 

It is time to renew your 2024 Birchleggings Club Membership and register for the Awards Breakfast on Sunday, February 25, 2024!

Membership information can be found on our Membership Page or at this link: https://www.birchleggings.com/p/membership.html

There is a new easy way to renew and pay now too!

 For information and registration information about the 2024 Birchleggings Club Awards Breakfast, go to Awards Breakfast webpage or to this link:

https://www.birchleggings.com/p/birchleggings-club-awards-breakfast.html

There is also now a new easy way to register and pay!

Monday, December 4, 2023

New Birchleggings Club Fire Pit at the Mosquito Brook Warming Hut

 

A big thanks to Birchleggings Club Board Member, Gus Virkus, who donated a Fire Pit at the Mosquito Brook Warming Hut!

Gus set the wheels in motion when he first became a Birchlegger, and it has taken two years to come to fruition. The new Fire Pit will stay at Mosquito Brook, and it can be used by anyone. Hopefully it will provide some comfort to volunteers during the variety of area races that come by the warming hut.

Thanks, Gus!

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Birchleggings Club Annual Meeting - September 22, 2023

The Birchleggings Club Annual Meeting was held on September 22, 2023, at the Samuel C. Johnson Family Outdoor Center at the Highway OO Trailhead on the Birkie Trail.

 

In attendance at the 2023 Birchleggings meeting at the OO trail lodge were the honorable BLC founder John Kotar (and 2nd BLC member after Dave Landgren) and American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) CEO/Director Ben Popp. During the meeting, we learned that Ben has skied 19 Birkebeiners. However, due to his responsibilities as the CEO for the ABSF over the past decade, he has not been able to slip away from his job to complete his 20th race. The 2024 -50th Birkebeiner offers a unique opportunity for Ben to ski his 20th Birkie in the “Open Track” race on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, in the company of Ernie St. Germaine. A goal might be for individuals to sponsor Ben & Ernie for $1 per kilometer each, such that $100 would be raised for the two of them for completing the race. Our goal would be to raise > $10,000 for these two legendary skiers coming down Main Street to wild, raucous cheers on Wednesday, February 21, 2024!

 

ABSF & BLC LIAISON: Louise Droessler (Birkie Enterprises Retail Manager) will serve as the liaison between the ABSF and the BLC. She will enhance and strengthen the essential relationship between the BLC and ABSF.   At present, the BLC lacks visibility and does not have a prominent link on the ABSF Birkie website. This is something that hopefully can be reviewed and addressed in the near future. We continue to lobby for a non-voting seat on the ABSF board. The BLC Bylaws are currently under revision and review.

 

BLC MEMBERSHIP: There are 314 (~16%) of the eligible 2,000 twenty-year Birkie skiers who are currently paid members of the Birchleggings Club. Increasing the percentage of BLC members can significantly enhance financial stability and provide creative new input to the organization.  Ways to generate new membership, particularly in the 40-50 year-old age group, were discussed.  A telephone survey/solicitation of ~100 BLC eligible skiers was completed with encouraging results. The opportunity to promote lifetime memberships can provide additional upfront funds for the organization. For reference, of the 11,010 skiers who have registered for the 2024 Birke Races (Birkie/Korte/PH/OT), 1,357 (12.3%) have joined the ABSF.

 

NEW BOARD MEMBERS: New board members were elected at the annual meeting.  These are David Rhude, Jim Haubrich and Gus Virkus. They will be introduced at the October BLC Board meeting. Brian Fitzgerald has volunteered to serve as an unofficial “liaison” to the ABSF for the Birchleggings Club. He lives in the Hayward area and can access and assist with such matters.

 

DEI & GENDER EQUITY:  We continue to honor DEI and hope to expand racial & gender diversity by supporting participation in “Silent Sports” and recruiting eligible 20-year skiers to join the Birchleggings Club.

 

 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

New Birkie Homecoming Bell Installed by the Birchleggings Club!

A new bell, called the Homecoming Bell, was installed near the Mosquito Brook Warming Hut this month by the Birchleggings Club to alert skiers that there are 14 kilometers to go before the finish in Hayward. The bell was donated by Marva Saha and family, who used the bell to summon home their children. It was located near Lake Hayward, close to the finish of the race.

Below is a note from the Birchleggings Club Homecoming Bell Project Planner and Coordinator, James Tenorio.

A big “Thank You” goes out to our hard-working crew that installed the Homecoming Bell at Mosquito Brook on Monday! They included Bob Britz, Steve Carmazon, Rick Enz, Connie Meek, and Scott Smith.

We also had some spontaneous help from a passing pair of female Birkie Trail hikers at the crucial moment of lifting the 215-pound post and bell into its concrete forming tube.

Special thanks are heart fully given to the Birkie Trail Crew for boring the four-foot deep hole for us. It would have been a nearly-impossible task for this bunch of old Birchleggings Club veterans to dig it by hand ourselves!  

Honorable mention goes to the last Ice Age Glacier for depositing hundreds of various-sized rocks into the site of the post hole. Many of those rocks now decorate the base of the post.

We once again say, thank you to Marva Sahs and her family for bringing the idea and the bell to the club. Their generosity will ring on for generations!

 

JT

Project Planner and Coordinator


 

 

 


 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Press Conference Video of the Electric Snowmobile Pick-up in Rutland, Vermont.

 Watch the Press Conference Video of the Tiaga Electric Snowmobile Pickup on August 8, 2023 by the Birchleggings Club in Rutland, Vermont!



Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Electric Snowmobile to Lead American Birkebeiner in 2024!


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Electric Snowmobile to Lead American Birkebeiner in 2024

Hayward, Wis. (August 2, 2023) The Birchleggings Club of the American Birkebeiner has generously donated a Taiga Nomad electric snowmobile to the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF/Birkie). The snowmobile will be used to film the live stream of their flagship event, the American Birkebeiner, and to conduct regular trail maintenance on over 100 km of ski trails. The Birchleggings Club is a non-profit organization, and close partner of ABSF, whose members have completed 20 or more American Birkebeiners in their ski career.

On Tuesday, August 8, 2023, members of the Birchleggings Club traveled from northern Wisconsin to Central Vermont Motorcycles in Rutland, Vt. to pick up the Taiga Nomad. Taiga, a Canadian company, has taken a novel engineering approach to pave the way for electric technology. Their vision is to completely transform the power sports sector by introducing groundbreaking electric off-road vehicles, ensuring sustainability without compromising on performance. This vision is in alignment not only with goals of the Birchleggings Club but with the Birkie Green initiative that has taken on by the ABSF in recent years.

One of the drivers arriving to pick up the machine is Paul Thompson, president of the Birchleggings Club. Thompson organized the fund-raising efforts and purchase of the machine in support of the ABSF’s Birkie Green initiative.

“Like many snow sports industries, the Birkie is not immune to the effects of warmer winters. In 2017 they had to cancel the event due to lack of snow – the second time in less than 20 years.  Acknowledging its own carbon footprint, ABSF is moving towards being a good environmental steward and in support of their efforts, our Birchleggings Club organized a fundraiser selling shopping bags made from recycled race bibs,” said Thompson. “In addition to removing race bibs from the waste stream, we raised enough money to purchase and donate the Taiga Nomad snowmobile in commemoration of ABSF’s 50th anniversary”.

Their efforts got a boost from Olympic cross-country skiing gold medalist, World Champion, and Board Member of Protect Our Winters Jessie Diggins, who trains at Stratton Mountain, VT. Diggins offered to lend her support by autographing multiple recycled bibs that were auctioned off at different Birkie and Birchlegging Club events. When asked about her reasons for supporting the ski industry going green, she said,

“In preparing for the first cross country World Cup to be held in the US in over 20 years, the Taiga Nomad snowmobile can send a message to the ski world that we need to cut our carbon emissions as quickly as possible.”

In addition to serving as President of the Birchleggings Club, Paul Thompson, is an active member of the environmental advocacy group Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), and has seen the effects of shrinking snowpack and warmer winters on his favorite sport, cross country skiing. He believes the shift to an all-electric snowmobile for covering the Birkie and performing trail maintenance is a clear signal of growing awareness by the skiing and snowmobile industry. It signals the recognition of the damage being done from a warming climate on peoples’ health, winter sports, and the Earth.

“The urgency of rising temperatures and CO2 levels and the need for systemic solutions are the reasons I work with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. In addition to switching consumers to electric alternatives, we lobby for Federal legislation that will drop CO2 levels quickly, using a market-driven, bi-partisan solution. Last month over 1,000 CCL members met with their respective members of congress in D.C. to advocate for action on climate change. We want to do our part so the Birkie and other beloved winter sports can survive the next 50 years and provide the fun and competition we have enjoyed for generations of skiers to come,” Thompson said.

Each February, ABSF hosts the largest cross-country ski race in North America, the American Birkebeiner, a 50-55 kilometer ski race that starts in Cable, Wis. and finishes on snow-covered Main Street in downtown Hayward, Wis. Throughout the week, over 12,000 skiers participate in a variety of ski events, from kids races and skijoring events, to the culmination of events with the ski marathon. In 2024, the organization will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event. The introduction of the first electric snowmobile to their fleet is one way the organization hopes to do their part to secure the future of the race.

Ben Popp, ABSF Executive Director, said, “We’re excited and grateful to the Birchleggings Club for making an electric snowmobile a reality for our organization. We are constantly evaluating how we can reduce our carbon footprint, and access to electric off-road vehicles will contribute significantly to this effort.” ABSF has multiple solar arrays on its properties, in addition to two EV charging stations. Their newest development, Mt. Telemark Village, in Cable, Wis. will also boast a solar array capable of powering the entire property, including charging stations. “We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that future generations will be able to experience the life-changing power of connecting with each other in nature. We acknowledge the need to evolve as an organization to make this a reality and we are committed to continuing our Birkie Green initiatives to reduce our carbon emissions, increase our reliance on renewable energy, and construct sustainable structures.”

The Birchleggings Club and American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation are proud to continue their longstanding tradition of partnering to ensure the future of the American Birkebeiner. Learn more about their respective organizations online at www.birchleggings.com and www.birkie.com.

 

Photo credit: © Taiga Motors

 


Elite women’s skiers depart from the start of the 2023 American Birkebeiner behind a gas-fueled snowmobile, which will be replaced by the Taiga Nomad in 2024.

Photo credit: © American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation®

Media contacts:

Blair Flickinger
American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, Marketing Director
blair.flickinger@birkie.com
(715) 575-1168

Paul Thompson
Birchleggings Club, President
paul@coolplanetmn.org

Suzannah Ciernia
Citizens’ Climate Lobby Co-Leader
syciernia@gmail.com
507-301-8388

Friday, August 4, 2023

Tiaga Electronic Snowmobile to be Delivered on August 8th, 2023 by the Birchleggings Club!

 




 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

For Immediate Release


Suzannah Ciernia
Citizens’ Climate Lobby Co-Leader
syciernia@gmail.com; 507-301-8388

Judy Davis
Citizens’ Climate Lobby, VT State Coordinator
davisjud@gmail.com; 857-209-6494

When: Tuesday, August 8, 2023 10am EST

Where: Central Vermont Motorcycles, 360 West St, Rutland, VT

What: First Electric Snowmobile for Use at Birkebeiner Ski Race

 

The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) hosts the largest cross-country ski race in North America every February in Wisconsin and will celebrate its 50th anniversary this winter. With top-notch skiers coming from every state and around the globe, the ‘Birkie’ is considered one of the more difficult marathon races in the world. 

 

On Tuesday, August 8 a team from the Midwest will arrive at Central Vermont Motorcycles in Rutland, Vermont to pick up the first electric snowmobile to be used for filming the iconic race: a Taiga Nomad.  Taiga, a Canadian company, has taken a completely novel engineering approach to pave the way for electric technology. Their vision is to completely transform the powersports sector by introducing groundbreaking electric off-road vehicles, ensuring sustainability without compromising on performance.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the drivers arriving to pick up the machine is Paul Thompson, President of the Birchleggings Club, an elite group of skiers who’ve completed at least 20 ‘Birkies’. Thompson organized the fund-raising and purchase of the machine in support of the ABSF’s Birkie Green initiative.

 

“Like many snow sports industries, the ‘Birkie’ is not immune to the effects of warmer winters and in 2017 had to cancel the event due to lack of snow – the second time in less than 20 years.  Acknowledging its own carbon footprint, ABSF is moving towards being a good environmental steward and in support of their efforts, our Birchleggings Club organized a fund-raiser selling shopping bags made from recycled racer’s bibs,” said Thompson. “In addition to removing those used bibs from the waste stream, we raised enough money to purchase and donate the Taiga Nomad snowmobile in commemoration of ABSF’s 50th anniversary”.

 

Their efforts got a boost from Olympic cross-country skiing gold medalist, World Champion, and Board Member of Protect Our Winters Jessie Diggins, who trains at Strafford Mountain, Vermont. Diggins offered to lend her support by donating autographed bibs for auction. When asked about her reasons for supporting the ski industry going green, she said,

“In preparing for the first cross-country World Cup to be held in the US in over 20 years, the Taiga Nomad snowmobile can send a message to the ski world that we need to cut our carbon emissions as quickly as possible”. 

 

In addition to serving as President of the Birchleggings Club, Paul Thompson, is an active member of the environmental advocacy group Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), and has seen the effects of shrinking snowpack and warmer winters on his favorite sport. He believes the shift to an all-electric snowmobile for covering the ‘Birkie’ is a clear signal of growing awareness by the skiing and snowmobile industry of the damage from a warming climate on peoples’ health, winter sports, and the Earth.

 

 “The urgency of rising temperatures and CO2 levels and the need for a systemic solution are the reasons I work with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. In addition to switching consumers to electric alternatives, we lobby for Federal legislation that will drop CO2 levels quickly, using a market-driven, bi-partisan solution. Last month, over 1,000 CCL members met with our Members of Congress in DC to advocate for action on climate change. We want to do our part so the Birkie and other beloved winter sports can survive the next 50 years and provide the fun and competition we have enjoyed for generations of skiers to come”.

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