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

Board of Directors

Paul Thompson, President & Birkie Green Chair

Retired second grade teacher, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (71-73-Malaysian Borneo) and full time community builder from Edina, MN. After 42 Birkies Paul feels like there’s  one more in the tank before relaxing to the Korte. Birkie Green has given me confidence that Nordic skiers and the Birkie can lead the charge to preserving the season we all love.

Bob Britz, Vice President & Fundraising Chair


Ski-Run-Bike Live
The Birkie motto has been a part of what I have always tried to do. Being active on a daily basis keeps life interesting and enjoyable.  Like the 4 seasons variety for me is the spice of life - baseball, running, biking, golfing or cross country skiing.
Let's make it a great day!

Jim Tenorio, Secretary


Ever since being chased off a trail by the angry landowner while on X-C skis for the first time, “JT” has been inspired to SKI FASTER!

Dave Balsiger, Treasurer

I learned to ski, to wax, and to appreciate klister as a high school exchange student to northern Sweden. I brought skis back with me. Leonard and I first skied the Birkie in 1976.  I have been associated with the Birchleggings Club since its beginning, serving as treasurer and data keeper for the club.

Ralph Bovard, Board Member

I am a semi-retired physician that lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Marnie, and three cats. I am an ex-rugby player who now participates in cross-country skiing and master swimming, and have done 25 Birkies and 10 Korte races since 1981.  I remain interested in cardiorespiratory “fitness age" and body composition analysis as they relate to optimal aging. Likewise, I am an advocate for lifelong participation in the "Silent Sports”.

Steve Carmazon, Membership Chair

I have been blessed to have been able to ski and finish every Birkie since 1975 and have skied in 9 states, and 4 countries, and one other World Loppet race. I have been a massage therapist since 1987, a US Cross Country Ski Team Therapist at the World Nordic Ski Championships, Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1995, and in 1997, for several Olympic hopefuls at Cross Country Ski Olympic Trials, Lake Placid, New York, prior to 1998 the Nagano Winter Olympics. I am one of 3 skiers to be the first to contiguously ski the 106-mile Luce Line Trail across Minnesota in 1975, prior to my first Birkie. I am especially grateful for the many nearly lifetime friends I’ve made because of the Birkie!
 Jim Haubrich, Board Member


 Recently retired, I spent the past 29 years as CFO for Doherty Staffing Solutions, in Edina, Minnesota. Jim and his wife Melanie currently live in Waconia, MN where they raised their two sons Josef and Nathan, seen pictured here with Jim the day after the 49th Birkie. I completed my 40th Birkie in 2023 and am also a Worldloppet Master Skier (No, 1509) which I achieved in 2001.  Like many of the other Birkie/Korte Skiers, I like to run, swim, bike and of course ski.

Connie Meek, Board Member


I am a retired high school math teacher and coach.
Currently, I am coaching for Ski and Tea and women’s ski clinic as well as competing in skiing, triathlons, inline skating, and running events.

 David Rhude, Board Member

I’m looking forward to serving on the Birchleggings Club Board of Directors. I grew up in Marinette, Wisconsin and studied at the University of Wisconsin - Madison from 1974 to 1985 and have lived in Minneapolis other than several years working in New Zealand.  

My first Birkie was in 1980 when I was asked by a medical school colleague if I would like to go up north and do a little skiing in the north woods.  I didn’t quite understand what I was in for, a trek from Hayward to Telemark, but I was hooked. I’ve skied 26 Birkies and 4 Korties since, missing a few years due to work schedules and a troublesome knee. I’ve skied 5 of the World Loppet events, hopefully a few more in the next couple of years.

The American Birkebeiner has become a very important part of my calendar.  I’m looking forward to helping support the ABSF and the Birchleggings community for years to some. I also look forward to help motivate and chase the warriors, princess and Prince Haakon into Hayward this coming season.

Gus Virkus, Board Member


 I live in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with my wife, Julie and am a retired public school teacher, and coach. We have two adult daughters and five grandchildren. I have skied 21 Birkies and currently compete in wave Two Classic. Julie and I are both World Loppet Masters at the Gold level. We embrace the Birkie philosophy of living active, healthy lifestyles.

Edward Eroe, Webmaster & Social Media

I have volunteered with the Birchleggings Club since becoming a Birchlegger in 2007 and developed the website and setup all the social media for the club at that time. Currently, I am the Webmaster and Social Media Coordinator and serve as a Board Member since the club was incorporated. I have completed 35 American Birkebeiner Ski Races and 47 total marathon ski races.
I retired in 2019 from a career in healthcare administration with a specialty in emergency medical and trauma services. Currently, I work part-time at Freewheel Bike in Roseville, Minnesota and lead the Bike University and the Green Miles program for the Twin Cities Bicycle Club. I am a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan School of Public Health. I have two grown sons who live in Denver, Colorado and Austin, Texas.

John Kotar, Founder

 John Kotar, retired from UW-Madison where he developed the forest habitat-type classification system, established the Birchleggings Club in gratitude for being designated as one of the Birkie Founders, recognizing his continuous participation in the first 10 Birkies. He shepherded the club through its first 20 years, and has since watched it grow impressively to its current stature. John completed 38 Birkies himself before being sidelined by orthopedic problems in his 39th running. John also completed the Norwegian Birkebeiner and Canadian Birkebeiner, and several World Loppet races.  He currently lives in Cable, WI in his beloved Northwoods.

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