Ticket sales slip for Birkebeiner

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Norway’s legendary annual Birkebeiner ski race over the mountains may be losing some of its allure. Two months after tickets for next year’s race went on sale, many are still available, a sharp contrast to how it sold out within minutes in earlier years.

Around 17,000 skiers were taking part in the annual Birkebeiner ski race this weekend. The 54-kilometer course runs from one valley in eastern Norway over the mountains to another valley, and many train all season to take part. PHOTO: Birkebeinerrennet AS

The Birkebeiner race always attracts thousands of skiers, but registration is unusually slow for next winter’s event. PHOTO: Birkebeinerrennet AS

In 2011, record-strong demand led to all of the 54-kilometer race’s thousands of start numbers selling out in just one minute and 37 seconds. The year before that it only took 18 minutes to sell out the Birkebeiner race, which usually attracts more than 15,000 skiers every year.

Hans Petter Wahl Adolfsen, general manager for Birkebeinerrennet AS, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that he thinks many skiers now want to wait and see what snow conditions will be like and even whether they’ll be able to train enough to prepare for the tough race.

Many racers were angry, though, this year when the race was cancelled at the last minute  after race organizers decided the winds over the mountain plateau where the course runs were too strong. “The cancellation this year may also have had an effect on sales,” Adolfsen admitted to DN.

He’s nonetheless satisfied with last year’s financial results for Birkebeinerrennet, which also organizes cycling and running races among other events. The firm logged a 10 percent increase in revenues, to NOK 47.2 million in 2013 and profits of NOK 4.8 million, down from NOK 6 million the year before. Revenues logged for this spring’s race (and not refunded when the race was cancelled) will be included in the 2014 accounts.

newsinenglish.no staff