Birkebeiner bike race loses racers

Norway’s annual Birkebeiner race for cyclists will be rolling over the mountains east of Lillehammer once again this weekend, but with far fewer participants. Registrations for the race have fallen by almost half over the past two years. Even if another thousand cyclists were to sign up before Saturday, their numbers would be down around […]

Drama at the Birkebeiner when snowmobile hit skier

It was described as “the worst that can happen,” and it did: A professional video crew taping the action in Saturday’s traditional Birkebeiner ski race over the mountains between Rena and Lillehammer collided with this year’s winner of the overall World Cup, Martin Johnsrud Sundby.  It was the proverbial wake-up call for both athletes and crews […]

Birkebeiner attracts record foreigners

Organizers of this year’s annual and highly traditional Birkebeiner ski race from Rena to Lillehammer faced having the lowest number of participants in 15 years. They’re making up for at least some of the loss by instead attracting record numbers of foreign racers, keen to test their stamina in the 54-kilometer marathon. “I am from Granada,” […]

Birkebeiner lost on lower participation

The numbers of skiers taking part in last weekend’s Birkebeiner ski race over the mountains of southeastern Norway were down by more than 6,000 from the records reported a few years ago. That’s likely to lead to financial losses for the organizers. “I’ll be crunching the numbers over the Easter holidays, but it’s correct that […]

Crown Prince didn’t do as well in ‘Birkebeiner’ this year

Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon didn’t do nearly as well in this year’s Birkebeiner race over the mountains from Østerdalen to Gudbrandsdalen. He did beat his other royal rival, though, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, while a Norwegian won the race itself. John Kristian Dahl, who’d been favoured to win, was thrilled with his first Birkebeiner […]

Skiers from 44 countries raced in Birkebeiner

Total participation has declined, but organizers of Norway’s annual Birkebeiner ski race were setting a record for international representation this year. The number of Swedes competing has doubled. Around 13,000 skiers were starting the upcoming Easter holidays by skiing the Birkebeiner’s 54-kilometer course, og at least half of it, over the mountains from Rena in […]

New ‘Birkebeinerne’ film sold for distribution in the US

Distribution rights for a new Norwegian film about the legendary soldiers and skiers who saved the monarchy in the 1200 have been sold to Magnolia Pictures of the US. That means the film will be shown in American cinemas next year, after its debut in Norway in early February. Called Birkebeinerne in Norwegian, because of the birch […]

Speed limit sought for ‘Birken’ racers

The upcoming summertime cycling version of the classic Norwegian Birkebeiner race, also known simply as “Birken,” is raising some unusual complaints this year from those living and vacationing along the race route. They think the racers are cycling too fast. Norwegians owning holiday cabins (hytter) in the popular Sjusjøen area, through which the race route passes, are the […]

Celebrities shone as ‘birkebeiners’

Crown Prince Haakon was among the locally well-known Norwegians to complete the tough Birkebeiner ski race over the weekend, along with former Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and violinist Arve Tellefsen. The crown prince, age 41, skied the 54-kilometer (32-mile) course in what sports commentators called an “impressive” three hours, 36 minutes and 12 seconds. […]

Birkebeiner film races to a finish

Around 13,000 avid skiers were crossing the mountains of eastern Norway over the weekend in the annual Birkebeiner ski race, inspired by the original fast-skiing “Birkebeiner” insurgents of the 12th and 13th centuries. Now the latter are about to be immortalized in a new film based on their legendary rescue of an infant destined to become King Håkon […]