It was three years ago December that we got the great idea to ski the Birke the following winter. The reasoning behind the long-term planning for the next winter was a logical move – to give us of a year to get in shape.
We spent that first winter skiing and supplemented quite a few uphill hikes with poles and the little hiking crampons under our shoes for the icy sections. The Alley Loop in Crested Butte was our long distance event that first winter and our qualifier Birke race for the following winter.
We worked hard and motivated each other to stick to our training program, so we were a bit disappointed when it was announced the Birkebeiner was cancelled last winter due to lack of snow. I wasn’t so bad though – we were smart enough to buy trip insurance for our plane fare and was also able to cancel our hotel reservation at the Micro Hotel in Rice Lake. We were only out the Birke entry fee and a few steps away from the cliff of a cancelled Birke depression.
On the bright side? Another summer to boost our training volume. We got in long and challenging nine hour hike from Crested Butte to Aspen as soon as the trail opened. The maroon bells road proved to be another wonderful summer activity with Her on blades and myself on classic roller skis.
We had a decent summer and now waiting for the snow to fly. As of today, December 3, 2017 it’s as dry as a bone. No skiing except for a few snow-making runs at Aspen and Snowmass ski areas. The Rio Grand bike trail is still dry beckons roller-blading for those flat rolling paths and lots of V-2 training.
Last year’s cancellation was a bummer, and so is the dry winter start of this winter. But, it was three years ago that the Birkebeiner became our goal and this winter will be perfect because Third Time’s a Charm.