It’s been a marginal snow year up in Birkieland. There’s been a freeze-thaw cycle which has taken what snow there has been and melted it down in to ice, canceling the Birkie Tour and leaving those of us with race plans fretting about bare ground. Trail reports have been spotty; it sounds like there’s skiing, but it’s not the great conditions we know and love.
But things are getting better. A few inches of snow fell in the last week. And yesterday, the Birkie Trail threaded the needle with no rain and a hefty dump of good, base-building snow (which may save the City of Lakes Loppet down south, too). Here’s a picture from Hayward. Temperatures today and tomorrow should stay in the low 30s (forecast model chart), so the snow will hold, and then the mercury nose-dives for the weekend.
The longer-term news is about the same. A little snow, a little cold, and some worries, but no huge warm-ups or storms. It would be nice to get a couple feet of base in the next week and add to it beyond. But that may not be in the cards this year. It might be more of a 2007-esque nip-and-tuck wait-and-see type of year. And, rest assured, we’ll bring you the best speculation we can muster.
Right now, it’s cold. But the weather on race day, well, it might be cold, too (but probably not this cold). In any case, we’ve compiled data for every race day since 1973, and discussed what the weather might be. The race, in an average year, starts in the mid-teens. But it’s still probably a good idea to plan ahead and pack lobster mitts, a buff and some wind briefs.
Stay warm and ski fast.
I just bought a ticket to the Birkie. And with a month until the race, I’m pretty darned excited. The trail is—well—it has something frozen on it. My legs feel fast, and I’m flying to Minneapolis. One month to go! Get the fever.
A couple notes on this site. We had some questions regarding weather and have painstakingly researched the weather for every Birkie since time immemorial (1973). Results are being processed and will be posted soon. The long and short of it is that there has been, surprisingly, a slight cooling trend since the race started. Although the data are very subjective—the last Saturday in February is not a well-controlled data set.
Second, a note on the weather. This year seems to be shaping up, on the East Coast at least, like 2007. A very warm and snow-less start, followed by a prolonged cold snap. That was the last year the Birkie wasn’t complete. Hopefully this won’t be a repeat of 2007, and the models are showing cold and some snow for the trail in the next few weeks. Luckily the trail is so well maintained that a full race can be run with only a few inches. Although I think we’d all be happy with a few feet.