So, you may have gotten an email that says that the Birkie is basically full. Waves are filling fast, and you might not get in to the wave you really, really want to be in. It would be the end of the world, right?
Well, not really. Because it really doesn’t matter that much what wave you ski out of (for the most part). Wave 2 vs Wave 3? Everyone is right at the top of the curve. There’s only a few minutes difference between the back of Wave 2 and the front of wave four, and wave times can be based on the past four years of Birkies this year, so someone who is seeded in the front of Wave 4 from a Birkie in 2011 may have gone out and logged 600 hours of training the past two years, and someone from the back of Wave 1 might be sneaking in there from their best time a few years back, only to have gotten fat and slow. (Don’t do this.)
There’s a lot of spread. If you are shunted from Wave 3 to Wave 5, it’s really not a big deal. There is going to be traffic on the hills. There are going to be jams at feed stations. The Birkie is working to address these situations, but there’s only so much trail real estate, and there are a lot of people out there on skis. And with poles. So don’t worry about it. Too much.
(Exception: The Elite Wave is based on the previous year, with some exceptions for really fast people. The front of the First Wave is akin to the back of the Elite Wave: not very crowded, no dead-stop back-ups on hills, uncongested feeds. But remember that you actually have to be pretty fast to ski off the front of the First Wave. If you were 225th last year and had a good training year, by all means you should try. If you were 600th and snuck in and most of your training has been PBR tallboy bicep curls, just take it easy.)