Threading the needle

One of the great things about the Birkie is that you ski in whatever weather is thrown your way. 18″ of snow? Ski it. -11˚? Ski it. But it’s especially nice when it’s not brutally cold, or when you don’t have to push your car out of a snowbank the morning of the race. It won’t always be 2010-esque (10 at the start, 30 at the end, sunny on the lake) but we haven’t had a year with even moderate weather in quite some time.

And that might change, although it looks like we’ll be incredibly lucky. While last year the Upper Midwest was in the center of the cold air in the US and got shellacked with snow and cold, this year it’s more on the western edge. There’s less moisture but, at least in the past few weeks, no shortage of cold. Much of this month will dip below 0 in Hayward, and the next week or so looks especially cold. Hayward looks to go well below zero five of the next six months, and readings of -15 or -20 are not out of the question. The one exception? Birkie morning.

It might be downright balmy! A small disturbance will add a bit of fresh snow to the course (maybe even a post-grooming blanket to soften the well-packed base) and also keep temperatures from free-falling. Temperatures should drop to about 5 overnight, and rise to 15 during the race. Considering the rest of the week, this will be warm. Winds look to be light, and maybe even out of the north—a slight tail wind to propel us to Hayward.

In any case, a repeat of 2011 (frigid Birkie) or 2014 (the blizzard) are not likely in the cards. It should be a much easier race, logistically, and, compared to last year, physically as well.

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