Hundreds of local ski racers flock north for Birkie Week

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Hundreds of local cross country skiers are heading north to compete in North America’s largest ski race—the Birkie.

Cross country skier Eli Gore trains at Elver Park before racing in a Birkie Week event.

Eli Gore will be racing with nearly 14,000 skiers throughout the 5-day festival in the town of Cable. Events began Wednesday with the SuperTour Sprints and end with the biggest race, the Slumberland American Birkebeiner.

Gore, an 18-year-old cross country skier from Madison, is set to compete in a 29K race called the Kortelopet. He said he’s confident in how he’ll perform.

“I think if I just hang with the top pack of skiers for the whole race and not waste too much energy until the end, I think I can outsprint them,” he said.

Gore is a 2020 state champion and three-time Junior Nationals qualifier.

Before leaving, Gore added a last training session at home base Elver Park with coach Karmen Whitham.

“I want him to have fun for this one,” she said. “There’s been so much pressure in the beginning of the season and leading up to this race. I want to go back to the enjoyment of racing and get a feel for why he started all of this in the person.”

Friends and family can track skiers competing in the major races online and on a mobile app.