Written by American Trail Running Association Vice President Susan Kendrick. Susan is a Wisconsin-based trail runner and Director of Strategic Partnerships & Sponsorship for ATRA member American Birkebeiner® Ski Foundation.
Like all events, the 47th annual Slumberland American Birkebeiner cross country ski races at the end of February will look different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Known by many as the “Birkie,” this world famous ski race, usually a 50/55 kilometer race and week of events, will not be hosting its big indoor, two-day Birkie Expo (pictured below) which normally attracts over 11,000 participants and fans.
The good news is the 2021 Birkie Expo on February 4-5 is completely virtual, and now anyone can attend from the comfort of their own homes. With so many cross country skiers also being avid trail runners, we’re setting up a virtual booth where you can learn more about trail running and connect with our executive director Nancy Hobbs as well as other members of the ATRA team.
The Birkie Virtual Expo is also completely free and open to everyone who wants to be part of this year’s Birkie experience, visit the Expo, and be entered to win one of 21 entries to any Birkie event year-round—Ski, Run, or Bike. These entries are valid for the Birkie Trail Run Festival, located in the heart of Wisconsin’s northern woodlands.
At more than 40 booths, you can also enter to win great gear plus get deals on your training and racing necessities. See the sample list on the Birkie Expo page and keep checking back for more specials, right up until opening day on February 4!
What you will see and do at the American Birkebeiner Virtual Expo:
- More than 40 booths for cross country skiers, trail runners, and cyclists.
- Enter to win great gear and lifestyle packages.
- Live chat room at each booth to be part of a conversation thread and live video chats.
- Auditorium with presentations, music, and more.
- The new ATRA booth with its updated brand image and logo.
Register and get a sneak peek and all the details on the Birkie Expo page.
How does it work?
It’s easy. On February 4-5, login takes you right to the American Birkebeiner Expo “Lobby.” From there you can click on “Expo Hall” to see all the booths. Click on “Auditorium” for what’s playing there. The whole Birkie Virtual Expo looks as much like a real Expo as possible, so look around and have fun!
Each person that registers will receive an email on February 3, one day before the Birkie Virtual Expo opens, with an event reminder and their own personal login link. Simply click the link in that email for admittance to the Expo Lobby. From there it is a quick click into the Expo Hall.
Chrome is the best Internet browser for making sure you get all the Chat Room features in each booth on Feb. 4-5. Otherwise, Firefox and Safari also work well. You will simply be prompted to “download a plug-in” to better use the Chat Rooms. You can download Chrome for either Mac or PC. Again, this is recommended simply for a better experience in the Chat Rooms.
Mark your calendar trail runners! The Birkie Trail Run Festival, scheduled for September 24-25, 2021, is part of the Birkie’s year-round line-up of cross country skiing, trail running, and mountain and fat bike events. The Birkie Trail Run half marathon has been the USATF Half-Marathon Trail Championship (pictured below) in 2017, 2018 and 2020.
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