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Hayward prepares for 46th annual Birkebeiner race

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HAYWARD, WI -- We're a little over a month away from the largest cross country ski races in the country.

Hayward, Wisconsin is preparing for the 46th annual Birkebeiner race.

The 46th Annual American Birkebeiner race isn't until late February, but prep for the big day is already well underway.

The race brings in thousands of skiers, and visitors from all over the country.

Surprisingly with the warmer winter we've had, the trails are in pretty good condition, Hayward has been lucky with a few good snowfalls to outweigh the warmer rainy days.

However, for folks traveling from other locations haven't been so lucky in terms of a good snow to practice.

"Interestingly enough the snow conditions around the country aren't quite as good, and certainly gets people nervous, it takes a lot of training to ski 50 or 55 km.," Stated Ben Popp, Birkie Executive Director.

The race starts in Cable, Wisconsin and ends in downtown Hayward.

Skiers race down main street which requires prepping snow for the big day.

"We gather it from some of the fields near by, put about 85 dump trucks loads of snow down.," Said Popp.

Each year, they always do their best do improve trail conditions for the skiers by doing a lot of work on them during the summer.

"Were always looking at how can we improve the trail to be able to ski on less and less snow which means fixing erosion spots.," Stated Popp.

Whether you need gear, or some extra practice a local ski shop in town can help.

"Our shop is a lot about getting that preparation in.," Stated Joel Harrison, Owner of New Moon Ski Shop.

Not to mention, this event provides a big economic boom for Hayward.

"Its a huge influx into a really small town.," Stated Harrison.

Organizers says it's successful every year thanks to the thousands of volunteers that come from all over.

"Whether you experience it as a volunteer, as a skier, or jut as a fan its pretty electric, pretty awesome, people talk about Superbowl Sunday we talk about birkie Saturday"

For more information on registration and all of the races, you can head to birkie.com.

The race will take place on Saturday, February 22nd.

Kaitlyn Moffett

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