LILLEHAMMER, Norway – At some point, a ski race just can’t have any more participants. For Norway’s Birkebeiner, that point is 17,000 racers.
“That is for the time being as big as it will be,” Birkebeiner Managing Director Rune Bergsodden told FasterSkier. “It’s the logistics of before the race and after the race; we are working on the course to get even more tracks over the mountain, but we have to take care of people, so it’s many people and many that need to have a shower and get some food.”
So if no more participants will be added to the race, held in March every year from Rena 54 kilometers over the mountains to Lillehammer, how can the organization grow?
That’s the challenge that Bergsodden and the Birkebeiner staff have embraced. And they’ve found success: although the Birkebeiner organization itself is owned by the local ski clubs in Lillehammer and Rena, for the last several years it has brought in big enough profits to give money back to the clubs as a sponsor of sorts. More than 60,000 people participate in Birkebeiner events throughout the year, and the event’s prestige is on the rise.For the complete article on fasterskier.com click here.