The temperatures were up, and the casualties down in the 39th edition of the American Birkebeiner.
Staff from the Marshfield clinic treated 40 skiers who competed in the 50K or 54K versions of the Birkebeiner, from Cable to Hayward, on Feb. 25. They needed treatment for blisters, bruises and fatigue.
A year earlier, more than 200 skiers sought medical attention, most of them casualties of the sub-zero temperatures. Medical aids treated them for hypothermia, frostbite and frozen corneas.
The warmer weather, plus 10 at the start and into the 20s later in the day, likely helped boost the numbers of finishers in both the Kortelopet and Birkebeiner. There were 7,570 finishers in 2011, and 7,767 in 2012.
Classic skiers in the Birkebeiner represented the biggest surge in participation: 1,525 last year vs. 1,640 in 2012.
|2011 Birkebeiner||Skate - 3,703||Classic - 1,525||Total - 5,228|
|2012 Bikebeiner||Skate - 3,742||Classic - 1,640||Total - 5,382|
|2011 Kortelopet||Skate - 1,272||Classic -1,082||Total - 2,342|
|2012 Kortelopet||Skate - 1,303||Classic -1,082||Total - 2,385|
For a deeper dig into the Birkie by the numbers, check out Ari Ofsevit’s detailed analysis. He found a much faster group of skiers in the back end of the elite wave.