How to Prepare for American Birkie Cross Country Ski Race

Posted by Ari Mahonen on Feb 17th 2017


With the American Birkie and Kortie just a few days away, it’s time to think all those little things that add up to having the best possible cross country ski race. 



  • Write name & phone number on your skis & poles. Possibility putting some Washi tape on the base of the pole handle to stop any confusion during the chaos of the start and finish areas. 
  • Upgrade your poles. The Birkie is a long event and having a lighter pole can make the event much more enjoyable. It’s also one of the easiest pieces of equipment to adjust to and can be changed quite easily close to the event. We’ve never heard someone say they thought the poles they bought were too nice. 
  • Protect your eyes. Do you have something to protect your eyes? Sunglasses help you ski better by letting you relax your eyes and concentrate on skiing. If you have a pair of summer glasses you love but tend to fog try out the Sven Can See gel to make them winter weather superstars. 
  • Get your classic wax marks checked. Skier weight changes, skis become softer, you removed the marks with wax remover. All good reasons to get your skis remarked. Just be sure to clean them before coming in. 
  • Clean your skis. With all of this warm weather skiing we’ve been doing, consider using glide wax cleaner before prepping your skis for the big day. It’s safer and more effective and making your ski ready for the big wax job. 
  • Stonegrind your skis. There’s still time to grind your ski before the Birkie and it will make them faster afterward if properly hardened. 
  • Have your skis professionally race waxed. Using a wax service for the Birkie can help reduce some stress about if you’re making the right choice for the big event. You can get on the bus in the morning with poles and pick up your skis right at the start. It’s a beautiful thing. 



Find the Perfect Gloves. Are you really happy with your Race Gloves? If not, find a new one. When your hands are good, everything is good. 

Love your base layer. Similar to gloves, if you’re not in love with your base layer, time to find a great new one. 

Are your socks tired? Is there a greater feeling than having a new pair of socks? Even if you don’t want to change right before the Birkie, having a fresh pair for after is pretty fun too!



Are you stocked up on your favorite trailside nutrition? Now is the time to grab your favorite gels or gummies, so if we’re out of “your flavor”, there’s still time to find it. 

Carrying Stuff. Are you happy with your hydration belt? There’s 10km+ between some aid stations and having some water on board is a great idea. This is also a great place to store your nutrition and beer/brat money. 

Cold Weather Protection. We’re still a little ways off but after this warm spell, cold weather could be in the picture. Between Warm Skin, Face Tape, Hand/Toe Warmers and Dermitone, you’ll be ready for whatever weather winter throws at you. 

Backpack. Do you have a backpack that will fit into those giant white or yellow dry bags? We’ve found that putting your belongs into a backpack before going into the bag will help keep them drier and more organized. 


Getting Ready

Take it Easy. Now is the time to do a couple of easy skis with a few speed intervals. Sleep and hydration are really important these last few weeks. Try to get plenty of both. 


Remember the Birkie is Fun and half the fun is catching the full FEVER!



Packing List


Skis (unless you’ve dropped them off at Gear West for the Premier Service)

Both Boots

Both Poles



Baselayer Top

Baselayer Bottom

Wind briefs

Race Suit Top(if using)

Race Suit Bottom

Warm Up Jacket

Warm Up Pants

Racing Gloves

Warm Up Gloves

Warm Up Hat

Racing Hat

Post Ski Hat

Race Socks

Dry After Race Socks

Favorite Buff



Hydration Belt & Bottle(s)

Nutrition & Way to Attached Nutrition

Sunglasses, Face Shield

Warm Skin, Face Tape, Dermatone for cold races

Backup Classic Wax/Cork

Small Backpack for inside your dry bag


Bib Pick Up Essentials

Confirmation Email Printed

Photo ID

$20 Cash for the Finish Area treats (Beer/Brats)



-Posted by Ari Mahonen on Feb 17th 2017