Because of COVID-19 concerns, many large athletic events around the country have either cancelled or gone entirely virtual, such as the Boston Marathon. But the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) is attempting to offer annual Birkebeiner events this Feb. 24-28 with both in-person and virtual races while observing safety protocols for participants and the community.

Three of the most substantial COVID-related changes for this year’s Birkie include the following: none of the races will finish in downtown Hayward, where large crowds have traditionally gathered, and there will be fewer in-person participants in the two major races — American Birkebeiner and the Kortelopet. Also, in-person races are spread out over five days with more time being allowed between race waves to reduce contact between skiers, and finally, over 30% of participants will be skiing virtually from other locations.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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