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MWC2019 Birken Extension

This page is focused on info for USA skiers extending their MWC2019 trip to include the Norwegian Birkebeiner ("Birken") on Saturday, March 16, 2019.

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General Birken Information

This link provides nearly all of the Birken information you need for pre-race and race day logistics including the bus transportation FAQ for USA skiers staying in Lillehammer and needing to set up a ride to Rena race start on Saturday, 16 March.
https://birkebeiner.no/en/race-info-birken-ski-festival

This link is a chart that has info about seeding waves that you can try and apply to get in. You should also read up about "seeding" on the main Birken webpage above. The email address to use for requesting seeding is << seeding@birkebeiner.no >>. If you have not done this already, get on it....
https://birkebeiner.no/en/undersider-ski/seeding-table

For Norway train schedules after the Birken you will want to go to this site…
https://www.nsb.no/en/timetables
Using the train to get to the Oslo airport will apply both to those staging out of Lillehammer (so that you can depart easily down to Olso for flights or other sight-seeing) and also for those staging out of Gardermoen Airport (so that you can get from Lillehammer and Birken race finish back to the airport Radisson hotel on the 16th). See below some extended notes about booking trains under plans for both staging groups.

Birkebeiner Required Backpack Advice
—> Various trail running back packs are often used.
--> If you have a good hydration back pack you can either pull out the hydration system (to fit the required clothes) or plan to only partially fill the hydration bladder (again, to fit the clothes). You may have to add artificial weight to get to the required ‘baby weight’.
—> In Iceland April 2019, JD used a model of the Mazama hydration packs made in Bend, Oregon -- https://mazamadesigns.com
--> A former XC Oregon skier has a nice signature model from Nathan Sports that will work great. The 12L would be recommended for longer events. -- https://www.nathansports.com/vaporhowe-12-race-vest

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AXCS Staging Group #1.) Lillehammer Scandic Hotel
Lillehammer Scandic Room List
(35 double rooms)

Bowman, Dave & Janet (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Hinkley, Bert & Dani (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Wells, Sara & Bradley (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Osgood, Chris & Mary Heller (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Machado, Randal & Suzette (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Bengtson/Gray, Lindsey & Travis (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Gray/Bengtson, Bob & Colter (two beds needed) (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Schultes/Bjerke, Glenn & Michelle (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Bladel, Randy and Julie
Brundage/Ritola, Bill & Pat
Meyer, Katie & John
Weber/Burgess, Christina & Jay
Harris, Peter & Louise
Mallory, Leigh & Joanie
Bauer/Lynn, Nancy & Kathy
Eustis/Wolber, Jeff & Terri
Price/Young, Ginny & Ted
Platte/Jerry, Bob & Danielle
Ritz/Stevens, Muffy & Carol
Simpson/Monteverde, Karen & Carol
Stagman/Holiday, Tami & Cyndi (two beds needed)
Goodman/Sides, Laird & Keith
Smith/Gale, Randy & Paula
Lund/Seiss, Lorraine & Randy
Hole, Jay & Suneel Apte  (two beds needed)
Ivie, Mike & Pat
Bowen, Magdalena & David
Montagne, Cliff & Joan
Weyer/Bergan, Sally & Marsha (two beds needed)
Whiting, John & Kathleen --> replace by David Christopherson
Hosmer, Trina & David
Hendrix/Culbertson, Ralph & Bruce (two beds needed)
Smigiel, Steve & Diane
Sutter, Tom & Marnie
Zordell, Blair & Nolan, Dan (two beds needed)

( 10 single rooms)

Engel, Paula (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Eidsmo, Ivar
Copoulos, Art
Crawford, Sharon
Camp, Don
McCabe, Patrick
Wood, John
Bauder, Don
Kil, Greg
Mayfield, Peter

Hotel Website: https://www.scandichotels.com/hotels/norway/lillehammer/scandic-lilleham...

With the Lillehammer Scandic option you will travel via bus (roughly 2:30-3 hours) from Beitostolen to Lillehammer on Friday, March 15. If you are marked on the AXCS Trip Chart in a darker pink/red under the Departure Info column -- that means you are factored into the bus group to Scandic.

You and your luggage will be dropped off at the Lillehammer Scandic Hotel. This is a very large hotel with the usual modern amenities and very nice food options both at the hotel and nearby. The AXCS group contract was for two nights stay for each USA skier (nights of March 15 and 16). All of you will have paid in full for those nights before arrival (via AXCS). If you arranged for an extension, you are expected to pay the hotel for the added nights like any other stay on your own.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: The Scandic booking includes lodging and breakfast only. You are on your own for dinner. There is a nice restaurant at the hotel plus many other options in Lillehammer.

In terms of packet pick-up, if you selected "Lillehammer" with your race registration you can elect to simply keep that choice and pick up your packet at Hakon's Hall on Friday, March 15 after the bus gets you to Lillehammer. Alternatively, if all goes well and we do have selected packets brought to Beistostolen on or before our departure from the MWC -- you can also have your packet brought to you that way. Info about the packets maybe getting to Beistostolen will not be known for certain until very late in the game. Possibly not until we are actually in Norway.

With the Lillehammer option, to get to the Rena race start you must pre-order a Birkebeiner-organizer bus ride on race morning. There is a fee per person. You do this on the event website under "bus"....
https://birkebeiner.no/en/race-info-birken-ski-festival

AXCS has gotten a lot of questions about the pre-race bus from Lillehammer staged AXCS members. Our wonderful AXCS media helper Inge Scheve was able to call over to the the Birken office and got the following that should help.....

It is not necessary to buy and reserve the bus online via My Page. Those who can't get logged in to My Page to reserve the bus, can reserve a bus and buy the ticket at the bib pickup in Håkons Hall (Lillehammer). They will get a physical bus ticket to use the next day. There is no shortage of buses and everyone will be able to get on the bus they want -- even if they sign up the day before.

More helper notes....

a. If you really want to see your registration account and can't get in, you can try emailing the Birken race office for help << info@birkebeiner.no >>.

b. If you do not have an assignment for a wave, you can use the Birken email address to use for requesting seeding << seeding@birkebeiner.no >>. This works if you have a result from another Worldloppet event on the Birken list.

c. If you have to wait until the Birken automatically assigns you a wave out of everyone with no seeding results they'll accept (they do this frustratingly late in the game we are told and it would be a late morning wave if this is your situation), then you can really pick any of the morning Rena buses. Earlier bus guarantees you get there in time no matter what, later maybe not so much. The only problem going really early in the morning is that you wait around longer, but at least you are there for any wave you are assigned.

d. Yes, you can use a couple MWC events listed by the Birken (see their website) for seeding. Yes, they would change your seed if you really post something they respect relative to a slower pre-assigned wave. Yes, you'd need to have selected a bus ride that was early enough to match up to a newly assigned wave.

e. When you are pre-ordering your Birken bus on race morning, note that the address of the Scandic Lillehammer Hotel is Turisthotellvegen 6, 2609, Lillehammer which is really close to Hakon's Hall in Lillehammer itself. Do not get confused with other Scandic hotels in the general region!

General Race Day Bus Info From Lillehammer:
With so many people to get to Rena on tiny roads, anticipate the buses to run (very) early on Birken day -- Saturday, March 16. The buses should depart Lillehammer at the Hakon's Hall which is a 800m walk from the Scandic (AXCS asked about bus pick-up at the hotel, can't be done due to road closures for the event). The bus ride itself will take roughly 2 hours to the event start in Rena. Then you'll do the usual Worldloppet massive event "stand-around-and-wait" until your wave start. You'll ski the Birken, be part of skiing history (it's one of the origins of our sport after all), and have loads of fun.

Following your successful Birken adventure, you will return to the Lillehammer Scandic from the finish line via one of the Birken-provided shuttles to Hakon's Hall. From there you walk 800m back to the Scandic and your hotel room (fairly level terrain). You then spend the night of Saturday, March 16 and check-out whenever you wish on Sunday, March 17 (or later if you set up an extension).

Departing Lillehammer for Oslo or any other destination is something you need to arrange on your own. From the train station you can reach almost anywhere in Norway if you are extending your Norway vacation. If you are heading home the day you train down to the airport, you'll have a roughly 2 hour train ride to Gardermoen airport (which is the Oslo Lufthavn station on the NSB website) so you'll need to factor that time into when you want to be physically at the airport. https://www.nsb.no/en/timetables

Important Notes About Booking Trains:

What AXCS has discovered is that Norway government websites aren't friendly to North American credit cards because of a different security system. So the train system will very likely refuse your credit card. It is probably worth trying just in case your card has the magic juju -- but don't be surprised if you run into a snag. The work around the train website recommends is to use a PayPal payment. This is great if you have a PayPal account -- not so much if you do not. Another option is to buy your departure train tickets in person at the airport when you fly in. There is a better chance of being able to get your credit card to work in-person than online. It is also possible to simply buy your train tickets with converted NOK cash currency or a pre-paid debit card you could buy at the airport. Anyone that is "stuck" at this point because you don't have a PayPal account -- email JD in the AXCS office and we can figure things out.

It's 1.2 kilometers (15 minutes) walking downhill from the Lillehammer Scandic Hotel to the Lillehammer train station so walking with your luggage is in theory possible. But if you have a lot of gear or if there is a lot of snow/ice on the roads, it may be more sensible to plan on a hotel shuttle or very short taxi ride. Walking Map

STUFF TO NOTE ABOUT THE LILLEHAMMER STAGING OPTION

1.) This option does NOT work if you are planning to fly out of Oslo-Gardermoen airport in the morning of Sunday, March 17 (morning after Birken) or even up to flights into mid-day. You need to allow 2-2.5 hours for the train from Lillehammer to Airport and then another 2.5-3 hours for international check-in, security, etc.. You also have to factor in packing up all your gear. Train delays are rare in Norway, but note that is also a risk even if you allow plenty of time. So this is a much better option if you are flying home on Monday, 18th -- or a later date.

2.) This IS a good option if you want to have extra time in Lillehammer and you are not in a rush to get on a flight home soon after the Birken. It's undeniably easier post-race just to come from Birken finish direct to your hotel room. Lillehammer also becomes quite a party town both the night prior and night of the Birken. So if you like the idea of really hanging out with the Norwegian folks, that may be attractive.

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AXCS member Dave Hosmer shares the following info for those adding a couple days to the Birken extension in the Lillehammer area:

Bus to Sjusjoen about every hour from the Lillehammar train station. Has a numbered named stop on the far side of the parking lot. Lets you off at a couple off at a couple of places with access to all the trails. The other option is to take a bus to Nordseter also from the train station and some Sjusjoen buses got to Nordseter after Sjusjoen. Time tables available in the Lillehammar train station. . Problem with Nordeter is you ski uphill for some ways to get to the main trails. However the trail back to the Lillehammar OL Stadium leaves from Nordseter parking lot. Best plan is for those interested to spend 10 bucks for the trail map available in ski shops on the Lillehammar walking street as well as at Sport 1 in Sjusjoen and the sport shop at Nordseter. Map is worth it.

With over 750km of groomed trails there are lots of choices. here is the link to the web site for grooming reports for Sjusjoen. Very cool site and gives live results with a spinning icon for groomers on the move. https://skisporet.no/setView/61.1566537/10.6987095/12/norges_grunnkart

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AXCS Staging Group #2.) Gardermoen (Oslo) Radisson Blu Airport

Gardermoen Radisson Blu Room List
(15 double rooms)

Jamieson, Bruce & Ann
Finnoff, Jonathan & Leslie
Finnoff, Greg & Colleen (request reservation extend to include nights of 17 & 18 March — 4 nights)
Fritzell, Peter & Susan
Steinbach/Meek, Lori & Connie
Bifolco/Devoe, Donna & Carol
Baker, Bob & Sharon
Cruz/Norton, Brad & Barbara
Baic, Nickola & Anne (request reservation be for the nights of 16 & 17 March — 2 nights)
Hee, Edgar & Karen (request reservation just be night of 15 March — 1 night)
Makarewicz/Howat, Barry & Laura
Swanson, Eric & Stephen
Cohen, Michael & Valerie
Beattie, Chris & Nancy (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Galvin, Marc & Sarah (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)

(7 single rooms)

Puchner, Chris
Bednorz, Jay (request reservation extend to include night of 17 March — 3 nights)
Boduch, Doug
Downing, J.D.
Northrop, Will
Feldman, Richard
Blatt, Ken

Hotel Website: https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-osloairport

This group will travel via bus from Beitostolen to Gardermoen Airport near Oslo on Friday, March 15. You and your luggage will be dropped off at the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel immediately adjacent (as in a very short walk with your bags, no shuttle needed) to the Gardermoen terminal.

Radisson Blu Airport is a large hotel with the usual modern amenities and very nice food options both at the hotel and within the terminal. The AXCS group contract was for two nights stay for each USA skier (nights of March 15 and 16). We've made some special adjustments for a couple folks, but all of you will have paid in full for the contracted nights before arrival (via AXCS). If you arranged for an extension, you are expected to pay the hotel for the added nights like any other stay on your own.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: The Radisson Blu Airport booking includes lodging and breakfast only. You are on your own for dinner. There is a restaurant at the hotel plus a couple other low-key options in the airport terminal arrivals hall -- plus restaurants in other airport-attached hotels. You also could always take a relatively short train ride into Oslo and have the whole city at your disposal.

With the Gardermoen Airport option, you will wake up (very) early on Birken day -- Saturday, March 16 -- and get on an AXCS-organized bus that will travel roughly 2 hours to the event start in Rena. You then will need to collect your race bib/packet (NOTE: unless arrangements can be made for packets to come to Beitostolen before we leave -- this could still be possible, read below). Then you'll do the usual Worldloppet massive event "stand-around-and-wait" until your wave start. You'll ski the Birken, be part of skiing history (it's one of the origins of our sport after all), and have loads of fun.

Following your successful Birken adventure, you will go from the finish line via one of the Birken-provided shuttles to Hakon's Hall on the eastern edge (uphill) of the Lillehammer main town. Yes, normal "race bags" with your basic pre-race clothes, etc. will be transported from Rena to Lillehammer to wear or use after the race. Also remember that you are required to have a certain amount of clothing in your Birken back pack so you are literally carrying clothes with you the entire route as insurance for the finish.

You then will need to figure out your preferred way to get to the Lillehammer train station. It's 1.6 kilometers (23 minutes) walking mostly downhill from Hakon's Hall to the Lillehammer train station so walking is possible. Walking Map. If there is a lot of snow/ice on the roads or you are too wiped out from the Birken, it may be more sensible to plan on a very short taxi ride. There is also always the chance that there will be official shuttles provided -- but there is no mention on the Birken website that AXCS can find and veteran skiers that have done the event have not been able to confirm such a shuttle.

When you catch a train back to Oslo-Gardermoen ("Lufthaven") depends on your best guess at planning your race time and wishes post-race. You will need these guesses for pre-buying train tickets before race day. Tips we have gathered from Norway sources is that it is best to allow a minimum 2-3 hours post your-most-likely-finish-time to get to the train station. Allow more time window if you want to have time to do everything you want after the race. There are showers provided after the race, a big expo, Lillehammer is a fun down, you will be at least somewhat tired and slower than normal after skiing a historic route, there is a beer garden, etc, etc..

There are trains on the hour for Birken main event day so it is pretty easy to find tickets. One warning from our Norwegian elves is that you MUST buy your tickets ahead of event week or else they will sell out in the afternoon hours and you'll be traveling late Saturday night back to Oslo.

Finally -- what AXCS has discovered is that Norway government websites aren't friendly to North American credit cards because of a different security system. So the train system will very likely refuse your credit card. It is probably worth trying just in case your card has the magic juju -- but don't be surprised if you run into a snag. The work around the train website recommends is to use a PayPal payment. This is great if you have a PayPal account -- not so much if you do not. Anyone that is "stuck" at this point because you don't have a PayPal account -- email JD in the AXCS office and we can figure things out.

This is the site to find the seeding tables which will show your seeding groups last four years worth of predicted times and start times:
https://birkebeiner.no/en/race-info-birken-ski-festival

This is the train booking site:
https://www.nsb.no/en/timetables

If you want to, you can walk around Lillehammer a little bit (or a lot) before hopping on the train. It's a fun town and especially so on the biggest day of the Norwegian ski year -- at least for everyday skiers. You'll have to carrying your ski gear with you while you cruise the shops/pubs, but it is very possible to do a little sight-seeing before the train ride. Just add a bit of "pad" to your train ticket time.

You will then take the train roughly 2 hours back to the airport. Once you arrive at the airport, it's a couple minute stroll from rail station back to Radisson Blu lobby and your room. You can arrange a flight as early or late as you like the next day because you'll literally be right at the airport.

STUFF TO NOTE ABOUT THE GARDERMOEN AIRPORT STAGING OPTION

1.) This option is the absolute best option if you want your pick of literally any outbound flight on Sunday, March 17. You and all your gear are right at the airport so you can take your pick of flights from early AM to evening.

2.) As noted above, it is possible to spend a little bit of time looking at sights in Lillehammer after you finish the Birken and before you take a train down to the airport. You'd just have to carry around your ski gear. But if you really want a bunch of time to explore Lillehammer and surrounding area, the Lillehammer option is better.

2.) This IS a good option if you want time in Oslo right after the MWC2019. We should be able to get you down to the airport hotel from Beitostolen by mid-day on Friday, March 15 so that would leave a full afternoon to go into downtown on Friday (it's a 15-25 minute city train ride from the airport, very easy). Depending on how fast you ski the Birken :-) you may also have some of Saturday PM to do the same thing after you return from your ski adventure.

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