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Home of American XC Skiers

MWC2019 Birken Extension

This page describes AXCS-organized options for USA skiers to extend their MWC2019 trip to include the Norwegian Birkebeiner ("Birken") on Saturday, March 16, 2019. Please note that for USA skiers that arranged "independent" lodging in Beitostolen for the MWC2019, it is still possible to be part of the USA Birken extension. Foreign skiers also might be possible to add for this extension if space is available in USA-booked lodging and transportation. It is also possible that we can work something out for skiers that wanted to do Birken events on Friday, March 15 (namely the open track classic or skate option). Tell JD if seriously interested in that option.

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Quick Note About Birken Race Registration
From what AXCS has been able to gather up to this point (June 1), we are under no huge rush to get everyone signed up for the Birken. The event is not selling out these days so there's no huge immediate pressure. You are welcome to register via the normal website whenever you want just to get it done. But you can also wait (at least a little bit longer) until AXCS can figure out with the Beitostolen OC and the Birken race office if we should have USA skiers register as a group in order to get some special benefits. Stay tuned for more info.

Norwegian Birkebeiner website if you want to see more official race info -- http://www.birkebeiner.no/en/

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Very Preliminary & Guesstimated Costs for Birken Extension

Please note that AXCS does not yet have a firm handle on costs for the Birken Extension (because JD has been maxed out trying to get Beitostolen lodging figured out for all of you & there are a ton of details still to work out on this extension!). But here are very rough & not-confirmed guesstimated costs for your early budgeting needs.....
--> 1400 NOK per person (event entry)
--> 1000 NOK per person (buses from Beitostolen to staging location on March 15 & staging location to Birken start in Rena on March 16:
--> 250 NOK per person (train from Lillehammer to Oslo Gardermoen -- regardless of staging option picked, you'd ride train either March 16 or later)
--> 1420-3800 NOK per person (lodging for March 15 & 16 depending on room configuration and staging location)
--> ??? NOK (meals outside of breakfast each day are not included)
--> Small additional amounts possible for Lillehammer shuttles, AXCS fees, hotel charges, currency flux, etc.
Guesstimated Cost Range: 4100-6600 NOK per person ($600-900 USD)

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Two Staging Location Options For The AXCS Birken Extension

The MWC2019 officially concludes the evening of Thursday, March 14. The next morning -- Friday, March 15 -- AXCS will arrange for a minimum of two buses to depart Beitostolen lodging for two separate Birken staging locations. Neither option is "better" per se -- it entirely depends on your desires, budgets, and return home air schedule.

Please understand the rates shown below for the hotels are "rough quotes" meaning that the total amount due is subject to change based on any required additional AXCS fees, hotel charges, currency flux, etc.. As always, AXCS makes every attempt to keep every travel expense to a minimum.

ACTION NEEDED RIGHT NOW:
If you know you want to do the Birken Extension (or are at least highly likely to want to), please immediately read the descriptions below and make a preliminary choice of which staging option sounds like the best fit for you needs/wishes. Then go to the following Google Sheet to simply put your NAME & STAGING CHOICE down so we can get an early count of bookings. This will help AXCS make sure we have enough lodging space at both staging options.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hopfr28I1-DRm_JW_FOOHHtM0XPFetTx...

Note: If you absolutely cannot get the Google Sheet to work, then email JD << jd at xcskiworld dot com >> with the name(s) and staging choice adding "Birken Extension" in the email header. But the Google Sheet is better as it saves potentially dozens of added emails for JD to wade through!!!

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Staging Option #1.) Lillehammer Scandic Hotel

With the Lillehammer Scandic option you will travel via bus (roughly 2:30-3 hours) from Beitostolen to Lillehammer on Friday, March 15. 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 USA used this same hotel for the 2004 Masters World Cup. AXCS has arranged the per night rate (for the room) of 1900 NOK single & 2100 NOK double (breakfast included, but not dinner) with the group contract specifying two nights stay for each USA skier (nights of March 15 and 16). We have 15 single and 10 double rooms now. If we need more, we hopefully can get more if we fill up the space before mid-June 2018 -- hence why we need to get info on our potential numbers RIGHT NOW!!!

With the Lillehammer option, you will wake up (very) early on Birken day -- Saturday, March 16 -- and get on a Birkebeiner-organizer 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 be possible, we have a huge group, AXCS is asking). 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. Note that it will be determined in coming months if you'll need to take a taxi or hotel shuttle or if it will be possible simply to ski a few more kilometers from the Olympic stadium downhill to Scandic (this is how we often did things after MWC2004 races). You then spend the night of Saturday, March 16 and check-out whenever you wish on Sunday, March 17 -- or we most likely can arrange extra nights if you wish.

Departing Lillehammer will be a matter of getting yourself from the Lillehammer Scandic Hotel down to the Lillehammer train station. It's a couple kilometers downhill so walking with your luggage is in theory possible -- but if you have a lot of gear, it may be more sensible to plan on a hotel shuttle or short taxi ride. From the train station you can reach almost anywhere in Norway if you are extending your Norway vacation. If you are heading home, you'll have a roughly 2-2.5 hour train ride to Gardermoen airport.

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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Staging Option #2.) Gardermoen Airport -- Radisson Blu Hotel

With this option you 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 Hotel immediately adjacent (as in a very short walk with your bags, no shuttle needed) to the Gardermoen terminal.

This is a very large hotel with the usual modern amenities and very nice food options both at the hotel and within the terminal. AXCS has arranged the per night rate (for the room) of 1220 NOK single & 1420 NOK double (breakfast included, but not dinner) with the group contract specifying two nights stay for each USA skier (nights of March 15 and 16). We have 10 single and 45 double rooms now. If we need more, we probably can get more if we fill up the space before the end of June 2018.

With the Gardermoen Airport option, you will also wake up (very) early on Birken day -- Saturday, March 16 -- and get on a Birkebeiner-organizer 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 be possible, we have a huge group, AXCS is asking). 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.

It's after completing the Birken that your plan differs substantially from the Lillehammer option.

With the Gardermoen Airport option you will find your way (most likely via taxi or Birken shuttle -- still working on that detail) from the Birken race finish down to the Lillehammer train station. (Yes, normal "race bags" with your basic pre-race clothes will be transported from Rena to Lillehammer so you'll have actual clothes to wear after the race.) If you want to, you can walk around Lillehammer a little bit before hopping on the train. You'll have to carrying your ski gear with you, but it is possible to do a little sight-seeing before the train ride.

You will then take the train (hourly options on Birken day) direct from Lillehammer to Gardermoen Airport. It'll take roughly 2-2.5 hours. Once you arrive at the airport, it's a couple minute stroll from rail station back to Radisson Blu lobby and your room.

STUFF TO NOTE ABOUT THE GARDERMOEN AIRPORT STAGING OPTION

1.) This option IS the 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, in theory 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. 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 the ski adventure.