Several Milton skiers, and skiers with Milton ties, participated in the American Birkebeiner, the largest nordic event in the western hemisphere. The Birkie headquarters is Hayward, where most of the races end on Main Street.
Races began in Hayward on Feb. 20, with the Barnebirkie, the largest children’s cross country ski race in the world. Other races that day included the Giant Ski race, where teams of six mount 25 foot skies, the Barkie Birkie with dog and skier paired up in Skijor races and the Junior Birkie and Adaptive skier for handicapped.
Races on Feb. 21 were the Price Haakon and half marathon, the Kortelopet. This country’s only Worldloppet race, the Birkebeiner, was held on Feb. 22. Skiers from 27 countries and 47 states participated.
Murray Carter, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, inched out Kleran Mullen of Hazlehurst by .2 seconds in the Kortelopet. Jessica Johnson, Milton skied Korte in 2:25:43. Jenny (Mohr) Friedel of Plymouth, skied her 10th Korte in 3:28:24. Her husband, Elliott, skied it in 2:10:58.
Niklas Dryhaug, Norway, won the Birkie in 1:59:01. Australian skier, Jessica Yeaton, won the women’s Birkie in 2:13:20.
Mike Manoque, Dodgeville, once from Milton, skied a 3:29:36 Birkie. It was his 30th.
Jonathan Van Horn, Golden Valley, Minn. now, but also from Milton, skied the race in 3:55:18. Tyler Johnson, Milton, skied a 3:58:41 Birkie. Skip Drew, Milton, skied his 34th Birkie in 4:15:29.
Kurt Mohr, Sun Prairie, but also from Milton, skied a 4:55:21 Birkie. Jim Mohr, Neilsville, skied his 41st Birkie in 5:09:07. Jim is a former pastor of the Milton Congregational Church and is the father of Kurt and Jenny.