Oakebeiner, or 50k in the Arb

For nordic skiers in the US and other snowy regions of the world, late winter means ski marathons – long races that focus the fitness built up all fall and winter into some tough competition. The biggest ski marathon of them all, the 90 kilometer (56 mile) Vasaloppet, takes place in a couple weeks in Sweden; the biggest ski marathon in North America, the famed Birkebeiner (50km/31 miles in the freestyle technique or 54km/33.5 miles in the classic), will be run this Sunday in northern Wisconsin.

Though I want to ski both of those races (and others) someday, this ain’t the year.

Instead, I’m going to take advantage of our great snow and good weather and my underused stash of vacation days to ski my own classic-technique “marathon” in Carleton’s Lower Arboretum on Friday. I can get to the magical 50km mark by doing seven laps of my favorite 7.5km loop, which hits a few easy hills and covers lots of flat terrain in three of the Arb’s main ecosystems: tallgrass prairie, upland forest, and oak savanna.

This “Oakebeiner” won’t be a race, much less the Birkie or the Vasaloppet, but by golly it’ll be good enough for this winter – not least because I’ll ski past this beautiful tree fourteen times:

Arb Oak

(If any Northfielders want to join me, they will be able to find me in the Lower Arb from about 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Friday. I’ll be using the trailhead at the West Gym parking lot as the start/end of each lap.)

One thought on “Oakebeiner, or 50k in the Arb”

  1. Pingback: A-Okay Oakebeiner

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