- Mar. 15, 2010
- A Ski Into History…
The Midwest Field Marketing crew got to witness a bit of snow covered history a few weeks back at the American Birkenbeiner event, a place where Vikings show up in (mostly) traditional garb. What’s this year’s hot new Viking accessory you ask? Necklaces made out of Shot Bloks! Read on to get the full account below…
The Clif crew gets to be a part of many events that have stood the test of time so it’s no surprise that we often hear the word “tradition” used to describe an event’s proud past. Up here in the Midwest we actually got to see the concept of tradition brought to life when we recently traveled seven hours north from Chicago for the 2010 American Birkebeiner.
Now for a little history lesson….did you know the roots of the “Birkie” go all the way back to 1206, when Birkebeiner skiers rescued an infant prince during the Norwegian Civil War? Well, it’s true. Fast-forward eight centuries and our team was greeted by cheerful vikings who roamed the halls of the Telemark Resort – a place decked out with wooden skis and bamboo poles mounted on the lodge walls, cauldron torches that illuminate the front entrance, and…wait for it…nearly 10,000 modern Nordic warriors who were preparing to make an epic journey of their own!
Each year, skiers of all ages and abilities make the pilgrimage to the Telemark to take part in one of the many classic ski events. Younger competitors are able to sprint up Main Street in Hayward, on a perfectly-groomed snow covered road while the elite athletes line up for the full Birkebeiner, a race of 50-kilometers from Cable, WI to Hayward, WI (which the fastest skiers can cover in well under three hours, amazing!).
The Birkie Expo itself was a thrill for our Chicago-based team. Hailing from the (pick one) ‘windy/cold/snowy/rainy/sticky’ city of Chicago, we consider ourselves pretty tough when it comes to weather. But, even we had to do some investigating when asked how and CLIF SHOT BLOKS® fare at minus 20F!
Fortunately, our team got a surprise visit from local climber Lori Schneider.
Talk about tough…Lori hails from Janesville, WI and recently accomplished a most miraculous feat—climbing the “Seven Summits”the highest peak on each of the world’s continents. Even more amazing is the fact that Lori succeeded in her quest while fighting multiple sclerosis (MS)).
Well, she tracked us down just to share how she successfully ascended Everest…(here’s a little hint…SHOT BLOKS and SHOT Gel were in her pack).
Turns out BLOKS fair pretty well in the colder weather (Everest=cold).
But now, back to the pilgrimage at hand…
Skiers have a few tricks up their sleeves (literally) while they’re out and about on course (where taking gloves off means losing time)…An open Fastpack up the sleeve or inside the cuff of a ski glove are popular tactics, but a homemade necklace of pre-chilled Bloks was the crowd favorite!
At the end of it all on our way home to Chicago we caught a glimpse of the lead skiers receiving a hero’s welcome in town, gliding with unbelievable grace up a snow-covered Main Street to the finish. But, perhaps the best indication of how well we were captured by the tradition of the Birkie? Our urban-dwelling Chicago crew immediately began scheming on where we can train in order to put a Clif Bar team on the American Birkebeiner trail for 2011!
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