Due to current Norwegian COVID 19 restrictions, it is with regret that Birken AS has decided to cancel Birkebeinerrennet 2021 for elite and recreational skiers. Visma Ski Classics will with support from Birken organize an elite race in Sweden, Vålådalsrennet, on March 20th as replacement.
The Birkebeinerrennet organizer Birken AS hoped, into the very last, that they would be able to carry out Birkebeinerrennet. But now it is clear that the Norwegian authorities’ restrictions will not make it possible.
“We had a good plan all along to be able to arrange at least the elite part of Birkebeinerrennet. But after the last discussion with the Norwegian Ski Association based on the restrictions we now have in the country, we have to accept that the opportunities to organise a race are gone. At the replacement race in Vålådalen, Birken will decorate the arena and parts of the course. In this way, there will still be a small taste of Birken this year, on Swedish soil, hence the name “Vålådalsrennet” says Birken CEO Eirik Torbjørnsen.
This race will only be open for Visma Ski Classics Pro Team Athletes and national teams elite skiers that meet certain criterias. The event is arranged by Visma Ski Classics in collaboration with Birken. It will be a 54 km long race with a course profile similar to Birkebeinerrennet. Start and finish will be in the south Åre mountains. The course is separated from the Årefjällsloppet tracks, held a week later in the same area.
“We have worked hard to be able to arrange a replacement for Birkebeinerrennet. The choice of Vålådalen as event site was strategic considering that Årefjällsloppet will take place there the week after on 27th of March. This means that the Pro Teams don’t have to make extra travel and can stay as isolated as possible. We are ready to work endlessly in our crew to deliver a tour this difficult winter, but safety will come first.” says Visma Ski Classics CEO David Nilsson.
The fact that there will not be a regular edition of the Birkebeinerrennet means that there will be no opportunity to complete a Grand Slam season XI. More details about Vålådalsrennet and the course profile will be communicated after next Visma Ski Classics event Vasaloppet.