American Birkie Mu­seum

Re­ceives $50,000 Do­na­tion

SkiTrax - - Out In Front -

The Tony Wise Mu­seum of the American Birke­beiner in Hay­ward, Wis., opened in Au­gust, has re­ceived a to­tal of $50,000 in do­na­tions from the John­son Bank (John­son Fi­nan­cial Group) and the Sa­muel C. John­son fam­ily.

The American Birke­beiner Mu­seum cel­e­brates the ori­gins of the race in 1973 through lively, sta­teof-the-art ex­hibits, hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties, a three-di­men­sional Birkie Trail model, and much more. Vis­i­tors can even re-en­act the Birke­beiner leg­end by don­ning replica historical cos­tumes in front of a dio­rama of the Nor­we­gian moun­tains.

Now in its 44th year, more than 250,000 par­tic­i­pants have skied in Birkie-week events since 35 skiers massed on the start line in 1973.

“The Lum­ber­jack World Cham­pi­onships (LWC) were also founded by Tony Wise. Events like the LWC and the Birkie have in­creased tourism in the re­gion, putting the com­mu­ni­ties of Hay­ward and Cable on the map,” said Craig Hokan­son, cur­rent re­gional pres­i­dent of John­son Bank.

The Birkie was the vi­sion of Tony Wise, who dis- cov­ered ski­ing dur­ing World War II. He later founded the Tele­mark Ski Area near Cable, Wis. in 1947; by 1973, a cross­coun­try-ski race de­vel­oped in the north woods near there. Wise called the race the American Birke­beiner, pat­terned af­ter the Birke­beiner Ren­net ski race in Nor­way. Wise's vi­sion shaped a community, a sport and brought the world to­gether with the found­ing of the World­lop­pet in 1979, an in­ter­na­tional sports fed­er­a­tion of cross-coun­try ski­ing marathons. Since then, more than 2.6-mil­lion skiers have started World­lop­pet races.

The American Birke­beiner Mu­seum cel­e­brates the ori­gins of the Birkie race, now in its 44th year.

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