Darn: The Birke cross-country ski marathon is canceled

At least they're still having a party...
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The largest cross-country ski marathon in North America has been canceled.

The 2017 American Birkebeiner, which was supposed to be held in northwestern Wisconsin this weekend, has been canceled, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation announced Friday. The two shorter-distance races – Kortelopet and Prince Haakon – have also been canceled this year.

Organizers say the trail conditions just aren't safe enough for 10,000 skiers to take part in a timed race due to the unseasonably warm weather and rain the area has had recently. The foundation had hope Friday's winter storm would bring enough snow to the area, but that didn't happen.

Here's what the starting line looked like Friday afternoon:

But there will still be a festival at the American Birkebeiner Trailhead. BirkieStock 2017 will feature live music starting at 11:45 a.m., as well as food, beer, shopping, places to test out the newest ski gear, and the chance to ski a 5K loop. For more information on the event, click here.

The American Birkebeiner – known as the Birke – is a 50K race for skaters (55K for classic skiers) that goes from Cable to Hayward in Wisconsin. The event attracts more than 10,000 skiers annually, and is part of the Worldloppet circuit of international ski marathons and the American Ski Marathon series.

In the races' 44-year history, this is only the second time it has been canceled, the Duluth News Tribune says.

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