A record number of skiers are expected for the 40th anniversary of the American Birkebeiner in northern Wisconsin this weekend.
The Birkie is billed as the largest Nordic ski race in North America. And this year, skiers from 21 countries and 48 states will participate.
Birkie organizers say more than 13,000 will ski the 50-kilometer Birkebeiner Saturday, 23-kilometer Kortelopet and 12-K Prince Haakon. The races attract another 15,000 spectators.
Conditions look pretty good for the races. Snow over the last two weeks has created a solid course between Cable and Hayward. The Journal Sentinel says Matt Liebsch, of Orono, Minn., and Brian Gregg, of Minneapolis, are among the favorites to win the Birkebeiner.