Who did this and why?

Who did this and why?

I am a retired professor of agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, who would have skied the Birkie 30 times by now had it not been for the meltdown of 2017. I'd like to ski the Birkie at least 10 more times, but I'm 67 and nearing the point where every new year is more an act of serendipity than a planned event.

I have always enjoyed working with large datasets, and this comes from my UW years when I was a research geneticist/biostatistician/plant breeder. Most of my work involved field-based research evaluating extensive plant germplasm collections over multiple years and varied environments. I enjoy creating  summaries from large datasets that capture performance potential in meaningful ways. 

Only now, instead of plants, I’ve started to focus on summarizing the performance of thousands of skiers over decades of the Birkie. The challenge is just as great given the tremendous variation in weather conditions, alterations in course/race management, and demographic shifts. I've started to do this in this website, but “started” is the operative word.

All statistics are bare bones at this point, but there is good potential for a more academic undertaking. I would welcome the help of anyone who is qualified to move this effort to higher level.

Painting courtesy of Joe Hoida

Painting courtesy of Joe Hoida

As a last note, I'm obviously enamored of the long tradition of the Birkie, and to make sure the long tradition becomes ever longer, I am now president of the Foundation for the Endowment of the American Birkebeiner.

Please consider a donation to the Birkie Endowment and also include the Birkie in your estate plans!

Jim Coors

skilongtime@gmail.com