In general, classic race times may have decreased somewhat over the past 16 years, while the same cannot be said of the freestyle race. From 2008 on, the classic and freestyle events had separate start waves and a separate trails to OO. So while the distances for the two races were equal to each other up to 2008, in 2008 the classic trail was about 2 km longer, and from 2009 on, about 4 km longer than the freestyle trail.    Finish times, however, in this graph are standardized to a 55k classical race and a 51k freestyle race for all years,   so the convergence of the finish times for the two events probably indicates that after 2008 classic skiers were able to increase their overall pace, especially during the first half of the Birkie, because of less interference with skate skiers. The downward slope of the trend line suggests that the classic finish times have decreased at a rate of 4 min 24 sec/year.  There were several notably slow races, particularly 2001 when 8 inches of new snow fell from midnight until midmorning on race day. In 2002, the classic race was plagued by warm conditions and a badly deteriorated track. In 2014, 18 inches of snow fell in the two days before the race, and the temperature was well below zero at the start.    More Birkie history     Note: Finish times are standardized to a 55k classical race or a 51k freestyle race.

In general, classic race times may have decreased somewhat over the past 16 years, while the same cannot be said of the freestyle race. From 2008 on, the classic and freestyle events had separate start waves and a separate trails to OO. So while the distances for the two races were equal to each other up to 2008, in 2008 the classic trail was about 2 km longer, and from 2009 on, about 4 km longer than the freestyle trail.

Finish times, however, in this graph are standardized to a 55k classical race and a 51k freestyle race for all years, so the convergence of the finish times for the two events probably indicates that after 2008 classic skiers were able to increase their overall pace, especially during the first half of the Birkie, because of less interference with skate skiers. The downward slope of the trend line suggests that the classic finish times have decreased at a rate of 4 min 24 sec/year.

There were several notably slow races, particularly 2001 when 8 inches of new snow fell from midnight until midmorning on race day. In 2002, the classic race was plagued by warm conditions and a badly deteriorated track. In 2014, 18 inches of snow fell in the two days before the race, and the temperature was well below zero at the start. 

More Birkie history

Note: Finish times are standardized to a 55k classical race or a 51k freestyle race.

 There is a steady increase in finish times from the elite wave to wave 7 for both events, with each wave finishing about 27 minutes slower than the one preceding it for classic racers and about 23 minutes slower for freestyle racers.  For waves higher than 7, many racers may be experienced skiers, but they may also be first-time Birkie skiers without finish times from qualifying events that would have placed them in one of the earlier waves.       Note: Finish times are standardized to a 55k classical race or a 51k freestyle race.

There is a steady increase in finish times from the elite wave to wave 7 for both events, with each wave finishing about 27 minutes slower than the one preceding it for classic racers and about 23 minutes slower for freestyle racers.

For waves higher than 7, many racers may be experienced skiers, but they may also be first-time Birkie skiers without finish times from qualifying events that would have placed them in one of the earlier waves.

 

Note: Finish times are standardized to a 55k classical race or a 51k freestyle race.

 For this database, each skier's wave placement was determined by bib number although in a few instances  additional steps  were needed to separate elite racers from wave 1 racers. The Birkie includes several honorary waves for founders, those who have skied 35 Birkies, and those older than 70. These honorary waves were not included in this table.  1997 was the first year when the classic and freestyle racers were distinguished from one another in the results, even though they still had common start waves based on prior finish times regardless of technique. Therefore, there were relatively few classic skiers in the elite and lower number waves until 2008 when the two races had separate starting waves based on separate finish-time criteria, and the new classic trail was first used.   The current (2017) policy for assignment to the elite wave is that the top 200 male and 60 female finishers from the previous year's Birkie freestyle race, and the top 100 male and 40 female finishers from the previous year's classic race are automatically assigned a starting position in the elite waves for the current year. This policy has changed over the years, and it also seems that there have been special situations when notable skiers are allowed into the elite waves without having skied the Birkie in prior years.  The size of the first five waves of the freestyle race have remained relatively constant over the years, although it hard to really determine this since the Kortelopet skiers are excluded from this summary.  It's readily apparent that the classic race has become more popular, especially since 2008.    

For this database, each skier's wave placement was determined by bib number although in a few instances additional steps were needed to separate elite racers from wave 1 racers. The Birkie includes several honorary waves for founders, those who have skied 35 Birkies, and those older than 70. These honorary waves were not included in this table.

1997 was the first year when the classic and freestyle racers were distinguished from one another in the results, even though they still had common start waves based on prior finish times regardless of technique. Therefore, there were relatively few classic skiers in the elite and lower number waves until 2008 when the two races had separate starting waves based on separate finish-time criteria, and the new classic trail was first used. 

The current (2017) policy for assignment to the elite wave is that the top 200 male and 60 female finishers from the previous year's Birkie freestyle race, and the top 100 male and 40 female finishers from the previous year's classic race are automatically assigned a starting position in the elite waves for the current year. This policy has changed over the years, and it also seems that there have been special situations when notable skiers are allowed into the elite waves without having skied the Birkie in prior years.

The size of the first five waves of the freestyle race have remained relatively constant over the years, although it hard to really determine this since the Kortelopet skiers are excluded from this summary.

It's readily apparent that the classic race has become more popular, especially since 2008. 

 

 The proportion of women has increased slightly over the years. Women made up 19% and 22% of the total classic racers in 1999 and 2016 respectively. For the freestyle race, women were 15% and 19% of the total in the two years. The proportion of women totaled over both races has increased from 15% in 1999 to 20% in 2016.  The proportion of classic skiers has increased dramatically over the years, from 4% (35 females and 151 males) in 1999 to 34% (436 females and 1549 males) in 2016. The classic event became more attractive after the new classic trail was established in 2008.    
  
 
  
    
  
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  The increasingly popular classic race has been responsible for the much of the significant growth in total number of Birkie skiers.   ( data table )

The proportion of women has increased slightly over the years. Women made up 19% and 22% of the total classic racers in 1999 and 2016 respectively. For the freestyle race, women were 15% and 19% of the total in the two years. The proportion of women totaled over both races has increased from 15% in 1999 to 20% in 2016.

The proportion of classic skiers has increased dramatically over the years, from 4% (35 females and 151 males) in 1999 to 34% (436 females and 1549 males) in 2016. The classic event became more attractive after the new classic trail was established in 2008.

The increasingly popular classic race has been responsible for the much of the significant growth in total number of Birkie skiers. 

(data table)