Willamette Week’s “Best of Portland 2014″ names Stumptown Birkie the Best Cross-City Ski Race

In WW’s annual “Best of Portland” call out of the weird, the wacky, and the wonderful, the Stumptown Birkebeiner nabbed a prestigious “Best Cross-City Ski Race” trophy. Yes!  True, our competition was thin.  But still.  We’ll find some room for it in the awards case. Thanks, Katherine!

We are now officially the "Best Cross-City Ski Race".  But you knew that.

We are now officially the “Best Cross-City Ski Race”. But you knew that.

Other Oregon gems: The Crater Lake 50

We’re beyond the time of year when skiing in Portland is likely to happen. Spring has sprung, and the warmth is magical. But that just means that things are about to get good in the more normal places to ski – Oregon’s mountains and high country.

Here’s a classic to put on your list: the Crater Lake circumnavigation – with a twist. While many do the 50K loop around the rim road from the south entrance, a more exciting version is possible from the north entrance. It adds an extra 19 miles, for a total of 50 vs. about 32. But the experience is much better. And you get to see some of the best parts of the park, like the Pumice Dessert.

During the winter, the road in from the north entrance (which climbs about 1500′ feet over 9.5 miles to the rim) is groomed for snow machining. But if you catch it on a good day, as I did this past weekend, it’s just like a nordic trail, and there are few snow machines around. Once the melt freeze cycle sets in, which are the conditions you want for a one day skate loop, grooming on the north entrance route doesn’t really matter. Still it’s nice to know you have no chance of getting lost on this section.

Park at the north entrance, ski up the road, go around, and then enjoy the 9 mile downhill back to your car. Two things to watch out for on the loop: slide path below Dutton Cliffs, and a possible hike on the open section of the park road you’ll cross near the south entrance.

If it’s spring and the melt freeze is on, you’ll want to start in the middle of the night to assure a good freeze the whole way, which makes all the difference to your speed. As soon as the sun comes up and the snow softens, you’ll be slogging.

Starting at the north entrance, 9.5 miles in to the rim, around, and back down.  50 miles.

Starting at the north entrance, 9.5 miles in to the rim, around, and back down. 50 miles.


Heading in the north entrance with rim in distance.  The Pumice Desert.

Heading in the north entrance with rim in distance. The Pumice Desert.


Approaching the rim from the north entrance with a fresh groom.

Approaching the rim from the north entrance with a fresh groom.


The missing mountain.

The missing mountain.


At the end of the lollipop, a nine mile downhill awaits.  About 45 minutes when frozen.  Hours if it's soft and wet.

At the end of the lollipop, a nine mile downhill awaits. About 45 minutes when frozen. Hours if it’s soft and wet.


Just another spring weekend at Crater Lake.

Just another spring weekend at Crater Lake.

Join our list and help us prepare for the next one

Join the Stumptown Birkebeiner email list

How do you plan for a future event that may not happen for years – or ever? It sounds a little crazy, bit it is definitely possible. After seeing how successful this year’s Stumptown Birkie was (and BTW, the first time anything at ALL was done to organize or get the word out this go round was the day before it snowed), the wheels started turning. What could be done with a little more advance preparation?

What if we could get permission to groom a section of Leif? Or SW Kingston, which is closed to cars already when it snows. What if we could organize a real cross town race that went all over Portland, or one that looped around the neighborhoods above Wallace Park? As anyone who was out skiing yesterday can attest, you could have had a real ski race in a lot of places in Portland. The possibilities are endless. But advance planning before an actual snowfall is upon us will be necessary.

So if you’d like to be in the loop on Stumptown stuff, or just hear about what’s happening, regardless of whether you want to do more than show up and ski, please join our newly minted list.

Also – that guy you may have seen filming out there? He’s with OPB’s Oregon Field Guide. Sounds like they will be doing a piece on the whole escapade at some point. Join our list and be the first to hear when it’s coming!

Could the streets of NW look like this the next time it snows?

Could the streets of NW look like this the next time it snows?

We’ll see you the next time it snows!

It's over.

It’s over.

Hello everyone! As the snow turns to sleet or rain or whatever it is, I think it might be time to call this year’s edition of the Stumptown Birkebeiner a wrap.

And what a year it was. The turnout was tremendous. Thank you for being a part of it. Nordic culture is clearly out there waiting to happen in Portland. This was the year it caught on. And I think we’re all agreed that this needs to become a regular thing any time it snows.

So add this to your mantra: “Any time it snows enough to ski, meet at Powell’s at 9 AM.”

With any luck, that won’t be another five years. But you never know. And that’s part of why it’s so special when it DOES snow in Portland.

Keep the rock skis at the ready, and sooner than you know it, the city will once be going into lockdown – so that we can ski.

Godt skiføre!

Just say no to these things.

Just say no to these things.

Day 2 comes through | Great snow, big turnout for sprints at Wallace Park

Day 2 of this year’s surprise stealth hit Stumptown Birkebeiner was madness! Sprint ski racing up and down NW Raleigh in perfect conditions with more snow falling? Yes, that is what we had. You couldn’t plan it any better. To top off the bounty, after the race a few of us skied through Washington Park and up Montgomery to the top of Council Crest, where it was officially blowing a gale. Zip back down for some warm drinks at Salt & Straw on NW 23rd. Skiing in Portland does not get any better than this, does it?

Here’s a few pics I got. Post yours to #stumptownbirkie.

They're not Norwegian.  But they had just lived in Norway for a couple years.  So we let 'em in!

They’re not Norwegian. But they had just lived in Norway for a couple years. So we let ‘em in!


Nordic onslaught on North Park blocks.

Nordic onslaught on North Park blocks.


If this is what they mean by "bad weather" - bring it.

If this is what they mean by “bad weather” – bring it.


2014-02-08-birkie-0033
2014-02-08-birkie-0039
Any questions?

Any questions?


Heading up NW Johnson.

Heading up NW Johnson.


Norway in the house.

Norway in the house.


The wave 1 crew lines up.

The wave 1 crew lines up.


Later...  Skate conga line going up SW Montgomery.  Hup!  Hup!

Later… Skate conga line going up SW Montgomery. Hup! Hup!


A shameless plug.  But because they have the word "Stumptown" in their club, we permitted it.

A shameless plug. But because they have the word “Stumptown” in their club, we permitted it.


Are we in Davos or Stumptown?  Ski to the mocha.

Are we in Davos or Stumptown? Ski to the mocha.