Birkie Recap with Madeline Depman

Posted by Madeline Depman on Mar 22nd 2024

Birkie Recap with Madeline Depman

Hello Birkie Friends,

Happy Birkie 50 and congrats to everyone who skied this year! This recap is really late, but I am the mother of a busy toddler so I am going with “better late than never”. I am so impressed with all of the work that the Birkie team did on the event this year. Putting on a race of this caliber requires an immense amount of planning in a normal year but in a year with no snow?! The event was spectacularly run and the spectating was amazing. It was so fun to spectate the pro/elite races. I felt inspired and it was really special to watch those races with my one year old daughter - maybe someday she and I can be in that elite wave together! It was also really great for my family to watch me race, they could see me a few times every lap from one spot!

As far as my own personal skiing and training this year goes, I skied maybe a total of 3 hours leading up to the race which is obviously not ideal. My fitness is in a pretty good spot because I have been consistently training on the bike, but the ski specific muscles were not as ready this year. Most of my time on skis was at a weekly ski lesson working on technique at home in Duluth. The big improvement I had this year was that I finally learned how to V2! (this was my 4th Birkie) I still have a long way to go to improve efficiency and become more coordinated with my poles (I was the one freeskiing a lot), but it felt good to at least have a start on some new techniques. I went into the race with the primary goal of having fun. I expected significant congestion with waves 3-10 all on course at once.

I skied most of the race with a friend and we were really great ski partners, she was a bit faster and braver downhills and I was a bit faster up the hills so we pushed each other and kept a good pace, I think I was smiling for most of the race. The congestion wasn’t as bad as I expected, a bit slower up most of the hills than I would have preferred, but several were icy so it was a good way to keep speed in check and stay upright. The course held up shockingly well for having that many skiers on a 10k loop, conditions were similar from the first lap to the last lap.

Looking back at the data, I skied 1 min faster/kilometer than last year! Even with it being a different course and a shorter race, I am encouraged by that improvement and think it still would have translated to a faster race on the full course!

The Birkie is a fantastic race, it has the best atmosphere and it’s so satisfying to go out and ski hard. I am excited to continue working on technique next year and to keep seeing those improvements. In a few years I plan to be in the elite wave! Fingers crossed for a snowy 24-25 winter, I’ll see you at Birkie #51!

Cheers, Madeline