Hayward expecting dip in Birkebeiner economic impact - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Hayward expecting dip in Birkebeiner economic impact

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HAYWARD, WI -

There have been updates and cancellations almost daily with the American Birkebeiner. 

Without cooler temperatures and much more snow, the ski race may end up a non-competitive ski event or even a run.

According to Chris Ruckdaschel, the director of the Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce, it's been an atypical season.

"When we get snow we're a true winter wonderland," he said.

But unfortunately, for Hayward, that snow came late and left early putting the American Birkebeiner and its economic impact on the city in jeopardy.

"I think seeing the rain in the forecast was probably the most devastating piece," Ruckdaschel said.

With trails barely hanging onto what little snow they have left the race's usual finish on Hayward's Main St. is out of the question and according to the Birkie's executive director Ben Popp, organizers are still determining how much of the ski race is possible.

"[Main St.] is where the international bridge is going up it's where right now a hundred dump trucks of snow should be going down and certainly when you can't have that some of the excitement is taken out."

Right now officials say best case scenario is the race ends here at the trailhead on County Rd. OO, but even for that to happen the snow still needs cover plenty of ground.

That leaves business owners, like Larry Fuller, wondering just what Birkie weekend will look like for them.

"Certainly we're not going to have the same business we'd have with a Main St. finish," he said. "It's usually our biggest day of the year."

As, co-owner of Angler's Bar and Grill, Fuller usually sees spectators flooding the street outside his business as skiers come down the road. He said he's already noticed business is slower than usual for Birkie week but he said the situation could be much worse.

"It can be done for us," he said. "We don't have nearly the problems and logistics that the people organizing this race have."

And while the clear streets and trails may keep the race from hitting the streets of Hayward, organizers hope Birkie events scheduled in town will bring in some of the crowds the community is hoping for.

As for the trails, race organizers said crews were working today to pump water those trails north of County Rd. OO to maintain the ice but they need a good layer of fresh snow to make competitive racing possible.

After race organizers announced they were rescheduling some ski events and canceling other events some participants had to cancel because it no longer worked with their travel plans. 

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