It will take a quick turnaround, but the Ski Strong Foundation created in the memory of Dave Landgraf will provide entries to the American Birkebeiner and Kortelopet through an essay contest.
Open to youths under 20 from Wisconsin, Minnesota or Michigan, the contest entry requires an essay – 200 words or less – answering the question: “Why is cross country skiing an important part of your life?” The entries are due by Tuesday, Jan. 15, and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of Landgraf’s family will select a male and female winner and award an entry for each race, the Birkebeiner and the Kortelopet.
Cross-country skiing was a huge part of Landgraf’s life. He skied in the very first American Birkebeiner in 1973, and every one after, until he was struck and killed by a car while bicycling outside of Hayward in August 2011.
He carried his passion for sports and the outdoors into his career. Landgraf taught physical education at Bloomer High School, and coached track and cross-country skiing.
In a 2004 interview he described his commitment to Nordic skiing: “It’s changed my whole outlook and lifestyle in the winter months. Now, I ski as much as I can and I try to stay in shape on the off-season.”
Concept2 SkiErg: The fitness equipment company Concept2 also has a couple of Birkebeiner entries available, through a drawing to take place on Jan. 24. Those interested should email email@example.com and describe briefly why they would like to ski this year’s Birkie or Korte—why they should be given one of these two entries.