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Meeting with new Telemark property owners assures 2014 Birkie race start

Tue, Nov  26, 2013 - By Susan Kendrick

Hayward, Wisconsin (Oct. 23, 2013) - The first meeting between the new owners of the Telemark property in Cable, WI, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF), and other Hayward/Cable area events and parties took place on Tuesday, October 22, at the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce. The Telemark property had been purchased just one week earlier on October 15 for $926,000 by Newco, LLC, a privately held company based in Colorado. Ben Popp, Executive Director of the ABSF, represented the Birkie at the meeting. He reports that the ABSF has been assured by the new owners that the American Birkebeiner, which uses portions of the Telemark property to hold its February ski events, is welcome to proceed as usual for 2014.

“This was a very positive meeting and an open, wonderful conversation with some really good people. While several interests were represented, we especially want Birkie skiers to know that we have the full support of the new owners to proceed with all of our 2014 events on the Telemark property as planned,” said Popp.

The big question for American Birkebeiner skiers related to Telemark has always been how the ongoing and ultimate ownership status of Telemark will affect the Birkie. (The most recent in a string of Telemark Lodge closings took place in March 2013, followed by foreclosure proceedings in April.) Also involved are the ABSF’s Kortelopet and Prince Haakon events, which share the Birkie start and use portions of the ski trail and a finish area that are on Telemark property as well. Along with a verbal agreement for 2014, there was discussion between the ABSF and the new owners about the possibility of the ABSF purchasing a portion of the Telemark property used for the start, to secure that long-term.

The owners stated that they do not have plans to reopen Telemark Lodge. There were proposals from other members of the group to potentially lease the space, but there was nothing conclusive determined at the meeting. For Birkie skiers, the main take-away is that all Birkebeiner events and festivities—at the race start and finish—will go on as usual due to the enthusiastic support and go-ahead from the new owners.

Others who attended this first meeting with the new Telemark owners were James Bolen, Executive Director of the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce; Gary Crandall, Race Director of the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival; Yuriy Gusev, Executive and Athletic Director of the Cross Country Ski Association (CXC); and Ron Bergin, Executive Director of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA).