AUBURN, N.H. — February 20, 2012 — Fischer Sports, the world’s leading cross country ski manufacturer, today announced it is sponsoring six-time Norwegian Olympic medalist Vegard Ulvang’s participation at the 39th American Birkebeiner. Ulvang, who raced on Fischer skis throughout his exceptionally successful career, will serve as Research Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at the Birkie to support fundraising for the organization. Skiers will have the opportunity to meet and ski with Ulvang throughout the three-day event taking place in Hayward, Wis., February 23-25.
“From his race-winning legacy to his leading role today with the International Ski Federation’s cross-country committee, Vegard brings a wealth of experience and passion to Birkie participants and the public alike,” said Peter Ashley, vice president of the Fischer Sports U.S. Nordic Division. “We are excited to support Vegard’s special participation and fundraising efforts at North America’s most popular cross country skiing event.”
Ulvang will be available to skiers and the public through numerous appearances. Highlights include a Fischer poster signing event at the Birkie Expo on Friday, Feb. 24, from 10-11 a.m.; the Birkie Torch Lighting; the Worldloppet breakfast; an appearance at New Moon Ski & Bike; and the Birkie 50K skate race. Ulvang will also host a live presentation titled, “800 Miles to the South Pole … on Skis,” during which he will provide a first-hand account of his recent expedition celebrating the centennial of Amundson’s South Pole expedition in 1911. A complete listing of Ulvang’s appearances is available online at http://www.birkie.com/page/show/457128-vegard-ulvang-calendar-of-appearances.
The Birkie’s popular Ski for the Cure pin will once again be available for $20 at the expo and online at www.wisMS.org. Those wearing the pin on their Birkebeiner or Kortelopet race bib when crossing the finish line will be eligible to win randomly selected prizes, including a pair of Fischer skis autographed by Ulvang.
Vegard Ulvang has a long history of winning on Fischer skis, including three Olympic gold medals at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, as well as silver and bronze medals at the 1988 and 1994 games. He won the Holmenkollen 50K in 1989, 1991 and 1992, and the World Cup in 1990. Since 2006, Ulvang has served as executive director of the International Ski Federation’s cross-country committee.
The Birkie is North America’s largest cross country ski marathon, with more than 11,000 participants across its events. This year’s fundraising will once again be led by Skiers for Cures in support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Last year the program raised more than $62,000 for the same organization, bringing the total three-year Skiers for Cures donation to the cause to more than $220,000.