This February, I was fortunate enough to participate with a few Ham operators providing communication support for the Kortie/Birkie ski races. More specifically, as it was my first time, I opted to only go up on Friday and help out. I was up there with Shane (KD9NJJ), who originally notified our group of the event, but we were in two different checkpoints.
There were reportedly 3000 skiers for this, the first race of the two. Apparently, skiers come from all over the world to participate in this set of races (probably favoring the one Saturday, which is twice as long). This one is 26km. There are 3 stops (mine was the first) separating the race into 6km segments (with one segment being 8km). At each stop, racers could grab a water (or energy drink) from a volunteer holding out cups, or they could stop and get a snack (fruit, cookies), do equipment maintenance, and/or just take a break.
Some racers would decide that 6km was the extent of what they wanted to race, and quit at that point. That’s where the amateur operators would come in: We would write down the racer’s “bib” number, and the reason they were calling it a day (fatigue, medical, or equipment). We would radio back to “net control” these reports, usually in batches, so that the race officials back at the finish line had a good idea of who was no longer going to be coming across the finish.
This was an excellent “first-timer” event to learn and practice radio skills in an applicable environment. It was a lot of fun, the weather was perfect (10° and clear). I’m planning to go for both Friday and Saturday races next year.
2022 Birkie/Kortie Race – Gravel Pit CheckpointRace site: https://www.birkie.com/ski/events/kortelopet/