Another Birkie-Kortie year under the belt! This year was just as fun, or more, than last year! There were three of us from ICRC: me (KF0DEK), Shane (KD9NJJ), and Rick (KF0RIK). Rick was the new guy, and was set to work with me at the
Gravel Pit checkpoint but, due to a last-minute staffing issue, manned the Hatchery Creek (or “fish farm” or “hatchery river”, depending on the moment) checkpoint himself. He did great, though!
Fortunately, because of the recent snowstorm, course conditions were excellent, and the weather was gorgeous. Pretty cold in the morning, but rapidly warmed up to the lower 20s by the afternoon. Add to that, since Beargrease, I’m a bit better prepared, equipment-wise, and was able to spend the entire two days comfortably outside.
For the uninitiated, the Birkie-Kortie is two days of cross-country ski races. For amateur-radio purposes, our responsibility is to call in drop-outs to race headquarters, as well as other communication backup tasks.
I highly recommend doing this event. Aside from the obvious fun-factor, it builds radio experience (both operational, and coming up with solutions to communication issues).
More at my forum post [here].
A few of us were fortunate to brave the weather and meet for breakfast at People’s this morning.
Pictured are: Rick, John, John, Matt, and Jim. Not pictured is me (Sean), taking the picture.
A good time was (reportedly) had by all. Best of all, we all made it home (or back to work) safely!
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/