Address: Fabrikkveien, 2 N-2450 Rena, Norway
Tel: +47 41 772900


First race: 20 March 1932, 60 km, 155 participants

Highest number of participants in main race: 17163 entries in 2014

Worldloppet membership: founding member

The idea of the race was launched in an Oslo newspaper in the autumn of 1930 by Haakon Lie, a Lillehammer author. The main founders of the race were Lars Høgvold and Halvor Kampen from Lillehammer and Agnar Renolen and Peder Olsen from Rena. The first race took place on March 20th 1932, starting from Rena crossing mountains and valleys to finish in Lillehammer.

The underlying idea of the race was to commemorate an historical event from civil war-ridden Norway in January 1206. Two Birkebeiner skiers carried the 18 months old prince Haakon over the mountains and brought him to safety. Skiing in deep snow the staunch warriors wore leggings of birch bark, hence the name Birkebeiner (birch legs). In Norwegian history Haakon Haakonsson is known as a great king. He put an end to the civil war and during his long reign Norway had a heyday in the Middle Ages. The daring rescue of the prince made history and history made a ski race.


Start close to Rena, coordinates: 61°08’45.55’’N; 11°19’43.78’’E

Finish in Birkebeiner Skistadion close to Lillehammer 61°08’03.79’’N; 10°30’28.43’’E

Race centre in Hakans Hall, Lillehammer 

Race office in Rena


About two thirds of the race is over barren mountains. That is why the skiers have to carry a pack containing the necessaries for severe mountain weather (windbreaker, spare gloves, food, drink, wax etc.) Originally the required weight of the pack was 5,5 kilos, which since 1993 has been reduced to a minimum of 3,5 kilos. The original length of the course has also been reduced to 54 km. The course can only be reached by road at three points. Safety measures are therefore of the highest priority. In regard to total climbs Birkebeinerrennet is the most demanding of the Worldloppet races.

Course profile of 54 km CT

 54 km CT profile

NEWS in 2017

-        FredagsBirken ski – own class with free technique
-        StafettBirken (relay)-  start and finish at the same place in Birkebeineren Skistadion, Lillehammer. 15x4 km


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  • Tips for travelling » (if you don't want to travel alone... have look at the IAWLS page)

  • DATES IN 2017/2018:
    10.03.2018Inga Lami *30 kmCT
    11.03.2018HalvBirken28 kmCT
    16.03.2018FredagsBirken CT54 kmCT
    16.03.2018FredagsBirken FT54 kmFT
    17.03.2018Main54 KmCT
    * - For women only

    18.03.2017Sundby and Kowalczyk dominated today's Birkebeinerrennet
    16.03.2017Crown prince Hakon is one of the many stars at the Birkebeinerrennet
    19.03.2016A Marathon Skiing-day as it Should Be at Norway's Birkebeinerrennet


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