American Birkbeiner 2024 updated 2/22

Nathan Schultz

Update 2/22 11AM

We have reports that the glide and kick recommendations are working well on the Birkie course. The forecast is moving slightly colder friday night so here are adjustments and notes:

  1. All waves: The Hard Base Layer and structure are going to be important for everyone for dirt repulsion and durability. While we are going to get wild temperature fluctuations, the good news is that the manmade snow will likely not change as much as you might think, so conditions will likely be fairly consistent until late afternoon. And, with so many people skiing this loop in the next few days, we could be wrong...
  2. Birkie Skate Waves 1-2 Saturday, Classic Elite/Wave 1 and Korteloppet Classic: We recommend sticking with the Red/Medium recommendations below and skipping the Yellows/Warm waxes.
  3. Birkie Skate Waves 3+ Saturday, Classic Waves 2+ Sunday, and Korteloppet Skate: Move to the yellow side of the recommendation with hand structure being key as well.
  4. For classic recommendations - morning starters and colder forecast move toward more KM3/Universal/Guru Extreme 39 in the mix. For afternoon starters and warmer/wetter conditions, move toward more KR3/Rossa/Black Spezial/Guru Red in the mixture.

Event Details

The American Birkebeiner is a fluor-free wax event. 2024 is an odd year with shortened/revised courses due to lack of snow. Event website.

Find Rode & Holmenkol waxes in the Twin Cities at Gear West, Pioneer Midwest and Finn Sisu.

Wax Service & Testing

Boulder Nordic Sport is waxing skis out of the Boulder and Portland shops. We will not have anyone on-site waxing, but we will be testing on-site. We can turn race skis around in 24-48 hours at the shop.

We are hosting our Thursday night wax clinic at the Boulder shop at 6:15.

Weather Forecast

Click here for the latest weather forecast for Cable from NOAA
Click here for latest weather forecast from NOAA - Hayward

Hourly Forecast

Thursday Sunny, with a high near 48. West wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Thursday Night A slight chance of snow before 2am, then a chance of snow after 4am. Increasing clouds, with a low around 17. West wind around 10 mph becoming north after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Friday A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before 8am. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a steady temperature around 20. North wind around 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Friday Night Clear, with a low around 6. North wind around 5 mph becoming south after midnight.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 39. Breezy, with a south wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Wax Recommendation

This is a forecast-based recommendation. We will have testing on site and will update this recommendation.

Base Glide Layer

Rode Graphite R100G or Holmenkol Syntec FF 21

Application: Iron in at recommended iron temp, let cool, scrape, brush with fine steel or bronze/brass brush.

Race Paraffin Layer

Skate Wave 1 & 2: Rode R30 Violet mixed with Rode Endurance 1:1 -or- Holmenkol Syntec FF Red

Afternoon Waves & Classic: Rode R40 Red mix Rode Endurance 1:1 -or- Holmenkol Syntec FF Red

Lower-price option: Holmenkol BetaMix Red or Rode R30 Violet

Application: Iron in at recommended iron temperature, let cool (10-15min), scrape with a plastic scraper, brush with fine steel or bronze/brass, then polish with nylon or horsehair brush.


Fluor-free powder will help with durability, speed and dirt repulsion. It is probably not worth it for shorter races.

Holmenkol FF Red Powder or late waves: Holmenkol FF Yellow Powder

Application: (apply powder over race paraffin, before topcoat)

  1. Sprinkle powder on liberally to coat the base.
  2. Iron in at recommended iron temperature.
  3. Let cool. 10-15 minutes should be adequate.
  4. Scrape powder off, then brush with stiff nylon, followed by horsehair.

View a video on powder application (video is for fluoro powders, but the application is the same for fluor-free powders)


Skate Waves 1 & 2: Rode Racing Liquid (RL) Med -or- Holmenkol FF1 Red Liquid

Later Waves & Classic: Rode Racing Liquid Xtra Warm -or- Holmenkol FF1 Yellow Liquid

lower-price Holmenkol option: Holmenkol FF2 Liquid Red or Yellow

Note: It is easy and preferable to test liquids the day of the race. The snow will be hard and mostly old, manmade snow.

Application: Apply liquid on brushed ski, allow to dry, polish with a roto wool, roto fleece, or felt brush/cork. The liquid layer should be the final wax layer (over paraffin layer or powder layer).


Structure will likely be a critically important part of the race with old snow, high temps, and thousands of skiers on course. Choose a medium to warm grind.

  • Skate Grinds: S2.2, S4.3
  • Classic Grinds: C2.2, C4.2

Hand Structure:  Holmenkol cross-structure tool with two rollers. One pass for Skate Waves 1 & 2, two hard passes for other waves.


Kick Wax

Start with an ironed-in base layer of Rode Chola Klister applied very thin. Let cool to tacky/hard.

Klister Options:

  • Rode T-Line KM3 mixed with KR3 1:1. Add more KR3 to address more moisture.
  • Rode Multigrade mixed with Rossa 1:1. Add more Rossa to address moisture.
  • Holmenkol Black Spezial Klister
  • Guru Red Klister mixed with Guru Extreme 39 Klister 2:1

If forecast temps move colder, applying a thin cover of Guru Hallgeir Extreme (grip wax, not klister) may be a good option for speed and dirt repulsion.



    We will update this recommendation as we get test results.

    Race/Application Notes

    In addition to speed, we need to fight dirt and moisture in this year's Birkie. Durability and dirt repulsion are going to be key and that is why glide waxes start with hard base layers and have hard waxes (Rode Endurance) mixed in with the race waxes. This will help repel dirt and keep the skis running the entire race.

    If you can wax two pairs of skis, it would be smart to go with a warm and really warm option.