Stumptown Birkebeiner Alert | Could Portland’s urban ski race take place this weekend?

It doesn’t happen often. But when it does, look out. Snow in downtown Portland means traffic paralysis, closed schools, and general end times panic.

But it also means great skiing. Or at least it used to – until Sam Adams bought a bunch of snow plows.

Over the years, snow and ice in Portland have periodically paralyzed a city that is not equipped for the white stuff. With an almost complete absence of plowing and sanding trucks 15 years ago, this was good news for those who looked on snow not as a “problem” but as a gift and cause for celebration – sledders and skiers mainly.

If you’ve been around a while you’ll remember the January 98 ice storm, the January 2004 ice storm, and of course the December 2008 snowpocalypse, when you could ski down Burnside and even over the Fremont Bridge.

The 2004 ice storm was the one that caused the city to finally invest in some hardware, and starting in 2008, subsequent snow and ice emergencies no longer mean days of pristine white snow to slide on. The sanding trucks now get out fairly fast to utterly ruin the skiing on main streets. But the side streets are still good for days.

Meanwhile, when skiing in downtown Portland IS possible, the nordic peoples assemble for an impromptu urban ski race. Are you ready for the Stumptown Birkebeiner?

Time to strap on the boards and monitor the Twitter and Al Gore-waves to find out if and when it’s happening.

Spread the word: #stumptownbirkie

The Stumptown Birkebeiner is poised, Brigadoon-like, just waiting for snow.
The Stumptown Birkebeiner is poised, Brigadoon-like, just waiting for snow.