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Madshus skis are mad good for the Birkie

Madshus skis Birkie

Madshus skis would be the ski for me for this year’s Birkie

Picking up Madshus skis

When I picked up a pair of Madshus skis at the American Birkebeiner expo, I almost threw them in the air they were so light. You know that feeling when you anticipate something heavy and you brace to pick it up only to find it is much lighter than expected? That is how I felt when I first handled the skis.

They felt this way for good reason.  Madshus nanosonic skis are the second lightest cross-country ski on the market. The first is also made by Madshus. Madshus is located in the Nordic skiing homeland of Norway, and they have been around since 1906. The name of the company is pronounced like matches, except the us is enunciated instead of an “e” sound at the end. They produce all of their skis in Norway with the finest materials available.

Madshus skis Birkie expo

Picking up my bib and a pair of Madshus skis at the Birkie expo

I could not wait to try them on, and I did not have long to wait. Less than 24 hours later I was at the start of my third Birkie with the Madshus skis, shoes, and poles ready to go. I really wanted to beat my time of the previous year of 5:34 minutes, but with over 15 inches of fresh snow on the ground from a blizzard that struck two days before, I knew this was not going to be easy.

2014 Birkie start

Beautiful but cold start to the 2014 Birkie

Last year, I borrowed a pair of Fischers skis. They were fantastic and had great glide thanks to the fantastic work of Devils Track Nordic  in Grand Marais, Minnesota who hot waxed my skis a couple of days prior. I did not get a good kick wax going as I did this myself, and it was my first time using wax, so it was no surprise that it did not go well.

Ben from Madshus skis told me via email that they would make sure the skis were waxed prior to the race. It did not take long to find out that they did a tremendous job on both the kick and the glide.

Birkie waxing

Trying to get my wax on at last yea’r Birkie

Wax on/wax off

For those unfamiliar with waxing, there are two important techniques. A glide wax is applied by a hot iron and helps keep your glide going downhill. A kick wax is applied to the are just under your feet and grips  the snow and gives you momentum especially going uphill and on flat surfaces. If done right, but techniques save a lot of manual effort and help you go faster and save you much needed stamina for the 54 kilometer Birkie Race.  

I had never skied with a good kick wax. It was great how I could climb uphill sections with less effort. There were times where I was neck and neck with another competitor who was grinding away at the uphill sections while I nonchalantly kicked uphill with half the effort.

Madshus skis

Madshus skis and boots on the Birkie Trail

The Birkebeiner race

The Madshus skis also had a great glide that was equal to the Fischer skis from the year before. I made up a lot of ground on other skiers who on downhill sections were ahead of me by continuing my glide longer after they stopped and began kicking.

It was an interesting experience racing with two different kinds of skis over the last two years. I definitely give the nod to Madshus although the Fischer skis were great too. The Madshus are a little more expensive, but they are quality and worth it.

I finished with a time of 5:34, which was 3 minutes slower than last year. Even though I had a faster time on Fischer skis, I think when you weigh the variables; my performance from this year validates the Madshus skis.  


A lot of snow led to a beautiful forest, but tough skiing

Bad racing conditions

Everyone stated that the conditions were the worst for fast skiing that they had seen in a long while. I had breakfast the next morning with a Worldloppet Master skier Andy Johnsen who had just completed his 35th Birkie, and he said the conditions were the toughest he had seen. If anyone would know, it would be him.

Also, I was in better skiing shape last year. I got off to a slow start conditioning wise this year after December/January trips to Asia and Florida. Last year I did more running too, so I had better stamina last year.

Bottom line is Madshus Skis rock

The bottom line though is that Madshus skis are a pair I would recommend to anyone. I also was provided with a pair of boots and poles, and I was equally impressed with the performance of both. The poles were extremely light and the shoes were quite comfortable.

Post Birkie pose

Post Birkie with the Madshus skis

Madshus graciously lent me a pair of skis, boots, and poles for this year’s Birkie, which I returned the next day at the Sunday expo. Their generosity, which was great appreciated, did not impact my thoughts on this post. I am sold on Madshus, and I highly recommend if you are looking for a top quality ski that you give them a shot.


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12 Responses to Madshus skis are mad good for the Birkie

  1. Erik March 9, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    Great job today! Looks like the skis served you well!
    Erik recently posted..“That is So Amsterdam” Photo Essay

    • Ted Nelson March 16, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

      They sure did. Fantastic skis. I want a pair permanently.

  2. Francesca March 10, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    I truly enjoy cross-country skiing but don’t get to do it often. I definitely don’t see a Birkie in my future but next time I have the chance to go, I know what kind of skis to look for.
    Francesca recently posted..Zip lining with Lake Geneva Canopy Tours and Outdoor Adventure Center

    • Ted Nelson March 16, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

      I definitely would recommend this company. They come from Norway, the homeland of Nordic skiing.

  3. Leigh March 10, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    I have yet to do a Birkie and wonder about my ability to ski the distance. Maybe with super light skis I really could shave a lot of time off. Mine are over 20 years old and very heavy – and that’s my excuse for being a slower skier.
    Leigh recently posted..Sunday Photos: Road Trip in Northern Argentina

    • Ted Nelson March 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      My skis are the same. They were the pair my dad bought me in high school. They have served me well, but they are unfit for racing.

  4. Erin at The World Wanderer March 13, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    These skis look pretty awesome. I have no idea what skis I used since I rented, but maybe one day I’ll get to try these ones out. I love hearing your stories about the Birkie.
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..A Recipe for Irish Soda Bread.

    • Ted Nelson March 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

      These skis are like the Porsche or Ferrari of the ski world. Even if you are not a ski racer or a serious Nordic skier, they are fun to try out. They are incredibly light.

  5. lola March 14, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    agree with Erin. was going to say the same thing. love all your ski stories!! i’d love to try this someday with you Ted but i fear i’d suck at it 😉
    lola recently posted..The Great Escape – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

    • Ted Nelson March 16, 2014 at 6:15 pm #


      Everyone has to learn somewhere and sometime. It is a great sport for fun and exercise. This is why I love it so much because most activities that are good for you aerobically or work out wise are not always fun.

  6. Joel Siegfried February 18, 2016 at 3:02 am #

    What an excellent adventure. I can almost smell the crisp Minnesota winter air and hear the slicing zing sound of skis on snow. Beautiful account. Thanks for lifting my spirits. Cheers, Joel

    • Traveling Ted February 18, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

      Unfortunately, it will not be very crisp this year. Highs are forecasted in the lower 40s. It may not be so bad though as it least it will not be freezing like my race last year. I hope all is well!

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