Hayward, Wis. (NNCNOW.com) -- The 41st American Birkiebeiner kicked off on Thursday in the wake of an impeding snow storm.
The festivities kicked off with the Barnebirkie kids ski race.
More than 1,000 kids ages 3-13 participated in the kickoff event.
Kids skied a 1K, 3K, or 5K race and no skier went home empty handed.
Each child went home with a victory medal and a ski bib.
After the race, kids played games to test their ski skills from how fast they could go to their agility through an obstacle course.
Others heading to Hayward for the weekend made an effort to get ahead of the snow storm.
The weekend event draws thousands of competitors and spectators from all over the world
"We left early this morning to get here before the storm. We have been watching the forecast all week, and based on the amount of snow are going to get I really wanted to be here before the storm got here," said Randy Lueth, who is from Marshfield Wis.
"We drove up from the Chicago area early to beat the storm and now that we are here, we are just going to go with it as it hits and enjoy the weekend the best we can," said Ray Bauer, who is from Blue Island, Ill.
Many skiers said the warm weather is not ideal skiing conditions, but as temperatures drop going into the weekend, skiers are hoping for a good race on Saturday.
For more information about the Birkie and a list of events, click here
Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.