Report from Team Birkie Master, Greg Bernhardt. Pic below
“Today I witnessed one of the most amazing individual
performances I have ever seen!
Unknown to me Matt crashed within 50m of the start landing
him at the bottom of a pile of 20 – 30 skiers. Matt broke
his pole and damaged a ski (lost his hat and Casco’s as
well). I was waiting on the first hill but didn’t see Matt
in the first 10 places, not in the first 20, the field was
almost by me and I turned to look uphill to see if I could
see him and I heard Matt call my name. By the time I saw him
he was passed me and Caitlin Gregg handed him a pole — but
the wrong one. At this point Matt was near the back of the
group, maybe 80th out of 97 starters!
I caught Matt at the next climb and gave him his left pole.
Matt had made progress and was trailing off the large group
of leaders. The pressure was on at the front, there was an
intermediate sprint on the 2nd lap. Matt was working his way
through the field. I saw him at 3 points each lap. Skiers
were starting to drift back, but Matt was making his way up
through the field, alway just off the back of the lead group
who were really pushing the pace.
After the sprint the pace seemed to slow, but Matt kept up
the hurt and not only latched onto the lead group but pushed
toward the front… with more and more leaders getting
With a 1/2 lap to go Matt was 2 – 3 sec behind 1st place
with 3rd in the distance behind. At the top of the last hill
Matt took the lead!!! He entered the stadium first and in an
amazing finishing spring he was just pipped at the line –
finishing 2nd by less than 0.1 sec.
The effort and determination Matt displayed today was
incredible. After the race as I listened to him talking with
others it was clear why he nearly won. He never discussed
the possibility of loosing, only of how he could ski his own
race… with the possibility of a top finishing result.
Congratulations Matt!!! That was an amazing effort and