Forerunner #16:
Willie & Marilyn Gorham

Willie and Marilyn GorhamWillie Gorham watched his first Birkie in 1984 and decided to ski his first Korte in 1987, joining one of his college friends in the incurable Birkie Fever. Marilyn initially met this friend in 1986 in the first-aid station at Telemark while he was recovering from hypothermia in his first Birkie race. Needless to say, he didn’t remember meeting Marilyn. While snow was lacking and training was non-existent in 1987, Willie thought he would still ski the Korte. Luckily, fate (or the gods) decided that the car’s power steering belt would fail on the way to the race and the two friends/skiers and their spousal “coaches” hitchhiked back to Cumberland in a milk truck. Needless to say, each Birkie year has presented new challenges and adventures for both the skier (Willie) and his “coach” (Marilyn). Willie achieved Birchlegger in 2018. In reality, both of us have the Fever. We often wonder what we would have done if we didn’t have the Birkie to make our winters speed by. We disappear from the Twin Cities during the months of January and February and many people assume we go “south” during those months. They look with surprise when we explain, “No, we go north to our ‘ski shack’.” Deeper into the snow and cold is where we like it. We are now both retired, Willie from a career in Information Technology and Marilyn from a career in Banking/Financial Services. We are active volunteers in the Birkie and in a variety of organizations including Historicorps which is continuing to restore the Forest Lodge Estate, located near the Garmisch Inn outside Cable. We also serve as host parents for international students at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. We have hosted students from Oman, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Vietnam. Many of these young women have learned to cross country ski and snowshoe with us and some were even Birkie volunteers. They keep us young and have broadened our lives in so many ways.

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