[caption id="attachment_377510" align="alignright" width="255"] Dunsirn racing in Germany, where he skied over a foot of snow in the Alps.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_377509" align="alignright" width="255"] Dunsirn after finishing the 90 km Vasaloppet.[/caption]
Todd Dunsirn, founder and former chief executive officer of Glendale-based software firm True Process Inc., was introduced to the world of competitive cross-country skiing about 10 years ago by a friend. His first race was the American Birkebeiner in Hayward, better known as the “Birkie.” As part of the Worldloppet series of races, the American race is in Wisconsin.
“If you live here, it is something you should see at least once,” Dunsirn said. “Or even better, participate.”
The race is open to novice and professional athletes. Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall skied the Birkie this year. This year was Dunsirn’s seventh Worldloppet. He’s raced in the United States, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany and Italy.
“There are hills where you really get going 30 to 40 miles per hour,” Dunsirn said. “We’ve skied in races where the temperature
is negative 10 degrees and even lower. Skiing 50 kilometers in these conditions is physically and mentally taxing.”
Dunsirn, who sold True Process last year, has turned his hobby into something he can do with his friends and family. His wife and three sons also ski the Birkie. This year, Dunsirn has made it into Wave 1 of the American Birkebeiner, an accomplishment he didn’t think was possible a few years ago.
“Being 47 years old, I don’t think I’ll ever win a race,” Dunsirn said. “But I do place pretty high in the smaller races and have placed in my age group in those. This year my oldest son placed 58th overall, which is incredible.”
Dunsirn plans on skiing his eighth Worldloppet in Iceland this May.
“It’s about setting a goal, pushing myself, training and seeing what I can accomplish,” he said.