American-Birkebeiner The American Birkebeiner is North America's largest cross-country ski race.

The former Telemark Resort, established by Tony Wise in 1973, is finally getting close to being redeveloped into a year-round outdoor venue.

The old resort, near Cable, Wisconsin, hasn’t been open for winter activities for 20 years, and the lodge since 2013. A Florida-based hospitality group had planned to reopen the shuttered resort, but plans fell through. It was once one of the top downhill ski resorts in the Midwest.

The town of Cable is now receiving a $250,000 Wisconsin state grant to help redevelop the former Telemark Lodge. The grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was announced through the organization. It will support the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation on the first and second phases of the idle resort. The total project cost for these phases is $2.6 million according to the WEDC.

The first phase was acquiring the property from previous owners, Telemark Properties, and demolishing the old lodge, which took place this past June. The second phase will bring improvements to cross-country and mountain bike trails on the property and build a competition stadium-like arena. No mention of resurrecting downhill skiing.

The Ski Foundation plans on turning the 700-acre property into an outdoor recreation destination, which will greatly benefit the town Cable and enhance northwestern Wisconsin as a Midwest outdoor destination year-round adding miles of ski, biking, and hiking trails. The resort is surrounded by thousands of acres of state and national forest land. The Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) provides a wide variety of mountain bike trails that also brings in thousands of mountain bikers to the area.

The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation puts on the annual cross-country ski race. The Birkie ski race is the crown jewel of North American ski racing and the Telemark property has been at the heart of the race since its inception. It routinely draws thousands of Nordic races to Cable and Hayward, Wisconsin every February.

Telemark Resort in its heyday. (Facebook)