Birkie Training Group Winter Session

Course Content:

The focus of the program will be on building ski specific stamina and strength, and refining ski technique. Dryland training will be done until we have snow. Dryland will be directed towards muscle specific ski techniques. Running will not be used, but ski walking and bounding will. Bring poles, preferably ski walking length (about 10 cm shorter than your regular classic length).

Once on snow, classic ski skills will be reviewed and refined. Sessions will not be cancelled due to weather; rather we will move inside for topics such as waxing theory, race preparation, nutrition and hydration, race strategy, and strength and core exercises. By arrangement with the instructor longer ski days out at the Cooking Lake/Blackfoot PRA will be organized to help you learn whilst enjoying the trails and terrain in ‘Birkieland’.

You should have average to excellent fitness, have at least 2 years of cross country skiing experience and be able to ski a minimum of 10 km to register for this course. Bring poles, preferably ski walking length (about 10 cm shorter than your regular classic length).

COVID 19 protocols in effect during all Birkie training classes. Canadian Birkebeiner Society, under the guidance of Nordiq Alberta and Alberta Health Services, take necessary precautions to stop the spread of coronavirus.


2020 session is full. Look for this course next year.

Dates and Times:

15 weeks on Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 10:30 am starting October 24, 2020. Group classes will be dryland or on snow as conditions allow.
October 24, 31, 2020
November 7, 14, 21, 28, Dec. 5, 12, and 19, 2020.
No class on December 23, 2020.
January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, and February 6, 2021.

Minimum 6 to run the course
No refunds if the course is run, including for illness (counting COVID 19)


Lower Gold Bar pavilion (10955 50 Street) unless otherwise notified by the instructor.
Long ski days from 9:00 – 11:30 am at Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, or Strathcona Wilderness Centre Dates and locations of long ski days will be arranged by mutual consent, based on weather and ski conditions.

Lead Instructor and Coordinator:
Roy Merritt. Roy is a CANSI Level 3 instructor, with almost four decades of experience, assisted by Mary Ann Merritt, CANSI Level 2. He’s been a long-time Birkie instructor as well as an Edmonton Nordic Ski Club coach, instructor and wax tech. He’s skied the Birkie many times as well as numerous other loppets and Alberta Cups.

CANSI = Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors

Additional information:
During this course the social distance guidelines of 2 m will be followed.
Students are required to submit a self assessment form to the instructor 24 hrs or less before each lesson.
Availability of restrooms during training will be dependent on City of Edmonton and/or Alberta Health Service directions.