Birkie Training Group Winter Session

Course Content:
The focus of the program will be on building ski specific stamina, strength and technique refinement, with the aim of skiing a successful long-course (55 km or 31 km) Birkie. It will also include current practical information and tips on topics like equipment, waxing, clothing, stretching, hydration, nutrition and race strategies to help you plan and ski your best Birkie.

Dryland training will be done until there is sufficient snow; this will be directed towards muscle specific ski techniques. Once on snow, classic ski skills will be reviewed and refined. One on-trail session at the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area (Blackfoot) is planned to allow you to experience the terrain where the Birkie takes place. The course will conclude with a post-Birkie wrap up with food and drink provided.

You should be fit, 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.

Other Benefits:

  • Free admission for Birkie Training Group (BTG) participants to wax clinics (beginner and intermediate) held in January by MEC
  • Discounts for BTG participants off Birkie event registration
    • $15 off 55 km events
    • $10 off 31 km event
    • $5 off 13 km event

Registration:  Minimum of 6 registrants for course to run

  • Look for this great program next season

Dates and Times:

  • 15 sessions total
  • 14 sessions Sunday evenings from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
  • 15th session; on-trail ski session at Blackfoot with date and location by mutual arrangement with instructor, based on weather and ski conditions
  • Wrap-up celebration for Birkie Training Groups (food & drink provided)

Cost:  NO REFUNDS (lessons are not cancelled for inclement weather)

  • TBD

Bring ski equipment and a headlamp and if you have them, poles, preferably ski walking length (about 10 cm shorter than your regular classic length).

Gold Bar park shelter (10955 50 Street) most scheduled days
Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, Waskahegan Staging Area for on-trail ski session

Lead Instructor and Coordinator:
Roy Merritt has a Bachelor of Physical Education degree, has his NCCP 2 certification, is a CANSI Level 3 instructor and has almost four decades of experience. He’s been a long-time Birkie Learn to Loppet 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.
CANSI = Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors
NCCP = National Coaching Certification Program