55 km Torskeklubben Birkebeiner with pack

Skiers recreate the legend of the original Birkebeiner skiers by carrying the equivalent of the infant crown prince, a 5.5 kg (12 lb) pack.

Details about the Pack:

If you are unsure if your pack qualifies, either bring your pack to the bib pick up at the Nordic Fair on Friday or arrive early at the starting line on Saturday morning. If you are not carrying the correct pack throughout the full 55 km distance, you run the risk of being disqualified so please ensure your pack meets the minimum weight requirement.

The pack you carry must be one that is worn over the shoulders; fanny packs do not qualify. Most skiers wear day packs and some internal frame packs. The pack (including contents) must weigh a minimum of 5.5 kg or 12 lbs and it will be weighed prior to the start of the event and at the finish line to ensure the minimum weight is met. People use everything from spare clothing and wax kits, to sand and even bird seed to ensure the correct weight of their packs. Many skiers will decorate their packs with stuffed toys to signify the infant crown prince, or just to show off their Birkie spirit. The pack requirement originated in the Norwegian Birkebeiner Loppet where participants were for many years required to carry spare clothing, water, food and other survival items along the mountainous route.

Getting to the Staging Area at Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village 

The staging area for the 55 km is at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village (UCHV), located 50 km east of Edmonton on Highway 16.

When do I start?  
NEW!!!  Wave Starts
This year’s Canadian Birkie will feature three start waves, with a mix of skiers from 55 km and 31 km events. There will be three start waves; 9:00 am, 9:15, and 9:30; based on skier speed instead of event selection.  Please read how to select your wave.

Get to the Start Line

  • Long Start Map

What’s the route?

A point to point course from the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village along the east edge of Elk Island National Park and through the scenic Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area.  It is gently rolling terrain which translates to lots of small ups and downs, and trails winding around beaver ponds and hills.  
  • 55 km Birkebeiner with Pack and Lite course map  (2017)

The finish line for all races is at Waskehegan Staging Area in Cooking Lake/Blackfoot PRA, located just east of Sherwood Park. 

  • Download the Finish Area/ Stadium map
How do I get back to my vehicle after I finish?
A free shuttle bus service for finishers runs from the finish line (in the Stadium) back to vehicles at the Long Start at the UCHV. Runs continuously all day until 5:30 pm.

Spectators, family wanting to pick up finishers
There is no parking at the Waskehegan Staging Area in Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, where the finish lines and stadium are located. Spectators who wish to see the finish of any event can park at the Bethel Transit Station in Sherwood Park (shown here on the Venues Map) and take the Birkie Shuttle to the Finish area. The shuttle take approximately 30 minutes, depending on weather.
There will also be a bus which will run from Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village (UCHV) (Start of Long Courses) to Waskehegan Staging Area (Finish Line, Start of Short Courses) for those who want to see their friend off at the start line and then watch them come across the finish line or ski their own short event. Catch this bus outside the Red Barn at 9:50 am (after the Classical race starts but before the start of the Skate Ski event).