Birkie Training Group Winter Session

Course Content:

The focus of the program will be on building ski specific stamina and strength and ski technique refinement, with a view to skiing a successful 31 km or 55 km Birkie. Dryland training will be done until there is 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).  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.

Once on snow, classic ski skills will be reviewed and refined. Sessions will not be cancelled due to inclement weather - rather we will move inside for topics such as waxing, theory re: race preparation, nutrition and hydration, race strategy, strength and core.

One on-trail session at the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area (Blackfoot) is planned as part of the course prior to the Birkie by mutual arrangement among registrants and the Coordinator. The course will conclude with a post-Birkie wrap-up celebration with drinks and pizza provided.

Registration:     Minimum of 6 registrants per training group for the Winter Session to run 

Register here

Bring ski equipment and a headlamp

Dates and Times:

  • 15 sessions total; 14 sessions Sunday evenings from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm.  
  • October 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20, 27; December 4, 11, 18, 2016; January 8, 15, 22, 29; February 5, 2017.
  • 15th session; one weekend on-trail ski session at Blackfoot is planned for later in the course by mutual arrangement with the instructors.
  • Wrap-up celebration: February 19, 2017.
Cost:         NO REFUNDS if the course runs



Gold Bar park shelter (10955 50 St.), unless otherwise notified by the instructor

Blackfoot, Waskehegan 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.