Birkie Training Group Winter Session

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Course Content:

The focus of this class will be on developing ski specific fitness and improving technique and efficiency on skis. To help you ski your best Birkie yet, training sessions provides practical information on:

  • Equipment
  • Waxing
  • Clothing
  • Stretching
  • Hydration
  • Nutrition, and
  • Race strategies

Dryland training will be taught until the snow arrives. Find more information about Dryland Training here.

Skiers must have at least an average or better level of fitness. As for experience, this program is NOT for the beginner skier. A minimum of 2 years skiing experience is required to participate. For those new to the sport, less than a year of experience, or novices, local ski clubs offer how to ski programs.

Dryland classes will be held at Goldbar Park in Edmonton. On-snow classes will be held at Strathcona Wilderness Centre and Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area.  An email prior (night before) will communicate the exact location.

A long ski day will be held at Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area with date and location by mutual agreement, based on weather and ski conditions.

Please bring a pair of hiking poles or old classic ski poles preferably ski walking length (about 10 cm shorter than your regular classic length) and a yoga mat.  Wear clothing and footwear suitable for the weather. The first class will meet at Goldbar Park Pavillion.

Other Courses offered include:


Registration, via Zone4, opens 6pm, September 22 and closes midnight October 12, 2023.

Dates and Times:

Fourteen classes with a total of 23.5 hours of instruction. Thirteen 1.5 hour classes and one 3-4 hour class. Classes are typically Saturday mornings from 9:00 am to 10:30 am starting October 14, 2023.

Class Dates:

  • October 14, 21, and 28
  • November 4, 18, 25
  • December 2, 9, 16
  • No classes on November 11, December 23 or 30
  • January 6, 13, 20, and 27 2024
  • February 3, 2023
  • Wrap-up party following the Birkie weekend

Minimum 6 to run the course
No refunds if the course is run, including for illness/COVID


Dryland portion – Goldbar Park; on-snow portion – Strathcona Wilderness Centre and Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area


Murray Aubin – has been a cross country ski coach /instructor since 2014. He enjoys the process of fine tuning ski technique, while having fun along the way! He has seen the sport evolve and grow for over 20 years as an instructor and as a loppet racer. With a CANSI level 2 and NCCP certification, he is keen to help athletes work toward their individual skiing goals, and of course the Birkie!

Rob Chevalier. Rob is a CANSI Level 1 and has been training and assisting with Roy and Mary Ann for the past several years.

Mary Ann Merritt. Mary Ann is a CANSI Level 2 with about 10 years of teaching experience with the Birkie Society and Edmonton Nordic Ski Club.  She and Roy have team-taught many classes. Most importantly, Mary Ann was a terrible skier. Training, excellent instructors, and practice has changed this. Not forgetting how bad she was, she is passionate about helping become good to great skiers!

Roy Merritt. Roy is a CANSI Level 3 instructor, he is in his 50th year of teaching skiing. He is is a long-time Birkie instructor as well as a former Edmonton Nordic Ski Club coach, CANSI Course Conductor, and wax technician. He is skied the Birkie many times as well as numerous other loppets and Alberta Cups. Roy has completed at the national level and as a member of the Alberta Ski Team.

Jared Reichert – Jared is a CANSI Level 3 instructor and is looking forward to returning for another year of ski instruction with the Birkie Society. He got his first ski instructor certification 10 years ago. Over that time he has instructed the Learn to Loppet Program and Birkie Training Group with the Canadian Birkie Society and has provided lessons to beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers through the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club.

All Instructors have First Aid Certifications.

Other Instructors, as needed.

CANSI = Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors