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. Instructors will teach dryland training until the snow arrives. 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 and have a couple of years cross country ski experience. Bring old ski poles or walking poles, preferably ski walking length (about 10 cm shorter than your regular classic length).

COVID 19 protocols may be in effect during all Birkie training classes.  Instructor will email you prior to class with any instructions.


Coming soon.

Dates and Times:

14 weeks on Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 10:30 am starting October 22, 2022.
Class Dates:
October 22 and 29, 2022
November 5, 12, 19 and 26, 2022
Dec. 3, 10, and 17, 2022
No class on December 24 or 31, 2022
January 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2023
February 4, 2023

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


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