Birkie Training Group Winter Session

Course Content:

The focus of this class will be on developing ski specific fitness and improving technique and efficiency on skis. It will also include current practical info and tips on topics like equipment, waxing, clothing, stretching, hydration and nutrition and race strategies to help you plan and ski your best Birkie yet. Dryland training will be taught until the snow arrives. Find more information about Dryland Training here.

You should have average to excellent fitness, have experience cross-country skiing and not be a complete beginner.

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.


Registration is closed for the season!  Look for us again September 2023!

Dates and Times:

Twelve 1-1/2 hour classes and one 3-4 hour class, Saturday mornings from 9:00 am to 10:30 am starting October 22, 2022

Class Dates:
October 22 and 29, 2022
November 5, 19, and 26, 2022
December 3, 10, and 17, 2022
No class on December 24 or 31, 2022
January 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2023
February 4, 2023
There will be a 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

Mary Ann Merritt is a Level 2 CANSI Instructor and has instructed skiing for the Birkie and ENSC. She has been teaching skiing for 9 years, and teaching adults for over 30 years. Mary Ann has had to learn skiing the hard way – as a cross-country skier for decades, she found out (with a little help from her not-yet husband), that she, in fact, did NOT know how to ski!

Jared Reichert is a Level 3 CANSI Instructor and has been teaching skiing for 9 years.  He has taught the Birkie Learn-to Loppet and for ENSC and is experienced and trained in many outdoor pursuits. Jared is an excellent skier and instructor, and makes learning fun! You will enjoy his classes!

Roy Merritt is a Level 3 CANSI Instructor and has been teaching skiing and CANSI Course Conducting for over 45 years. He has been on the Alberta Ski Team and has a Phys Ed degree in Outdoor Education. He is passionate about cross-country skiing and will be helping out with classes when his work schedule allows.

CANSI = Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors