Long Start and Course Details

Long Start Wave Adjustments

If you are skiing the 31 or 55 km events starting at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, you have signed up for a wave: Wave 1 at 9 a.m.; Wave 2 at 9:15 a.m.; and Wave 3 at 9:30. a.m.. Due to COVID-19 we are now spacing the lanes at the start 2 metres apart. This will only be at the start and for a short distance on the lake. This means we will have fewer lanes and less starting grid space for each wave.

Given that the starting grid now cannot  accommodate a full wave, we will informally split each wave. For example, Wave 1 skiers will line up until the grid is full and we will ask the remaining Wave 1 skiers to wait outside the grid at the back. We will send off the first batch at 9 and ask that the remaining ‘Wave Ones’ immediately move forward to fill the grid  … and we will send you on your way as soon as you are settled – likely at 9:05 ….and so on.

The same with every wave so the first skiers in each wave head off at the original times. As you know, your time starts when you cross the START line so there is no advantage or disadvantage to anyone in the context of a long event.

We ask that you still self-seed within your wave, so if you are a top skier in Wave 1, best to ensure you are lined up in good time at the front of your wave and if you are a bit slower – allow the faster skiers to move ahead of you.

Another Covid gift but we are determined to offer an event and make it as safe as possible. We wish to retain the traditional Birkie mass or semi mass start experience for everyone. Listen to the announcers as they ask you to move forward and have a wonderful ski.

Check out the course maps and program here

Long Course Profile Description for 31 km and 55 km events

Starting at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, the 31 and 55 km routes rise some 60 m before finishing at the Waskahegan Staging area in Cooking Lake Blackfoot. The Blackfoot trails are through knob and kettle post glacial terrain and the rise isn’t noticeable as it is spread out with ups and downs as opposed to a large hill or long steady climb.

There are some sections that are quite flat but most of the 31 and 55 routes are up and down through reasonably gentle hills. There are occasional steeper hills that – depending on your abilities – may require some herringboning or snowplowing. There is the odd hill, particularly on the 55 route, that can be tricky due to a curve part way down or at the bottom. If we feel it is not an obvious challenge or is more than might be expected – we install CAUTION SIGNS. Depending on conditions you can certainly build up a fair speed on some of the hills …but there is nothing of the 100 metre long variety as at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Ski as the conditions dictate and keep your eyes up!

The 55 has three hillier and more challenging sections. All are separate from the 31. We think you’ll enjoy them.

  • The first is an additional loop branching off at Elk Push Station 1 and doing 5 km through the Islet Lake area. It is quite hilly and several hills have challenging curves particularly on a fast day. Use some caution and you will be fine. This is a pretty section;
  • The second is for 3 km along the fenceline immediately after Elk Push 2 … some straightforward steep hills;
  • The third is from the Wanisan Station back to Elk Push 3 along Wanisan, Siksika and Porcupine trails – a very beautiful stretch with smaller rolling hills and several ‘interesting’ steeper ones (up and down) that will test your technical skills…..particularly as your legs may be getting a bit tired. You’ll be fine with a bit of prudence.

The 31 has nothing that a reasonably skilled recreational skier can’t easily negotiate. The 55 is purposefully a bit more challenging through sections where it is separate from the 31 … though again nothing that can’t be negotiated by a reasonably skilled  skier  ( though with a bit more prudence in spots).

Check out the course maps and program here