Para-Nordic Skiing

CCC’s mascot, Klister, at the Canadian Birkie Finish Line

Did you know that Para-Nordic athletes participate in the Birkie?

Over the years the Birkie has hosted a number of Para-Nordic participants and athletes in our event, about 2-6 people/year. So if you need inspiration to keep going, keep your eyes open for them!

Para-Nordic skiing is the sport of cross-country skiing and biathlon for participants and athletes with a physical/intellectual impairment

as defined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The IPC defines all Para-sport as being for those with a primary impairment that belongs to one of 10 ‘eligible’ impairment types. Generally this means a physical impairment but athletes with an intellectual disability (ID) are now recognized by the IPC and some Para-sports have begun to integrate ID athletes into competition.

“Para” comes from the Greek meaning (“beside” or “alongside”). The current

Brian McKeever 55 km Birkie Lite 2013 Winner, Olympian,
Paralympian and Canadian Champion

use of the term stems from the Paralympics which refers to being the “parallel” Games to the Olympics. The word Paralympic may have originally been a combination of ‘paraplegic’ and ‘Olympic’, however with the inclusion of many different disability groups and the close association with the Olympic Movement, it now means a parallel Olympics to illustrate how the two movements exist side by side. The IPC does not formally use the term “Para-Nordic”. Canada has adopted the term which means “parallel” Nordic sport to indicate how it exists side by side with able-bodied Nordic sport Cross Country Canada (CCC) supports and promotes Para-Nordic skiing at all levels. See CCC’s programs with Para-Nordic.