Life-long nordic skier Karen Van der Meer and family have been long-time supporters of the Canadian Birkebeiner. For the Van der Meer family, cross country skiing, and the Canadian Birkebeiner, are truly a family affair.
“Our family loves skiing the long distances and everyone has a different goal and strategy” Karen explains. “Some love being in nature a whole day, some are striving for a medal, and some just want a peaceful, silent break from work or parenting! We sometimes ski together, but more often, everyone goes their own pace and skis their own race. Then we laugh and share all the stories afterward of which there are always many!”
Gold Bar Park cross country skiers in Edmonton will recognize the Van der Meer family home as “that yard with all the Birkie flags and bibs” when they ski past it in February each winter. Additionally, the Van der Meer’s basement is a cozy tribute to Nordic culture and the Canadian Birkie, even featuring a print of the two legendary Norweigan Birkebeiner Warriors delivering the infant Prince Haakonsson across two mountain ranges to safety.