Birkie Training Group Winter Session

Course Content:

The focus of the program will be on building ski specific stamina, strength and technique refinement, with the aim of skiing a successful long-course (55 km or 31 km) Birkie. Dryland training will be done until there is sufficient snow; this will be directed towards muscle specific ski techniques. Running will not be used, but ski walking and bounding will. Once on snow, classic ski skills will be reviewed and refined. Ski-skating will be touched upon – mostly dependant upon snow conditions.  Separate skating equipment is not necessary. One on-trail session at the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area (Blackfoot) is planned as part of the course prior to the Birkie by mutual arrangement among registrants and the Coordinator. The course will conclude with a post-Birkie wrap up celebration with drinks and pizza provided.

You should be fit, have at least 2 years of cross country skiing experience and be able to ski a minimum of 10 km to register for this course. Sessions will not be cancelled due to inclement weather – rather we may move inside for topics such as waxing, nutrition, hydration and race preparation.

Other Benefits!:

  • Free admission for Birkie Training Group (BTG) participants to wax clinics (beginner and intermediate) held in January by MEC
  • Discounts for BTG participants off Birkie event registration
    • $15 off 55 km events
    • $10 off 31 km event
    • $5 off 13 km event

Registration:     Minimum of 6 registrants per training group for the Winter Session to run

  • Registration will re-open next season

Dates and Times:

  • 15 sessions total; 14 sessions Sunday evenings from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
  • October 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20, 27; December 4, 11, 18, 2016; January 8, 15, 22, 29; February 5, 2017.
  • 15th session; one weekend on-trail ski session at Blackfoot is planned for later in the course by mutual arrangement with the instructors.
  • Wrap-up celebration: February 19, 2017.

NO REFUNDS (if the course runs)

  • $275


Bring poles, preferably ski walking length (about 10 cm shorter than your regular classic length). Also bring ski equipment and a headlamp.


Gold Bar park shelter (10955 50 St.), unless otherwise notified by the instructor

Blackfoot, Waskehegan Staging Area for on-trail ski session

Lead Instructor and Coordinator:

Roy Merritt has a Bachelor of Physical Education degree, has his NCCP 2 certification, is a CANSI Level 3 instructor and has almost four decades of experience. He’s been a long-time Birkie Learn to Loppet 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.