Canadian Birkie: A Great, Historic, Feel-Good Event

April 21, 2020 – Nova Scotia provincial team alumni, Lilla Roy, shares her experiences from the 2020 Canadian Birkie Ski Festival – held at Elk Island National Park in Alberta, this past February.

Special thank-you to Jan Studios,, for permission to post two photos as below. Much appreciated!

The finish! (Photo: Jan Studios |

Legend, Moose & Impeccable Conditions

I did the Birkie 31km (the official Birkie is 55km). Fantastic day. Warmed up to -6 or so, a bit of sun, impeccable conditions, firm tracks, a classic prairie ski through the rolling terrain of Elk Island National Park… I even saw a moose watching us!

Such as great, historic, “feel good” event – I always feel so connected to the history and culture of skiing. Racing is just a part of it – skiing is much older and bigger than that. We are fortunate to be part of a sport that has legend, maturity, and lifelong capacity.

Skiing the 31 km event. (Photo: Jan Studios |

Birkie Facts

(Photos: Canadian Birkie website)

  • February 12 – 14, 2021
  • 3 day celebration of cross country skiing and Nordic Legends
  • One of only 3 Birkebeiners in the world – Norway & USA host other 2
  • Races from 500m – 55km, all ages and abilities
  • Formed in 1985
  • Birkie continues the tradition of honouring perseverance, courage and fortitude – as well as lots of Nordic Fun for the whole family!



Birkebeiner Warriors an illustrated depiction of saving the infant prince. (Photo: Canadian Birkebeiner website)

The Birkie is founded upon the historic rescue of an infant Norwegian prince, by two Birkebeiner Warriors in 1206, who carried him 55 km while skiing to safety. The Birkie includes a 55 km race where participants carry a 5.5 kg pack, to symbolize the infant prince.

Birkie legend (full story)

Call for NS Ski Stories

Do you have a Nova Scotia cross-country skiing story to share? Tales of friendships, perhaps mishaps, family ski traditions, good ‘ol Nova Scotian can-do attitudes, humour, or memorable moments?

Telling the greater history of cross-country skiing in Nova Scotia through your experiences.