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

by Cross Country Nova Scotia Staff, April 21, 2020

NS Ski Team Alumni Participates

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.

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 |

The finish! (Photo: Jan Studios |

Did You Know?

· Next Birkie is 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!

Learn more by visiting the Birkie Ski Festival website.


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. Read the full Birkie legend.


Check out the Fantastic Birkie Scene! Be here in 2021.

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