Canadian Birkebeiner SocietyA member of Cross Country Alberta
The Canadian Birkebeiner Society hosts the annual Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival every second Saturday in February. Since 1985, thousands of skiers have relived the legend of the Birchleg warriors, skiing 55 kilometres with a 5.5kg pack, as a symbol of the Norwegian child prince who was brought to safety by the Birchlegs in the winter of 1206. The Canadian Birkebeiner recreates the legend annually at Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, 35 kilometres east of Edmonton. Birkebeiners can ski 55 km (with or without pack categories) or 31km starting at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, a historic site on Highway 16, through Elk Island National Park, to the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. It is a mass-start recreational loppet, and a wilderness "point-to-point" tour through rolling moraine, that can only be skied Birkie Day as the course traverses three different parks. There are also shorter loop distances of 13, 4, and 2.5 km starting and finishing at Waskehegan Staging Area. The Society runs learn to Loppet ski lessons in January to prepare first time, intermediate and advanced skiers for Birkie Day. Ski Trails are set throughout the winter by Provincial Parks staff and Birkebeiner volunteers.Membership registration is not available for Canadian Birkebeiner Society at this time.