What to Expect; a primer for Birkie newbies

Expect friendly, helpful volunteers at refreshment stations during the day. Stations are spaced about 8 to 10 km apart and at the finish line. First aid, medical and evacuation support is available at all stations.  Dress appropriately and bring clothing and wax for changing weather. Pack a water bottle, wind jacket and wind pants, sun screen, extra mitts, and energy treats. You are responsible for ensuring you are physically able to participate in this winter sport. 

For long course events (55, 31  & 29 km), pack a warm, dry change of clothes in a duffel or backpack – you can leave it at the start line and pick it up at the finish line. Remember to include dry socks, toque, and mitts so that you can enjoy the festival tent and finish line after your race is over.

Change rooms are large, warm trailers near the Clothing Tent and Festival Tent.

Expect to wait a bit in line-ups. Give yourself more time to get to the start line in the morning than you think.  Everyone is trying to park, get skis waxed, line up for the porta-potties, get packs weighed, and clothing bags organized all at the same time.

Expect hot coffee/hot chocolate and snacks at the Red Barn before the 55, 31 and 29 km starts, and at the Festival Tent before Ole’s Tour and the 13 km Mini Birkie.

Expect good ski tracks (weather depending) – our great parks staff use the Birkie Society's  BR180 snow groomer when the base is deep enough.  Staff and volunteers use alpine snowmobiles and track-setting equipment in low snow years and early in the season.

Expect Gatorade, water, fruit, cookies and other treats at all stations.  If you have allergies or special dietary needs, please ensure you bring suitable nourishment. 

Expect a big warm Festival Tent at the finish line “Stadium” with lots of warm drinks, soup (including a vegan option) and hot dogs (including a gluten-free option). 

Expect to have fun with family and friends

Expect an efficient bus shuttle system to get you back to your vehicle after you finish

Expect to sleep like a baby after a great day of skiing.

View photos and slide shows here to get an idea of what happens at a typical Birkie event.