EDMONTON- Low snow and icy trails have forced the cancellation of the upcoming Canadian Birkebeiner near Edmonton.
The event showcasing the best in Canadian cross-country skiing was supposed to run February 12 and 13th in Strathcona County.
A point-to-point course from the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village along the east edge of Elk Island National Park and through the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area was planned for the event.
“There’s just not enough snow to be able to run a safe and enjoyable event,” said Glenda Hanna, General Manager of the Canadian Birkebeiner “There’s just nothing we have to work with and we’re at a position where we can’t run a safe event, it’s too icy. We don’t want people to get hurt or damage their skis.”
A notice was posted on the Canadian Birkebeiner website Saturday afternoon informing skiers, volunteers and other supporters that all races at the 2016 Birkebeiner Ski Festival on Saturday, February 13, 2016 had been cancelled.
The notice states: “The Board is acting on the advice of its Loppet Committee, responsible for planning and operating the race events. Due to recent mild weather, many trails along the traditional Birkie route through the Cooking Lake – Blackfoot Provincial Recreational Area have insufficient snow or are too icy. Efforts to develop alternative routes and to rehabilitate deteriorating portions of the trails have not been sufficiently successful to ensure a safe and enjoyable Birkie experience for skiers.”
The notice also states the Board will determine which, if any, Birkie Festival events, such as the Vikings’ Feast, will proceed.
Participants have been directed to continue checking the website for updates.