The Canadian Birkebeiner celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend and at least two of the competitors can say they’ve skied in every one.
George Streefkerk and Klaus Huckfeldt are members of the Red Bib Club, a group whose members have skied the entire 55 kilometres of the race east of Edmonton each year.
"I even postponed my prostate operation for three months so I could do the Birkebeiner," said Huckfeldt, 73.
Streefkerk injured his rotator cuff one year but didn’t let that keep him out of the competition.
"That was just four weeks, five weeks before the Birkie," he said.
"And I was a little worried that I was not gonna ski and I figured I was gonna ski with one arm."
The Birkebeiner race has its roots in a Norwegian legend from 1206. According to the story, two Birkebeiner warriors skied 55 kilometres to rescue an infant prince.
Edmonton Birkebeiner organizer Glenda Hanna says everything is shaping up for a great day of skiing.
"The conditions out there are amazing," Hanna said. "There’s tons of snow, it will be very well-groomed … the forecast — you couldn’t ask for a nicer day."
The Birkebeiner takes place Saturday at Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Park