This winter sport is booming in popularity in the pandemic
EDMONTON -- Cross country skiing is becoming a popular option for people looking to escape isolation and get outdoors this winter.
Stores are running out of equipment, trails are filling up and lessons are booked solid at places like the St. Albert Nordic Ski Club.
Somerset Farms in Parkland County has transformed its pumpkin patch into seven-and-a-half kilometres of trails this winter.
"Because we're private and we can control the number of people on our land, we can keep the numbers low," owner Kate de Windt told CTV News Edmonton. "We've only been open for one solid weekend but yeah, positive feedback from everybody we've told."
The Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival, planned for February 2021, is already almost sold out.
The annual event will look different this year because of the pandemic. Registration is capped at 640 skiers over four days, almost half of last year's numbers, and participants will be spaced out on two sites with staggered starts.
"We knew it would be very busy," Canadian Birkebeiner Society president Dave Cooper said. "We were more than a month late to start and with the caps, people were waiting."
There is also a Virtual Canadian Birkie where people around the world can participate remotely and upload their results to compete with other skiers around the world.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Adam Cook