The 15th annual Wells Gray Birchleg was held this year at the Candle Creek ski trails in Clearwater on Feb. 3, with approximately 130 Viking warriors showing up to take part in the event, 17 of them from Barriere.
This fun family event included skiing on a variety of trails ranging from a gentle 2.5 km ski to a more strenuous 16 km cross country ski, an authentic Norwegian lunch and great prizes for the best costumes. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the day and young warrior Prince Haakon was rescued and taken to safety once again.
The Birchleg is a fun re-enactment of a cross country ski trip made by two Viking warriors in the 13th Century. King Haakon of Norway was murdered in 1204 during a time of civil war. The King’s infant son was in immediate peril of the same fate. Two Viking warriors, loyal to their dead king and his heir, took the baby to safety in Trondheim. Their flight was in midwinter, skiing 55 kilometers across the mountains. Holding the child secure behind a shield, these warriors were armed with a battle-axe and spears. Young Haakon Haakonson grew to adulthood in safety, and returned to Norway to claim his father’s throne.