Get outside and enjoy the winter at the 21st annual Barneløpet, a non-competitive ski or walk event for the community’s youngest skiers, ages 3-13. The collaborative Vesterheim Museum and Sons of Norway event will be held at the Decorah Community Prairie, Decorah IA, at 10:00 a.m., with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. Skiers must provide their own skis. Barneløpet is free thanks to the sponsorship of Jon and Mary Hart of Decorah in memory of Kjell Arne Berntsen and three Sons of Norway Lodges—Valdres #503 in Decorah, Iowa, Heimbygda #376 in Lanesboro, Minnesota, and Valheim #364 in Spring Grove, Minnesota.
Barneløpet is open to children of all skill levels and is a great event for the entire family. “When you complete the course, you’ll be awarded a medal and served hot chocolate and homemade cookies as you warm yourself by the fire,” Darlene Fossum-Martin, event organizer, said.
No snow or skis? “Then join in the fun with a walk through the tall prairie grasses,” Fossum-Martin encouraged. If in doubt about weather conditions, listen to local radio stations for cancellations.
Barneløpet, (pronounced BAR-nuh-lop-it) is Norwegian for “kids race” and Sons of Norway lodges all over the country sponsor Barneløpet events. It is modeled after the Barnebirke, a children’s cross-county ski race held each year as a part of the world-famous American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wisconsin.
The Decorah Community Prairie is accessed by car at the south end of Ohio Street, near Aase Haugen Homes. The trail will be in a loop, with the start and finish at the site of the butterfly garden.