A young participant enjoys the annual Barnelopet.
A young participant enjoys the annual Barnelopet.

The fourteenth annual Barneløpet, a non-competitive ski or walk event for children ages 3-13 is Saturday, Feb. 2, at 10 a.m., with registration from 9:40 to 10 a.m. at the Decorah Community Prairie.

Barneløpet is open to girls and boys of all skill levels and is a great event for the entire family.

"Everyone's a winner," according to event organizers.

Each registered participant will receive a printed bib for the event and a medal. Sons of Norway groups all over the country sponsor Barneløpet events, modeled after the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race held in Hayward, Wis.

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. After completing the course, participants are welcome to hot chocolate and cookies. Sons of Norway members are providing the cookies.

Along with the main loop for skiing and walking, there will be a shorter loop for younger skiers. Caregivers can walk or ski the course with the children, or may choose to stand along the course and cheer. Sleds are welcome for younger siblings.

In the absence of snow, children will walk the course. If in doubt about weather conditions, listen to local radio stations for cancellations or check vesterheim.org.

The entry fee is $3, and participants must provide their own skis. There are a limited number of children's skis for rent at Decorah Bicycles; call the store to make reservations.

For more information about Barneløpet contact Vesterheim at (563) 382-9681. Barneløpet is sponsored by Sons of Norway Valdres Lodge No. 503 in Decorah, Iowa, Sons of Norway Heimbygda Lodge No. 376 in Lanesboro, Minn., and Sons of Norway Valheim Lodge No. 364 in Spring Grove, Minn., along with Vesterheim.