The Nordic Racer Story

Photo Courtesy: Sigge holding the starting gun at Payak Race: Jarusha Brown

Photo Courtesy: Sigge holding the starting gun at Payak Race: Jarusha Brown


It all started when…

The history of our name, stems back to a life-long legacy created by Sigge Bjorkland, who had a vision to develop cross country skiing in Western BC. As  a young man, Sigge immigrated to Vancouver in 1956 from Finland, met his wife Elene, a local gal with Scandinavian roots, and worked in a successful job as an electrician.

With a passion for Cross country skiing since he was a tot, Sigge was disheartened when xc skis were non-existent in Vancouver, so he arranged to have 300-400 pairs imported from Finland, and sold them out of his garage. Friends and neighbours said “For God’s Sake Sigge, open up a store!” thus Sigge’s Sport Villa opened its doors, on West 4th in Vancouver.

Sigge's passion for the sport didn't stop there. He started the first club, the Vancouver Skiers, in 1962, taught classes, co-wrote the first manual for Nordic ski instructor certification, laid out trails, organized trips, and sponsored junior racers. He skied the BC Cup races and earned a spot on the BC Team, and was excited to represent BC at the National Championships.

As competition grew, he started a new club, The Nordic Racers, in the 1980’s, with a a new mission to help promising young skiers to reach their racing potential.

In 2006, Sigge received a Nordic Racers lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the sport. Sigge’s store was taken over by his son  Anders,  and  new  clubs  have  emerged  along  the  entire  sea-to-sky  corridor. Sigge’s legacy lives on as the Payakenstut Race was organized at  the Whistler Olympic Park, commemorating the 2010 Winter Olympics. Though the store was closed recently in 2018, it certainly wasn't for lack of success. We wish to thank  the entire Bjorkland family for planting the seed, and providing ongoing support for individual athletes, coaches and event organizers that developed the sport of xc skiing in South Western BC.