Try This: Nordic Skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre

This is the view you’ll get, so why wouldn’t you give it a try?

Photograph by Karin Olafson

Canmore Nordic Centre, 1988 Olympic Way, Canmore

If you’re a hiker, you’ll recognize this area. You’ll have driven past the Nordic Centre to get to the Grassi Lakes and Ha Ling Peak trailheads. If you’re not a hiker and aren’t familiar with the area, know that it can be somewhat easy to miss the exit and drive back into town so pay close attention.

The centre’s day lodge is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

If you’re renting gear, the on-site rental store Trail Sports is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In the winter, there’s a trail use fee. The adult day pass costs $15 per person and you’ll buy it from the day lodge. Gear rental costs extra.

What it’s all about:

It’s true: Nordic skiing is a workout, but with views like the ones you get at the Canmore Nordic Centre, it won’t feel like too much work. And, if you like mountain views and are up for exploring (at least part of) 65 kilometres of trail, make a point to visit the Canmore Nordic Centre to try Nordic skiing or fat biking.

If you’ve never tried cross-country skiing before, start out by renting classic skis from Trail Sports – the whole package, which includes skis, boots and poles, will cost you $30 for a full day. This kind of skiing is somewhat similar to running and a little easier to pick up if you’re a Nordic newbie. The activity is suitable for the whole family and for all fitness levels.

If you’ve mastered classic skiing and are looking for more of a challenge, rent skate skis. This type of cross-country skiing uses a technique that’s far more similar to skating than running. And it’ll take practice. This ski package will cost you $35 for a full day.

If you’re not the kind of person that picks up new sports quickly, that’s okay. Trail Sports offers group lessons every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. for both kinds of skiing. Involvement in the group lesson costs an extra $45. Private lessons are also available.

The trails vary in difficulty, but whatever your ability, you’ll be able to make it to the meadow in the middle of the trail system. You’ll be rewarded with incredible mountain views and there’s a hut right there where you can have a snack and warm up.

If skiing is really not your thing, try renting a fat bike from Trail Sports costs $55 for the whole day.

Make a note:

Every so often, events are held at the Canmore Nordic Centre that might affect trail usage. Check the Canmore Nordic Centre website ahead of time to determine whether a big event, like the XC Ski Nationals, is running on the same day that you want to try out the trails.

(Even if an event is taking place, consider heading out. The events are free for spectators and you’ll see some quality competition. And, maybe you’ll even be inspired to get serious about a new winter sport.)

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