As December arrives, so does the stoke! Are you asking yourself, is it finally my year to learn how to ski or snowboard?
Learning to glide can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never been to a ski hill. As a snowboard and ski coach, I’ve been guiding people into this world for years. Undoubtedly, bringing my one-year-old to Nakiska has been an eye-opener. Recognizing the importance of convenience, I’ve embraced a philosophy that places a premium on ease and continual progress. Through my professional and personal lens, it’s crystal clear that Nakiska is undeniably the go-to ski resort for beginners.
Reason 1: Proximity perfection
Nakiska takes the stress out of the equation with its straightforward location. There’s no need for marathon road trips that amp up the anxiety. We’re talking about #skiclose – Calgary’s closest mountain, putting you on the slopes in no time.
Reason 2: Stress-free parking
We’ve all been there – starting something new can be a bit nerve-wracking. If you need a quick way out, Nakiska has a laid-back approach, so your beginner day is the focus. Parking is right at the base, and everything is easily accessible.
Reason 3: Terrain & Progression
Nakiska keeps it simple for beginners in Kid’s World with magic carpets and conveyor belts, avoiding the challenging T-bars or pulleys, which are especially tough for beginner snowboarders.
Once you’re gliding comfortably and can stop, head over to the bronze chair for a bit more pitch. Both Silver and Olympic chairs open up to longer green runs for your next adventure.
Take your time, consider a lesson, and before you know it, you’ll be setting your sights on the top – gold chair – unlocking access to intermediate and expert terrain. Brace yourself for wider runs, longer stretches, steeper slopes, and, for the adventurous souls, the Monster Glades. Pro tip: Dive into those glades on a fresh powder day for the ultimate tree run experience!
Reason 4: Lessons make all the difference
Learning the right way from the get-go is the best advice I can give you. Have you ever had a well-meaning boyfriend or neighbour promise to teach you, only to leave you stranded at the top?! Let’s avoid that scenario. Lessons teach you the most essential thing – staying in control and stopping. With that knowledge, you can slowly navigate any terrain. Additionally, once you form bad habits, correcting bad habits is really challenging. Learn the fundamentals from an expert for your best start in your new sport.
Even as a seasoned rider, I make it a point to take lessons occasionally for self-improvement. They’re not just about navigating the slopes but building a solid foundation for a lasting love of the sport.
Ready to glide into lessons? Give the winter sports school crew a call, or see them in person inside the administration building. If you’re eyeing a camp, book early – spots go fast, especially at the beginning of the session.
Reason 5: Taking breaks
Need to warm up or cool down from all that learning? There are picnic tables with a front-row view of the kid’s world, a lodge just a snowball throw away, and conveniently located washrooms.
Reason 6: No judgment, just good times
Walk into the lodge, and you’ll feel the buzz. Kids are having a blast, teens are smiling, adults are enjoying a drink, and ski racers are adding to the vibe. Nakiska’s atmosphere is effortless, making each visit a laid-back experience. You might even cross paths with a low-key Olympian – just another day at Nakiska!
Reason 7: Beyond the slopes
Perfect for those not keen on hitting the slopes but still wanting to experience the ski resort vibe, there’s Wanidu Tube Park or snowshoe tours! Opt for the tour, and you still get to ride Olympic chair, offering an awesome experience for those with accessibility concerns. Plus, the views of Mt. Lorette and Mt. Kidd are absolutely stunning!
Reason 8: Ride & Hike combo day
For a unique day, consider doing our favourite monthly ritual: a ride/hike family day! Right next door to Nakiska is home to Troll Falls, a scenic hike boasting three stunning waterfalls – perfect, especially if you’re staying at Kananaskis Village for a weekend and or riding half-days.
Reason 9: Nakiska’s events
Nakiska is a hub of excitement with events like demo days, Burton riglet course, fireside gatherings, heart-pounding ski cross, World Cup action, live music on select weekends and the lively Jeep Summit Squad.
Reason 10: Feels like home
Nakiska’s team turns your experience into a warm, familiar smile with each visit.
Whether Breanne is managing your guest service needs, Shannon is gearing you up for your lesson, or Marsha is greeting you from the lift hut, this mountain community embraces you from the first step. It’s more than just riding; it’s an experience shaped by a dedicated crew that ensures you feel at home from the start.
Reason 11: Reward your efforts
End your amazing day with the perfect combo: hot chocolate and salty fries! And if you’re in the mood for some après-ski fun, head upstairs to the Finish Line Lounge. Grab a cold one, share some laughs about the epic bails, and soak in the camaraderie with your buds.
Happy learnin’ out there, friends!
We’re very proud to continue working with Snowseekers in the #NewSkiAB initiative, supporting new comers to Canada to learn winter sports and enjoy the mountains. This season we hosted Cong, from Vietnam and Peter, from Hong Kong. Follow their journey to falling in love with skiing on the Snowseekers website.
Watch Peter & Cong learn to ski and fall in love with the sport at Nakiska – https://www.snowseekers.ca/story/spring-skiing-nakiska.
New season, new systems!
How to smooth out your first day on the slopes.
Well, here we are!
We’ve made it to another ski season during a pandemic, and while some regulations will stay the same as last season, we are also dealing with a few new ones. Here are some guidelines to help make your first day out in the mountains as smooth as possible for you and your family.
Request your Season Pass or Direct to Lift Card in advance
If you have purchased a season pass, you should have received an email requesting your upload your QR code/proof of immunization online. Please upload your information and request your pass be sent to you as soon as possible. Ensuring your pass gets into our printing queue as soon as possible allows you the best chance of receiving your pass ahead of your first visit. If you have not received your email requesting proof of immunization, please feel free to reach out to our guest services team to request one by emailing [email protected]. If you have requested your pass but have not received it before your first day, you will need to visit the resort Guest Services building to receive a day ticket and show proof of immunization. If you are having problems with our system accepting your Proof of Immunization please refer to our FAQ’s to find out why.
Mind our Know Before you Go updates
While many of our guidelines have stayed the same, a key update this season is the requirement to be fully vaccinated to access our resort lifts and facilities. Please refer to the information above on how to provide this ahead of your visit.
Bring your QR Code on your first few visits
To ensure we have record of your information, we encourage you to have your QR Code and government-issued photo id with you on your first few trips. If you purchase day tickets, you will need to show proof of immunization when picking up your lift tickets each time you visit.
Limit your baggage and prepare for a few lineups
We will not be allowing bags to be stored unattended in our daylodge or common areas. Please ensure you’re leaving any unnecessary baggage in your car or purchase a locker. While requiring proof of immunization should help alleviate some lineups at our lifts and facilities, please note that some people may still choose to stay distanced from others; we ask you to respect the wishes of those around you.
As always, we ask you to be kind to our fellow guests and also our staff. Please realize our front-line staff are working hard to ensure you enjoy your experience and share your passion for the mountains. Let’s all work together to make our mountain experience an enjoyable one.
Instead of skiing and riding in Banff, try Canmore Kananaskis this winter, pull off and let the traffic continue, while others are still behind the wheel, you are strolling the quaint shops of main street, Canmore.
We think you’ll like this new twist, a stay-cation nearby, try Canmore and ski so close, with Nakiska Ski Area just down the road.
Sleep in comfort
Check out Canmore’s latest edition of up-scale lodging options. The full service, Malcolm Hotel, will take care of you – from plush pillows, kitted out rooms, complete with that amazing view of the Three Sisters, signature and stand-out mountains rising above you. After skiing, soak in a deluxe roof-top hot tubs, and enjoy night laps in the pool.
Don’t even bother getting back in your car, stroll down to the shops and dining, main street Canmore is a short walk away.
Did we say groomed runs and more calling
Nakiska Ski Area, long a favourite of Albertan’s, as it is so close, offers not only some of the best groomed runs, but even more, with the addition of the Monster Glades, now the rippers in your cohort, have a place to play too. Nakiska is also the perfect place to learn to ski and ride, so check out the packages that offer ski and ride lessons, rentals and lift ticket, so you can winter better this year.
Make a midweek adventure out of it – learn how to snowshoe, after skiing or snowboarding, try out the local trails, with the Nakiska Ski Area snowshoe tours.
Family fun – Tubing Park
Our Tube Park is fun for all ages, with 3 fun and fast tracks to ride plus a magic carpet that takes your right to the top! With gorgeous views of the Canadian Rockies it’s a great experience for the whole family.
Check out variety of Canmore dining options;
The Table Food & Drink is an upscale local restaurant who’s philosophy is: Quality Ingredients + Traditional Methods + Contemporary Interpretation. Discover a new dining experience in our casual ambiance, punctuated by impeccable service. Plus don’t miss their $5 Happy Hour specials!
Crazy Weed Kitchen is a foodie’s delight! Feeling like a treat? Then put this one on your dinner plans.
Graze Food & Drink promises simple and delicious Canadian Cuisine in the heart of Canmore with welcoming staff and an ‘atmosphere that is good for your soul’.
For more information on activities and things to do check out the Tourism Canmore Kananaskis website.
Don’t forget to do your part to stop the spread. Face coverings are required at Nakiska Ski Area, practice social distancing and reminder if not feeling good, please stay home. For the full list of our guildelines please visit the Nakiska Ski Area COVID information page.
Don’t forget Season Pass holders can ski anytime but if you are coming for the day you must purchase your lift ticket in advance.
Have you ever wanted to head to the mountains for a day of fun in the winter with non-skiers, but unsure of what to do? Look no further than a short drive from Calgary to Nakiska Ski Area for a tubing adventure that will leave everyone in your group grinning from ear to ear.
Our family of five headed to the designated tube run area accessed by a magic carpet (not unlike a moving sidewalk) that whisked us up the hill for an exhilarating ride down. The tube run attendants helped everyone get situated and gave the option of taking a spinning ride down, a group ride, or solo straight shot down the track. We tried it all, and when our ski-crazy six year old asked if we could skip skiing and tube all day, we knew the activity was a hit!
In our ever-increasingly connected society I feel we need to be more mindful of making family memories where screens are not involved. Spinning down the mountain shrieking and laughing with our kids accommodated an experience of just being present with our children. There was no coaching or expectations, just pure fun.
As a parent, I couldn’t help but note how easy it was – no special equipment, just warm clothes and snow boots. Heading out without extra supplies is always noteworthy in my books, especially when it still leaves everyone hooting and hollering.
Children 42” or 3 + years old are able to ride in their own little tube side by side with their parents. When we peaked in at our youngest after her maiden voyage we weren’t sure what she thought as she was completely bundled up and her face was hard to detect. However when we asked if she wanted to go again, her exaggerated head nod let us know all we needed – and then we saw her twinkling eyes and grin.
Even though the opportunity had arisen to enjoy the mountains without packing the car full, we couldn’t possibly go without skis. It felt wrong. Tubing then was just part of our day out and I was thrilled to find out that with the purchase of a regular lift ticket, adults can add on a tubing pass for $15 and children only $5 extra for 2 hours of tubing.
Whether you are a diehard skier or have never seen the mountains in the winter, snow tubing at Nakiska is guaranteed to be an amazing experience. If you don’t believe me, feel free to talk to our six year old – she hasn’t stopped talking about it all week.
Photos & Words by Chelsea Mackenzie Photography
I have always loved strapping on my skis, catching an early lift and taking in a day on the mountain whether the conditions are light and fluffy or spring slush. Any day skiing is a good day. Now as a parent I still feel the same sentiments but even more as I watch our children’s faces light up as they conquer new terrain, pick up a little speed, or are finally released from the harness. It’s amazing – and it’s exhausting. We are constantly trying to balance family time with work, extracurricular activities (not to mention the FUNDRAISING they encompass), and commitment to friends, family and school. Sometimes I just want to cheat on our adventurous side a little and enjoy some relaxation – I now know we don’t have to cheat.
A short 49-minute drive from Calgary, you can do both –3 km down the road from Nakiska Ski Area is the Kananaskis Nordic Spa.
Nakiska is opening 7 days per week starting November 29th giving way to a winter full of skiing fun not too far out of the city. You don’t have to commit to a weekend away to get your family out in the mountains and on the slopes. With 3 high-speed quad chairs, 2 doubles and 2 magic carpets you are guaranteed to be whisked up the hill quickly to get more runs in, even if you aren’t the quickest down. There are ski lessons available for children and adults alike, so the parents can enjoy a few laps top to bottom on their own while the kids sharpen their skills. If those kids are getting into the teen years and the parents need a lesson or two to keep up, those are available too.
After enjoying the slopes with friends or family, there is no reason not to pop over to the spa and unwind. The hydrotherapy access is just as stated on the Kananaskis Nordic Spa’s website, “a modern alpine sanctuary.” Wrapped warmly in a luxurious tartan robe you move between pools, saunas and a steam cabin surrounded by pines dusted in snow. The winter-ready hammocks are strategically placed for you to rest comfortably between cycles, as are the Adirondack chairs gathered about crackling fires. The natural rock and beautiful landscaping leaves you uncertain of where the spa ends and the wild begins. With the delicious Two Tree Bistro mere steps away it is an easy place to spend an afternoon or evening recharging after skiing or snowboarding. (Please note to enter the Spa you must be at least 18 years old).
Offering the perfect marriage between sport and relaxation in the pristine Rocky Mountains a short drive from Calgary, this ski and soak experience will have you questioning only one thing – how many of your friends and family are going to want to come along.
Photos by Robin Laurenson & Chelsea Czibere
Trick? Or Treat? It’s not a trick…..but it certainly is a treat! Here at Nakiska Ski Area we have been lucky to have Mother Nature give us some of the biggest and earliest significant snow storms we’ve ever seen, allowing us to start snowmaking at a roaring pace and to open the resort for skiing/riding the earliest we have ever been able to in our 31 year history!
Be sure to wear your costume! We’ll be open for our first preview weekend of the season on October 26th & 27th, our retail team will be out giving away candy to costume wearers.
To see what’s projected to be open and for more information visit our Snow Report page.
Photo from October 16th, 2019
“Twist. Push AND twist. No. Not like that. REALLY push hard!” The Mary-Poppins-cheerfulness was starting to escape my voice as I encouraged my five year old to put on her ski boots. A maniacal laughter instead was rising up out of me making known that the Mary Poppins voice was just a schtick to try and keep up morale, and keep everyone (parents included) from melting down. Deep down though, I knew if we just kept at it and continued to dress these beloved children of ours layer after layer, soon we would be released from this horrid form of purgatory and be out on the mountain. This is skiing with children.
My husband Nick and I both had a huge love for the outdoors, adventure and sport, and was part of the mutual attraction between us when we started dating. We dreamt of many excursions into the wilderness, and exploring the great Rocky Mountains we called home. Our first child came along at the tail end of 2011, and we embarked on our biggest adventure yet – parenthood.
I’ll never forget a well-meaning Auntie regale to me when disclosing we were expecting a new little life that it meant we would have to grow up. At about that exact moment, I decided (and told Nick, in which he supported me either out of excitement or fear of frustrating his pregnant, hormonal wife) that we in fact were not going to “grow up.” We were going to embrace our children’s childhood as the greatest adventure of all time, and introduce them to an amazing world that would be chalk full of wilderness, adventure and sport.
It is noteworthy, that I had yet to put ski boots on a child.
Or driven for hours on end with a baby.
Before you close this story giving it a quick amen of solidarity, or shudder at the thought of having children, please know we’ve been taking our children out to the mountains skiing for the past 5 years, since our firstborn was two. We have found a pretty great little gem that makes this feat more than palatable, and in fact incredibly fun. Let me introduce you to Nakiska Ski Area.
This resort on the edge of the Rocky Mountains is quick 45 minute drive from Calgary. It makes for a wonderful day trip from the city for locals, or for those flying into Alberta wanting an authentic Rocky Mountain experience that includes downhill skiing – because is it really authentic if you don’t ski?
Snowplows and wildlife naturally add to the iconic Canadian Rockies experience as you drive through the Kananaskis.
The resort itself is charming, with the lodge boasting several fireplaces end to end at which you can warm up, a darling cafe with delicious treats (the monster cookies are a must), and a well-stocked retail shop. The staff was equally delightful, and everyone we encountered from lifties to cleaning staff were extremely friendly. This was tested when a small baby was smashing the aforementioned monster cookies underneath the beautiful wood tables in the lodge – this was not our experience, I’m just relating it for a friend.
Then there is the skiing. Nakiska is known for it’s meticulously maintained runs that lend themselves as a racer’s dream hosting countless international competitions. The runs are confidence inspiring, and beautiful, and our five and seven year old rippers felt like rockstars. The high speed chair not only whisks skiers up quickly to catch more runs, but is a nice bonus-feature for the parent hiking with the baby below waiting for his or her turn to go for a quick ski.
The top was a magical little surprise this week, having received eight inches of fresh snow the night before. It was not only a great day with the kids, but for us parents, we got to ski a powder day – and it was amazing. The fog closed in leaving you in a winter wonderland, with snow-covered trees and every little building looking like a mystical cabin in the woods.
Next time you’re looking for a quick day trip from Calgary don’t discount Nakiska Ski Area. In fact, it should be near the top of your list. And if you go on a Thursday you might just have the place to yourself.
Words & Photos by Chelsea Mackenzie Photo
See more photos of the experience on the original blog post on Chelsea’s website.
As you explore the many options being presented to your family for outdoor winter sport activity, we at the Alberta Alpine Ski Association thought we would take this opportunity to introduce your family to ski racing – a truly family sport.
Alberta Alpine is the governing body for alpine and ski cross racing in Alberta. We are comprised of incredibly dedicated and talented clubs across the entire province, offering ski racing development programs to children in the following age categories: U8, U10, U12, U14, U16, and FIS. Through our club network, we have created life-long skiers, coaches, and even World Cup Champion ski racers.
Alpine ski racing is divided into the following primary disciplines, which athletes will begin to explore as they age through their clubs program offerings:
Slalom is the shortest race featuring the most turns. Competitors aim to complete the technically exciting course, then the course is reset and athletes who qualify for a second run tackle the course once again with those receiving the fastest combined time coming out on top of the podium for the day.
Giant Slalom (GS) is similar to slalom, with fewer gates and slightly larger turns, increasing the speed athletes travel down the course. GS is also a two-run event, where combined times are used to determine the finish rank of the day.
Super Giant Slalom (Super-G) is a speed event that athletes can begin to explore at U14 and older, featuring a longer course than GS, with fewer turns. This discipline is usually introduced in a camp format, where athletes learn speed technique under the direction of highly qualified coaches. Super-G races are one-run events, where the fastest individual times determine the finish rank.
Downhill is the longest and highest-speed event in alpine ski racing. If you’ve watched ski racing on TV, this is likely the event you were watching. Downhill is fast and thrilling to watch, and competitions are targeted to athletes at the high-performance level of the sport. Downhill race winners are often determined by hundredths of seconds, and at the World Cup level, these races can draw fans in the tens of thousands to cheer on the worlds fastest women and men.
Ski Cross is an exciting discipline combining both the skills of alpine ski racing, and freestyle skiing in a fan-favourite event. Athletes learn the sport by gaining an understand of speed development skills using features on the track such as rollers and banked turns. Eventually, athletes compete head-to-head on a track featuring a variety of technical features. Canada, and Alberta specifically, have produced some of the worlds best Ski Cross athletes, including Calgarian Brady Leman, who won gold at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Perhaps the best part of ski racing is the community of passionate families it brings together. Often the entire family participates in one capacity or another, and ‘ski friends’ become lifelong relationships that often far surpass a child’s time in ski racing programs.
Skiing and snowshoeing: two winter activities meant for adventurers of all ages and experience levels. Snowshoeing down serene slopes covered in soft snow is perfect for those craving a quiet winter excursion. On the other hand, skiing is the championed winter adventure. Carving down the slopes and watching the snow flurry up around you presents a different kind of excitement. Here at Nakiska, we believe that winter was meant to gather people outdoors in the beautiful white lands which is why our skiing and snowshoeing is like no other. We are proud of where we call home and are equally excited when our uniqueness is recognized. We are so happy to share our ranking as one of Canada’s Top Signature Winter Experiences of 2018 by Flight Network.
In addition to downhill skiing and snowshoeing, Nakiska also offers tubing during the winter!
Canada’s leading travel agency, Flightnetwork.com found only the best places to help craft a winter itinerary in this beautiful country. The writer found our adventures to be a prime destination for all travelers, and we are glowing with pride for the recognition. Nakiska Ski Resort opens its arms to all visitors who wish to experience the beauty of snow covered Canada. Our slopes and paths for skiing and snowshoeing are looked after with the utmost care, and adventurers just may find themselves falling in love with their surroundings at Nakiska. We hope to welcome new guests to our home in Alberta with this listing.