We got to try Nakiska’s brand new Tube Park while we were at the resort before Christmas. First impression, I honestly thought it looked like a miniature toboggan hill. It didn’t look like much and it wasn’t very big. I’d never tried tubing at a resort before so I guess I had built it up in my mind to be something much larger. I quickly changed my opinion after the first ride down though. It was the most fun I’ve had on a sled or tube – EVER. And it didn’t hurt!
I’m not generally a big fan of sledding because honestly, this body is just too old to handle all the bumps and jarring anymore. Tubing at Nakiska on the other hand was completely gentle, smooth, groomed, and adult-friendly! I’d go back again any day!
Location, location, location. A mantra for real estate agents and brokers everywhere, but also a great (unofficial) slogan for Nakiska Ski Area as location is perhaps one of Nakiska’s greatest assets.
Nakiska Ski Area is located in Kananaskis Country, Alberta – being a unique ski resort it’s not located in a stereotypical Canadian Ski town, in fact it’s not even located nearby one, it is however still in one of the best locations a ski hill could be in. Nakiska is the closest mountain to the dynamic city of Calgary and also within close driving distance to Canmore, Alberta’s outdoor adventure centre, as well as Banff and Lake Louise – both destinations sought out by travelers from around the entire world.
You might be wondering some things about Nakiska. For example – Why is Nakiska located where it is? Why was it built? What the heck is up with the name anyways?
Now, to tackle these questions one at a time. Nearly all of these questions can be answered by looking in Nakiska’s somewhat brief, yet rich history.
Nakiska was built from the ground up for the 1988 Calgary Olympic Games’ Alpine Events, being the closest ‘real’ mountain location to Calgary it was the most convenient and sensible option. (1988 Olympic games’ fun fact – it broke a record at it’s time for having 57 nations competing)! Since it was built to host the world’s best alpine athletes, it is home to Olympic sized groomed runs and also a state of the art snowmaking system, still continually upgrade for increased improvement every year. With such a great snowmaking system built in from the very beginning Nakiska’s time it ensures great snow coverage throughout the season and is often the first ski resort in Canada to open and close to the last to close.
Okay, what is up with that name? Alberta is the home to the Cree First Nations tribe. Nakiska: (Na-kiss-ka) is a Cree word which means ‘to meet’, chosen to respect the people of the region and to designate the ski resort in its birth year as the host of the 1988 Olympic Games. Do you wonder where some of the name of Nakiska runs came from? Check it out on the About Nakiska section on our website.
These days, Nakiska is Calgary’s Closest Mountain and a family favourite, especially with the recent addition of a Tube Park to the base area of the resort. Being driving distance to Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise only add to its vacation appeal and contribute to its great location.
If it’s your first time to Nakiska this winter, read about one family’s experience and get some helpful tips on “Family friendly guide to skiing/snowboarding at Nakiska, Calgary’s Closest Mountain”.
Words by Cali Sammel
Photos by Nakiska, Abbydell Photography and Cali Sammel
We like white on green here at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies; lots and lots of snow on our mountains and all over the trees on those mountains too. Because if you’ve never come rocketing through the glades, ripping up and down the natural moguls with powder hitting you in your grinning face until you blast back onto the trail, you really haven’t lived. And we kind of want to keep that around for a while, for future skiers and riders, for our kids, and for our kids’ kids too.
That’s why we decided to take a stand and be the first ski resort company to refuse printing a brochure this year, to do what we can to lessen our environmental footprint. On top of that, we’ll plant a whole tree for every email sign-up to our online newsletter. We hope this helps reiterate to consumers everywhere, that taking paper maybe isn’t the answer any more, especially if you can find that information online anyways.
So, help do your part and keep the Trees for Glades! Sign your email up on our Trees for Glades website and read our full story (plus enter our contest for the chance to win a spring event ski trip for you and 3 friends)!
Success So Far:
- 75,000 pieces of paper saved by this initiative alone
- So far: 3000+ trees planted – thanks to you!
Photo courtesy of Trees for the Future Facebook.
New York City-based OutdoorFest is expanding their popular Mappy Hour program internationally to Calgary this October! A Happy Hour night with a twist, it offers a chance to meet fellow skiers, backpackers, kayakers, climbers and adventure buddies and to plan adventure packed trips with a like-minded outdoor community. Launching this new event series in New York City in 2014 and Washington, D.C in early 2015, Calgary is a perfect next event location – being close to so many outdoor activity options it draws enthusiasts from all over to settle into city/mountain life.
With some already having fallen in the mountains, the backcountry skiing and fitness theme for October’s Mappy Hour comes at a fitting time, there’s enough time to get in shape before our tentative opening date on November 7th!
Who should attend?
Anyone who loves to hike, kayak, ski, surf, climb, and generally explore the great outdoors!
Free, just bring some guidebooks, maps, or interesting stories to share
For location and to RSVP visit the Mappy Hour website.
New York, NY (September 21, 2015) – New York City-based OutdoorFest is expanding their popular Mappy Hour program internationally to Calgary this October. The monthly community building event, known as “the happy hour for outdoor enthusiasts,” successfully launched in New York City in early 2014 and Washington D.C. in January 2015. Past event hosts have included REI, Hostelling International, and Fjallraven North America, with featured sponsorships from Yelp, Sixpoint Brewery, and Mountain Hardwear. OutdoorFest has identified Calgary as a key urban area with a large population of outdoor enthusiasts looking to connect with a community of adventurers.
“Calgary has such an incredible backyard that many come to visit from afar” says Matt Mosteller, social media influencer and head of Mappy Hour Calgary. He hopes that through Mappy Hour locals can “catch that wanderlust… stay close by and get outdoors!”
Just in time for the winter season, the theme for this first Mappy Hour in Calgary is backcountry skiing and the fitness needed to get outdoors. Calgary’s outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to join the launch event on October 29th 2015 at the Village Brewery. Mappy Hour promises to be a night to meet fellow skiers, backpackers, kayakers, climbers and adventure buddies and plan adventure packed trips with a like-minded outdoor community.
Details of the event include:
Who: Anyone who loves to hike, kayak, ski, surf, climb, and generally explore the great outdoors
What: A happy hour with a twist to bring together the local outdoor community
Theme: Backcountry skiing & fitness
When: October 29, 7:00PM to 9:00PM
Where: 5000 12a St SE, Calgary
Cost: Free, just bring some guidebooks, maps, or interesting stories to share
For more information and to RSVP please see the Facebook Event.
For more information, please contact:
Twitter – @PowderMatt
Powder Matt’s Blog
Powder Matt on Pinterest
Powder Matt on Google +
Mappy Hour by OutdoorFest
Our tentative weekend opening date for the 2015/2016 season will be Saturday November 7th, with full opening tentatively on December 4th. With a few snowstorms already having hit Kananaskis, hopefully it’s a foreshadow of a great winter!
Alpine Canada recently sat down with Jan Hudec for a candid interview discussing his biggest fear, favourite music, his long standing nickname, what he enjoys in the off season and much more. Jan is an accomplished skier, with a long career earning many accomplishments including being the first Canadian in 20 years to win an alpine Olympic medal in 2014 in the Super G in Sochi and being the first ever Canadian to win the Lake Louise World Cup Downhill in 2009.
Coming to Calgary on October 21st is Mountain Film on Tour! Started in Telluride – Fernie, Kimberley, Kicking Horse, Nakiska, Kokanee and X92.9 have partnered with The Gateway at SAIT to bring Calgarians the opportunity to be inspired, educated and entertained with films exploring cultures, our environment and adventure. Doors Open at 6pm, Films start at 7pm!
“We are stoked to not only share our passion for skiing and snowboarding but hopefully to inspire adventure in others. Just like our guests inspire us with their amazing experiences in the mountain at Fernie, Kicking Horse, Kimberley and Nakiska.” says Matt Mosteller, VP of Marketing and Resort Experience at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.
Buy your tickets from Ticketmaster now!
PLEASE NOTE: Event is 18+ valid ID is required.
Words & Photos by Tanya Koob
I remember our first family downhill ski trip in great clarity because I had been extremely apprehensive of the whole sport as a “family experience.” My husband and I had done a lot of resort skiing back in the “good old days” before kids but had been nervous to try it with a child in tow. We were both envisioning the worst when we thought of taking a small child to a busy ski resort for a day, of having to find parking and get all of our gear to the day lodge, and of having to find space in a crowded lodge for our family to eat and rest. Add other fears such as having to get out of the house early in the morning to reach the hill in time to find parking, dealing with a cranky child who’s missed his afternoon nap, and having to deal with a tot who may or may not appreciate the long car ride out to the hill (and back) – and you can see why I was just a teensy bit apprehensive of the whole experience.
All I can say in a quick response to the above fears is thank god for Nakiska! One half day at Nakiska and all of my fears were relieved. We had a fabulous first day downhill skiing as a family and my son would now consider it to be his favourite winter sport.
Tips for a Relaxed Morning at the Hill
We tried to pack for our ski day the night before to save time in the morning. When we got up, we just had to have a quick breakfast and jump in the car. Other things we did to save time were booking our son’s ski lesson in advance rather than just showing up at the hill to register him, and buying him his own gear rather than renting at the hill. If planning to rent, allow for at least an extra half hour at the hill before you will be able to start skiing. (Something to keep in mind if you have lessons booked first thing in the morning.)
We arrived at the hill with plenty of time to find a good parking spot, to find our way to the day lodge, pick up our lift tickets, and to make our way to the meeting spot for lessons. We quickly discovered that registering our son in a lesson for first thing in the morning was the smartest thing we could have done as beginners to family downhill skiing. We only had to worry about getting one person dressed and set to go rather than getting all three of us ready at the same time.
As soon as our son was in his lesson, I distinctly remember grabbing a coffee and thinking about how relaxed the whole process had been. Because of the lesson, my husband got to ski on his own all morning and was able to do a bunch of his favourite runs rather than spending the morning on the bunny hill. Meanwhile, I spent a relaxed morning with my coffee near the day lodge and kept close tabs on the lesson process.
Lunch without the Crowds
We headed in for an early lunch after the lesson and discovered another secret to success: Eat early to avoid crowds! We had left a duffle bag with our personal belongings and lunch under a table in the day lodge and had no problem finding it when we went inside. We easily found space to eat, and had an enjoyable time in the non-crowded dining area.
Family Bonding at the Hill
We’ve gotten into a habit where we try to take advantage of children’s lessons in the morning whenever possible and then we spend the afternoon skiing together as a family. We can now bomb down the blue runs together with our 6 year old who’s become quite the proficient skier but on our first day at Nakiska, we enjoyed the bunny hill together and took a few spins down in the tube park. The Tube Park was a great add-on to our ski day and allowed some rest time from skiing. We had a snack in the lodge mid-afternoon and then left the hill early to avoid congested roads on the drive home.
- Bring a sled to haul gear into the lodge with or load your gear (and youngest tots) into a Chariot stroller
- Go as a group and alternate child care duties with friends or go with another couple and take turns with the men doing bunny hill/day lodge duty while the women ski, and vice versa.
- Bring a grandparent or family member along who is content to hang out in the lodge with babies or young tots not old enough to ski yet
We’re making some exciting ‘behind the scene’ upgrades over the summer to our snowmaking system including rerouting & cooling!
Step one of our new snowmaking pump house is to reroute the existing pipe. Pictures show us putting the new pipe together, ready for trench and back filling. Once done the new pump house will allow us to make snow in one continuous trail from the top of the gold chair to the day lodge.
The photo on the right is of our new closed loop cooling system for the snowmaking compressors, prior to this the compressors were cooled using water, eliminating this saves 800 gallons per minute. That water is now available to go up the hill for snow production and is no longer dumped back into the river.
Did you know?
Depending on the time of year the system can produce between 1 and 2 feet of snow over an acre in an hour. In terms of football fields, (the north American variety and including the end zones), we can cover one of them in between an hour and a half and 45 minutes!
Read more about our Commitment to the Environment.