I’ve tried to teach my child a number of sports on my own and it’s usually ended with tears, frustration, and a severe dislike for the activity on a few occasions. Even when I’ve been moderately successful in teaching the “basics,” I’ve always chosen to call for outside help to reinforce proper technique, build skills, and take my child to the next level.
When it comes to skiing, I know I am far from being an expert. I am an intermediate skier (at best) and still fear wiping out on an easy run while my son passes me and gets to the bottom of the hill without me. Teaching him to ski by myself is therefore not an option I am willing to entertain.
Thankfully, we chose to start off correctly with skiing and we placed our son in lessons from early on. The first lesson was only an hour and a half long but it gave our son a good “first impression” of the sport in a positive supportive environment. The teacher was fun and relaxed, didn’t get angry or show frustration, and kept the pressure light. My child responded well to the lesson and was able to work on the skills he learned with us in the afternoon.
I have many reasons for being a ski school supporter but below are my top five:
- Quality training from a professional instructor. We all know that kids usually learn best when somebody else is the teacher and skiing is no exception. The Nakiska Ski School instructors have years of experience under their belts and are prepared with games, activities, and fun tricks to make your child’s ski experience a fun one.
- Ski School Offers a Relaxed Start to the Day. I find the first hour at a ski resort to be the most stressful. Just getting the family and gear to the day lodge exhausts me and I need a few minutes to sip a coffee and relax before hitting the slopes. Fortunately, I’ve learned that if I put my son in morning lessons, I will get that quiet time to unwind once the lesson starts and I can slowly work at getting my own skis on and making my way on to the hill.
- Ski School Offers Adults Time to Ski on their Own. My husband will tell you that as long as he gets a couple of hours to ski the more advanced runs in the morning, he’s happy to take it easy in the afternoon cruising down the easier terrain with the family. Ski school allows the adults in the family some time to ski on their own or to ski with older children while the younger ones are in their class.
- Nakiska Resort Offers Family Lessons. I took a mountain biking lesson with my son this summer and it was a lot of fun learning new skills together. I can imagine that for a family who is new to skiing, it would be a lot of fun to learn together. Nakiska offers affordable packages for the whole family to take a lesson together with individual tips offered to each member of the family.
- Ski Lessons Can Be Paired with Daycare. For the toddlers and little ones in your family, an hour on the hill might be all they can handle. Nakiska’s daycare program includes a lesson along with indoor and outdoor play time while the rest of the family enjoys their time on the hill. Packages can be purchased for the whole day or for just a half day if you still want to ski with your munchkin in the afternoon for a while or if you have a season’s pass and just want to spend a half day at the hill.
My son has taken a few private lessons now and has tried a resort daycare program as well with nothing but success and happiness. I don’t think there’s been a single tear and we still remember our first instructor’s name. Ski School has contributed greatly towards my child’s enjoyment of skiing and I’m grateful that we’ve chosen to invest in this program.
Follow Tanya’s adventures on her blog.
Words by Tanya Koob
Photos by Tanya Koob & Abbydell Photography
Words & photos by Karen Ung
Ski season has started and it’s not too late to get a Nakiska Season’s Pass! Why Nakiska? The best hill is the one you go to! Since my first visit in ’99, I’ve made lots of turns at Nakiska, and return each year to the promise of great skiing less than an hour’s drive from home. There is terrain for all levels, with fun features such as the NaJibSka Rail Park and Monster Glades, an amazing snow school, and a long season thanks to state of the art snowmaking equipment. Last year, we made the most of our season’s pass (15 visits!), and were surprised at how quickly our kids progressed from bunny hill to blue runs! If you love to ski and want to go often, a Season’s Pass or RCR Rockies Card is the best value for your money.
- Ski Close: Since Nakiska is less than an hour from Calgary, you not only save time and money driving, but on lodging and dining also!
- Ski any time, all season long, for a great rate: Your Season’s Pass pays for itself in only 11 visits (way less if you get the early bird special)! Not sure you will go that many times? Consider the RCR Rockies Card*. For little more than a single lift ticket, you get three free days and discounts at partner ski resorts. *Only available until December 26th
- Flexibility: Whether you like to sleep in or have children that nap, a season’s pass allows you to ski when you want. There’s no need to wait until 12:30 pm for half-day lift tickets! Since our girls are late risers, we head out mid-morning after a big breakfast and ski until the lifts shut down. It’s just the right amount of time for little legs (and by not overdoing it, they’re keen to go back)!
- Terrain for All Levels: Nakiska boasts a large learning area, beginner-friendly green runs, the NaJibSka Rail Park, Monster Glades, and everything in between. While the runs off the Gold Chair are my favorite, now that I have children, I appreciate the beginner terrain. There is an easy way down, so even beginners can take long runs down from the top of the Silver Chair. My daughter quickly advanced to blue runs by the age of 5!
- Super Fast Gold Chair Express: I love the Gold Chair Express so I can wait less and ski more. Tip: Play in the Monster Glades after a big dump of snow!
- Kids 5 & Under Ski Free: For real! Nakiska is the only mountain that offers free skiing to children 5 and under, so if your children are the right age, you only need to purchase adult season’s passes!
- Resort Size: With 71 runs, Nakiska is just the right size. The hill is easy to navigate, with all runs on the same side of the mountain, and there are plenty of fun runs for everyone. Pop in to the mid-mountain lodge or main lodge for a bite. Fun fact: 28% of Nakiska’s runs are advanced!
- No Getting Stuck In The Flats: Nakiska doesn’t have long, flat stretches to get stuck in, so you can ski or ride more!
- Family Friendly: Families will love Nakiska’s onsite daycare, Snow School, great learning area for first timers, and beginner friendly runs from the Bronze Chair. The Bronze Chair is not too fast, so first-timers can safely get the hang of getting on and off.
- Partner Discounts: Your Nakiska Season’s Pass includes discounts at partner resorts, hotels, and businesses. See all member benefits here.
Bonus: Skiing at Nakiska is fun!
See you on the slopes! At Nakiska!
There’s just one week left to save up to 35% on your ski vacation this winter season! Book one of our packages online, chat online with a reservation agent (during business hours) or give us a call at 1-800-258-7669 to book your vacation over the phone with one of our vacation specialists.
Don’t miss out the savings – book now!
There are few things that get skiers and snowboarders as excited as the thought of the first turns of the season! See the regular operating schedule below for Nakiska skiing and riding.
Hours: 9am – 4pm
- Groomed runs in excellent shape with Top to Bottom Skiing and Boarding.
- A wide selection of perfectly groomed and natural terrain runs available.
- Great beginners area on Kids World and the Silver Chair Area
- Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December 2015 – 9:30am – 3:30pm ***depending on business – SILVER CHAIR / OLYMPIC CHAIR / GOLD CHAIR and MAGIC CARPET
Base area Daylodge:
Open 8:00 – 17:00,
Day lodge lower level with food/beverage services from Cafeteria and Slopeside. Retail store, wash-rooms, lockers, coin lockers
Open 08:00 – 16:30, in Administration building, ready to answer any question, print season passes, book programs etc.
Winter Sports School:
Open 08:30 – 16:00, full menu
Open 08:30 – 16:30, renting ski and snowboard gear, offers specials on repairs, waxing and tune ups, early season used equipment sale
Open 08:30 – 16:30, new arrivals and early season discounts on last year’s product available
Open 09:00 – 14:00
Base area Slopeside Cafe, open 08:00 – 16:30, with enhanced menu and usual coffee products, pastry etc, De Luxe sandwiches, “beer on tap” special for Apres ski. Nakiska Cafeteria open at 11:00 for lunch (burgers, fries etc)
Base area Cafeteria, open 10:00 – 16:00 full service
Mid Mountain Lodge, open 10:00 – 16:00, with full menu
Schedule of Opening;
Regular 7 day a week operations begin today Friday, December 4
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
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
While some people might not be very excited by the Farmer’s Almanac prediction of having a ‘harsh and cold’ winter, here at Nakiska Ski Area we’re looking forward to it! The Old Farmer’s Almanac has been published since 1792 and using over 200 years of weather data, makes predictions for the upcoming seasons each year when it’s released on the second Tuesday in September, with this winter being forecasted as colder & snowier.
Jack Burnett, editor of the Farmer’s Almanac appeared on CTV’s Canada AM recently and said we are in for “the T-Rex of winters”. To check out the full predictions visit this CTV article.
Here’s to hoping that prediction holds true, help motivate Mother Nature and start doing your snowdance. Post your snowdance pics & videos using #skiclose and start the anticipation of winter now!
Fernie Alpine Resort & Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in British Columbia have both opened for their summer seasons! Visit Fernie Alpine Resort this summer to experience lift accessed Hiking & Mountain Biking, or try the Aerial Park and a visit to Nature Bob’s Interpretive Centre. At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, climb Terminator’s Peak on the NEW Via Ferrata feature, or enjoy the only Gondola accessed hiking & biking in the region. Have a Nakiska season pass? Give us a call to inquire about your season passholders vacation discount, vacation specialists and standing by to book your summer getaway at 1-800-258-7669!