February 10, 2021 Mountain Living

Community Spaces: Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park

By Rob Mazenc and Faye Baldock

Living in the Bow Valley is so much more than just buying a home.

The Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park (CNCPP) on Spray Lakes Road is just a 10-minute drive or 20-minute walk from downtown Canmore. The CNCPP is a world-class facility famous for hosting the Nordic events for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. It hosts Regional, National and International events. It is also home to Canada’s National Cross-Country and Biathlon teams.

The Trails

With 65 km of Nordic ski trails and 30 km of single track for mountain biking & trail running, there is no shortage of room for your favourite activities at CNCPP. Trails and activities are suited for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts: everyone from beginner to Olympic level athletes use the facility!

During the winter, try Nordic skiing for both classic and skate techniques, fat biking and biathlon. If the weather permits, CNCPP also has ice skating, tobogganing and snowshoeing. Daily grooming and track-setting provide Nordic ski enthusiasts with an extensive network of trails. Trail passes are available at the daylodge, where staff will recommend their favourite trails and provide insider tips based on the day’s conditions. All other activities are free! Even skiing after 5 p.m. is free with a 6.5 km lit loop available.

The central point of the trail system is an open meadow with panoramic mountain views. In winter, the Chandra Crawford Warming Hut is open to the public. With picnic tables, a fireplace and wide pane windows, the warming hut creates an idyllic setting to take a rest, warm up and enjoy the view.

In the summer, try mountain biking, trail running, hiking, orienteering, disc golf and roller skiing. Trails are a mix of double track, old school and new school single track with bumps, jumps, rollers, steeper fall lines, and a skills park. Everyone from experienced racers training for their next Xterra to local kids in mountain bike programs use the trails. Canmore and Area Mountain Bike Association, Canmore Trail Alliance and Friends of Kananaskis are key partners in maintaining and building trails.

Trail Sports

The on-site rental and lesson provider is open year-round! Trail Sports provides equipment and instruction for skiing and mountain biking. In the summer, take advantage of Trail Sports’ guided mountain bike tours! At this time, please reserve rentals online at www.trailsports.com

Remember to ALWAYS carry bear spray! Bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars, deer and elk are a few of the animals regularly seen on the trails. Wildlife safety is essential. Make plenty of noise, recreate in groups, never feed wildlife and report all sightings to the visitor services information desk.

Tip: CNCPP is a complex, interconnected web of trails. Use platforms like Trailforks or Fatmap, or pick up free winter and summer trail maps to plan your adventures.

The Great Indoors

The Daylodge is open daily, and contains a Nordic ski museum including artifacts from the 1988 and subsequent Olympic Winter Games. The visitor services information desk sells ski passes, memberships, facility bookings and responds to visitor questions. Cornerstone Café provides refreshments and food to fuel your activities. There are currently restrictions in place for the numbers of visitors the daylodge can accommodate during this time.

Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park is open 364 days a year, with December 25 being the only official day of closure. For more information and general enquiries (including CNCPP’s response to COVID-19) please call 403-678-2403 or email Canmore.NordicCentre@gov.ab.ca

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