9 places to cross-country ski in and around Calgary

Jan 12 2022, 11:20 pm

Not up for the adrenaline rush of flying down a mountain but still want to get on a pair of skis this winter? There are plenty of fun spots to cross-country ski in Calgary and near the city.

Whether you’re a novice looking to pick up a new winter sport or are already an expert at this Nordic activity, there’s bound to be a perfect trail for you in YYC.

So step into your bindings, pick up those poles, and get ready to glide across the snow this season. And be sure to dress in layers, because even if it’s chilly outside, you’re likely to warm up fast once you start skiing!

Here are nine of the best places to cross-country ski in and around Calgary.

East Village Nordic Loop

 

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Cross-country ski right in the heart of Calgary at the East Village Nordic Loop, a one-kilometre ski and snowshoe trail on the Fort Calgary lands. The bring-your-own-gear loop is open daily from 7 am to 10 pm (given that there’s enough snow), with the track groomed every Friday. It can be accessed from the Fort Calgary parking lot, at 8th Avenue and 6th Street SE, and from the Elbow River Traverse Bridge.

When: Open daily from 7 am to 10 pm, groomed every Friday
Where: Fort Calgary (750 9th Avenue SE, Calgary)
Cost: Free

South Glenmore Park

 

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While the cross-country ski trails aren’t currently being groomed at South Glenmore Park, this spot is popular enough that there are often tracks left by other skiers, making it fairly easy to use. Accessible from the 90th Avenue SW parking lots, this is a nice, flat location for skiing that offers incredible views of the reservoir.

When: Park is open daily from 5 am to 11 pm; ski trail not currently being groomed
Where: South Glenmore Park (90th Avenue and 24th Street SW, Calgary)
Cost: Free

Lakeview Golf Course

 

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Lakeview Golf Course is home to a groomed ski trail (weather dependent) maintained by Calgary Parks. The track loops through the golf course with some minor ups and downs and offers pretty views of the Glenmore Reservoir and dam.

When: Open daily, weather dependent
Where: Lakeview Golf Course (5840 19th Street SW, Calgary)
Cost: Free

Confederation Golf Course

Confederation Golf Course ski trails are frequently maintained by volunteers from the Foothills Nordic Ski Club, with tracks looping throughout the park and ranging from 0.13 to 2.16 kilometres in length.

When: Parking lot open from 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Thursday and 9 am to 6 pm Friday through Sunday. Gates are always open for walk-ins
Where: Confederation Golf Course (3204 Collingwood Drive NW, Calgary)
Cost: Free

Bowness Park

 

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Calgary Parks maintains the ski trails at Bowness, where you can glide along beside the Bow River. If you’re not tired after your ski session, try out the unique winter sport of ice biking on the frozen lagoon and ice trail at Bowness Park.

When: Park open daily from 5 am to 11 pm
Where: Bowness Park (8900 48th Avenue NW, Calgary)
Cost: Free

Shaganappi Point Golf Course

Cross-country skiing at Shaganappi Point offers iconic views of the downtown Calgary skyline, and you can try skate-skiing and snowshoeing here as well. Trails are groomed at least once a week by volunteers from the Shaganappi Nordic Operations Club.

When: All gates to the Shaganappi Point Golf Course are open 24/7 during winter operations
Where: Shaganappi Point Golf Course (1200 26th Street SW, Calgary)
Cost: Free

Fish Creek Provincial Park

 

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Fish Creek Provincial Park’s cross-country ski areas are open to the public but don’t receive track-setting, so it’s advisable that you know what you’re doing before heading out to make your own trails. As one of the largest urban parks in North America, there are plenty of beautiful spots to ski in Fish Creek.

When: Park open 8 am to 8 pm from October 1 to March 31, and 8 am to 10 pm from April 1 to September 30
Where: Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary (multiple day-use areas)
Cost: Free

West Bragg Creek Provincial Recreation Area

 

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This spot is about a 50-minute drive from downtown Calgary, but it’s worth the trip. With over 66 kilometres of groomed trails and 15 different loops, everyone from beginners to advanced skiers will find suitable terrain at the West Bragg Creek Provincial Recreation Area.

When: Open daily; trails are groomed between November and late March (weather dependent)
Where: West Bragg Creek Provincial Recreation Area (located west of the Bragg Creek townsite, at the end of West Bragg Creek Road)
Cost: A Kananaskis Conservation Pass is required to park your vehicle at provincial parks and public land sites in Kananaskis and the Bow Valley, including the West Bragg Creek Provincial Recreation area. Pick up a day-use pass for $15 or an annual pass for $90.

Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park

If you don’t mind heading a little further out of the city, Canmore Nordic Centre is a classic spot for cross-country skiing in Alberta. Home of the cross-country ski competition during the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, the Nordic centre boasts more than 65 kilometres of groomed and natural trails to test out your skills. This spot also offers a day lodge, where you can pop in to warm up, grab a meal from the cafe, and use the change rooms and showers.

When: Lodge open daily from 9 am to 5:30 pm
Where: Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park (1988 Olympic Way, Canmore)
Cost: Adult day passes are available from the day lodge for $15, or $180 for a regular season pass

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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