Each season, Nakiska makes upgrades and improvements to the snowmaking system to ensure it’s the most cutting edge it can be. Nakiska Ski Area is where to go for guaranteed snow. A great resort to learn the sport of skiing and snowboarding with wide-open runs groomed to perfection. We Provide the Best Vacation and Recreational Experience Possible.
“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.
November 6, 2018 – Kananaskis, AB – with Mother Nature providing us with some cooler temperatures over the last week, we’ve been able to work hard at our snowmaking and will open with early season conditions at 12:30 pm on Friday, November 9th! Operations will continue this Saturday & Sunday, we will remain open weekends throughout November until our 7-day official opening on November 30th.
‘Continued enhancement to one of Canada’s largest snowmaking system makes Nakiska the place for early ski turns in Canada’, says Matt Mosteller, Senior VP of Marketing & Resort Experience at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. ‘Given Nakiska’s location, Calgary’s closest mountain, you can work in the morning and make first turns in the afternoon this Friday! Skiing and Snowboarding is a sport that everyone can do in winter – why not make winter better this year and give skiing and snowboarding a try’, added Mosteller.
For more updates (to come) on conditions, hours, ticket prices & services available check our RCR App, Snow Report or Webcams.
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.
Nakiska Ski Area on Mountain Improvements for the Upcoming Ski Season
Kananaskis, AB – Nakiska Ski Area, home of the Alpine Events at the ’88 Calgary Olympic Games has been undergoing many improvements, upgrades and changes over the past few season, this one is no exception with some exciting changes and program updates. A few highlights include;
VIP Parking Option
Get down with the VIP life, Nakiska now has a Priority Parking Lot, the closest lot to the base area. Access to the lot is granted by purchasing a VIP Parking Pass!
Up your park game with Park Lessons Master NaJibSka! Book a rail park lesson next season with our Nakiska Winter Sports School to improve your bag of tricks with our knowledgeable instructors that will work on your style, flow and confidence on all features in our park.
Take it to the next level withPerformance Private Lessons What’s the goal of our new performance private lessons? That’s up to you! Catering to what you want to learn, take these new lessons next season to improve your skills on carving, all mountain freestyle, freeskiing/riding, glades, moguls and bumps. Contact our Nakiska Winter Sports School for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW Easy Way Down
Always working to improve our guest experience, this summer we added a new easier way down off Silver chair, eliminating the top pitch of Grand Trunk which proved difficult for some riders. Fun fact – the new trail was created using a mulcher which did the whole job in about 15 hours, now that is one hard working piece of machinery!