The Canmore Nordic Centre is actually an Alberta Provincial Park – did you know that? The legacy facility from the 1988 Winter Olympic Games is a busy hive of activity year round. In the summer it’s hikers, runners, and cyclists. In the winter it’s skiers, snowshoers, and cyclists.
Yes, winter cycling is becoming a thing and when I headed off to the Canmore Nordic Centre for a day out with my son, we had hoped to do some fat tire biking.
Fat tire bikes have treads spanning near 4 inches across, about twice what a mountain bike would be. The treads are knobby and you run with 10 or 15 psi tire pressure. The softer tires allow for more tread on the snow, and this make gripping the slick trails easier. Suddenly cycling is a legitimate winter sport.
Zacharie is only 8, and they didn’t have any 24″ bikes for rent at the shop, so we chose to rent some snowshoes ($20 for 1 adult and 1 child for 2 hours) to go snowshoeing instead.
The snowshoe trails are through the disc golf course on the east side of the Canmore Nordic Centre taking you away from the ski trails. It’s a short 2.5 km loop that you do going up and over the hills and amongst the trees.
It took us about an hour as we took our time meandering the forest and it was nice.
After our march, Zacharie and I retreated to the day lodge warm up with some hot chocolate. Staring out the window at the skiers blasting around the dozens of trails had me thinking back to my days as an 8 yr old cross-country skier.
Our skill, speed, and gear does not hold a candle to what they’re wearing now. The skis were shorter, the outfits streamlined, and I felt like I was sitting next to a 400m oval at an athletic park as sprinters and runners did their workouts.
Skate skiers blasted around corners and up hills, even the kids in the camps looked teched out. Cross country skiing looked cool. To be honest, I felt like an ugly stepchild when our family moved from Ontario to BC when I was 10 and we would go cross country skiing. My friends were downhill nuts, and I was embarrassed to hit the flat trails.
Not anymore. While my kids are eager to learn downhill, I made a mental note that a return trip to the Canmore Nordic Centre would have to include some skis and poles.
I’d also bring the toboggan next time too. The snowshoeing trail goes right by a short, slick tobogganing hill between the disc golf course and the biathlon range. The kids got some nice speed hitting the course and it had a little banked slope at the end to make a fun turn.
Disclosure: I’m an Alberta Parks Ambassador.