THINGS TO DO:
World Class Sports & Recreational Facilities
Growing up in Alberta you just can’t help but love the Winter Olympics. Snow, ice, alpine. It’s in our blood. And the legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary still lives on. Millions of dollars were spent to create training and competition facilities for the world’s top athletes. Over the years, the amenities have been improved and expanded.
Many Canadian winter athletes and others from around the world continue to train here. My dream? To follow in the tracks of the world’s best by skiing and skating at facilities built for the Olympics, and of course trying out the thrilling bobsleigh and luge courses.
Olympic History Comes to Life
Entering Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame at Canada Olympic Park (COP), the sports equipment exhibit jogs memories, conjuring the smell of the black tape we slapped on our shins as kids to keep our hockey pads in place. We explore 10 halls of different sports, as well as Olympic lore and interactive exhibits, before feeling the need to speed.
The Ice House is the world’s only indoor push-start facility for bobsleigh, luge and skeleton, something I’m eager to check off my bragging rights list.
I tuck myself into a four-person bobsleigh driven by an experienced pilot. He tells us to hold tight and scrunch our heads down to see the turns. We do 14 twists in 60 blurry seconds. But it takes just 40 seconds to conquer the luge track while lying on my back as the world streaks past.
Ski Olympic Length Runs at Nakiska
Nakiska is a Canadian Rockies mountain resort built for the 1988 alpine events. As I ski down the Legacy run that World Cup racers still use to train, I’m just 45 minutes west of Calgary.
Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, less than an hour west of Calgary and built for cross country skiing and biathlon events, is home to Canada’s national Nordic and biathlon teams. We literally follow in their tracks along more than 65 km (37 mi) of groomed and trackset trails, amidst memorable alpine scenery.
Later in Calgary, we try speed skating at the Olympic Oval, the fastest ice in the world, where international and short track and long track speed skaters come to train and compete. To complete our Olympic experience, we lace up for a skate around Olympic Plaza, where the medals were handed out in 1988. Definitely a thrill.