THINGS TO DO:
World Class Sports & Recreational Facilities
Inside the open-air cockpit of a vintage 1939 WACO biplane, I have images of bush pilots from a bygone era filling my head. The engine roars to life and the propeller drones as we prepare for take-off. I can feel the excitement building in my chest. This is definitely bucket list material.
There are lots of ways to get your motor running in Alberta. Here are some off the chart choices.
Soaring Over Southern Alberta
There are few things more satisfying than the euphoric rush of riding a thermal while hang-gliding. The weather is perfect as I head west of Calgary to Cochrane, one of my favourite spots. On the bluffs above the town, the wind socket blows straight out. Below me lies a sprawl of ranchlands and foothills that seamlessly give way to the vanguard of pine-skirted mountains in the distance. Many hours of ground school and preparation with Muller Wind Sports have made this moment possible. “Free as a bird” takes on new meaning as I lift silently into flight.
What was I thinking? Perched atop Canada Olympic Park’s ski jump tower, strapped into a sturdy and comfortable harness, I’m about to fly down North America’s fastest zipline. I’ve had my practice session at the base of the hill but am I ready for speeds up to 140 km/hr (87 mph)? And I must be completely out of my mind because I’m following this up with the Summer Bobsleigh Ride, part of my Adrenaline Combo package. Talk about a one-two punch!
Wind on the Water
Kite and wind surfers rejoice! All around Alberta are lakes and reservoirs with ripping good wind conditions. My favourite for windsurfing is the Ghost Reservoir close to Calgary. And not just in summer. In winter, high winds keep the ice free of snow making it a great place for ice boating. Kite surfing on Upper Waterton Lake wins for spectacular scenery. On the popular windsport lakes you will find equipment rentals and lessons, many alongside sailing clubs.
So Many Choices
I asked my adrenaline junkie pals to tell me about their favourite heart-pounders in Alberta. The response was overwhelming, so all I can do with my remaining space is give you some great ideas.