The eyes of the world were on Calgary during the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. On the outskirts of the city, the 90 m (295 ft) ski jump tower at Canada Olympic Park is the most visible reminder. Today, it’s outfitted with the fastest zipline in North America.
COP, as it’s known to the locals, has seen millions of dollars of upgrades over the years plus the addition of new facilities, making it a national centre of excellence where Canadian and visiting athletes train year-round. Almost 300,000 recreational skiers and riders come to play every winter. And it’s just as busy in the summer in the mountain bike park, along with sports camps and programs for all ages. Remember to visit the new Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
The park is home to the second largest ski school in Canada, three new indoor skating rinks and the famed Ice House, where you can hurtle down the bobsleigh track at ridiculous speeds, just like a real Olympian.
Outside of COP, the world class story continues. Here’s your checklist!
The Olympic Oval
Located on the University of Calgary campus, the Olympic Oval is considered to have the fastest ice surface in the world. International short track and long track speed skaters can’t wait to compete here. Records are set that simply can’t be broken elsewhere. See how you measure up!
Ski Nakiska – Calgary’s Closest Mountain
Just 45 minutes west of Calgary, Nakiska was developed for the 1988 alpine events. Olympic-length runs are groomed to perfection. A good thing, since it’s the official training centre for the Alpine Canada team. This is a family friendly place with learn-to-ski programs for all ages. Après ski, pamper yourself with a hot soak and a fine meal at one of the hotels in Kananaskis Village, a short five minutes away.
Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
Created for the cross country skiing and biathlon events, the Canmore Nordic Centre was significantly renovated in 2005. Home to our national nordic and biathlon ski teams, it is now firmly established as one of the top cross country and mountain bike destinations in the world. In the winter, test your nordic chops on more than 65 km (37 mi) of groomed and trackset trails. In the summer, it’s mountain biking heaven, with more than 100 km (62 mi) of trails and a challenging skills park.