Here are five great places to cross country ski this season.
Elk Island National Park
Elk Island National Park is a year-round destination for those that love the outdoors. In the winter multi-use trails are shared among hikers, cross country skiers and those that love to snowshoe. The paths are not groomed for skiing, so be prepared to break your own trail. Elk Island is a protected natural area; be aware of and prepared for wildlife, and take the necessary safety precautions.
Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area
A long-time favourite for locals in Parkland County, Chickakoo is a cross country skiers paradise. Featuring more than 480 scenic acres, 11 kilometres of trails, washrooms, fire pits (wood is supplied) and allowance of on-leash dogs, this is a place where skiers come out to spend the whole day. Tracks are set and groomed regularly.
Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
Canmore Nordic Centre has trail-use fees. On site, however, skiers are treated to more than 20 kilometres groomed with natural and machine-made snow; ski waxing rooms; sales, lessons and rentals. Trail and grooming reports ensure skiers have the most updated information. Thanks to the machine-made snow, avid skiers can enjoy their sport here early in the season.
Allison-Chinook Cross Country Ski Area
The Allison-Chinook trails sit are on public lands on the eastern side of Tecumseh Mountain. The forested terrain provides an excellent experience for skiers at all levels. Tracks are set and groomed from December 1st to March 31 (depending on the weather). A warmup shack and pit toilets are also on site.
Your Local Golf Course
Did you know that many local golf courses allow cross country skiing during the winter? Check the website of your local course to see what is available. Some courses set tracks and require skiers to stay in designated areas as to not disturb the snow-covered greens.
Cross country skiing is a wonderful sport and is accessible for all skill levels. From the backcountry to urban golf courses to designated winter facilities, no matter where you are in Alberta, there is a place to ski this winter.