When temperatures drop and snow flies, Calgarians need not stay indoors or head out of town to stay active.
For those who enjoy skating, there are six outdoor rinks maintained by the City of Calgary, plus countless volunteer-run and community-maintained rinks throughout the city. Love to cross-country ski or snowshoe? Try one of several groomed tracks maintained by local ski clubs or chart your own path in any park.
As the boundaries of the city expand, many Calgarians are looking for cold-weather activities closer to home than traditional mountain outings to Canmore, Banff and beyond.
Here are three areas of the city that showcase the many ways Calgarians can get outdoors and enjoy the season.
Bowness Park runs along the Bow River in the city’s northwest and many Calgarians take pride in the fact that they learned to skate on its lagoon.
“Since the revitalization of the lagoon and the Bowmont Natural Environment Park after the 2013 flood, there has definitely been an increase in usage, as well as available activities,” said Jessica Clark, communications co-ordinator for the Bowness Community Association.
Winter activities available throughout the area include ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tobogganing. Curling, more recently introduced, adds even more selection.
“We never tire of hearing that we have such an incredible asset in the community that can be accessed year-round,” said Clark. “We recognize the value of sport for children and youth, and the importance of staying consistently active into adulthood.”
In the southeast corner of the city, the rapidly growing community of Mahogany offers something a little different. Its lake area and related amenities are open to resident members only through the local homeowners association.
In the winter, Mahogany maintains two large skating rinks on the lake, a boarded hockey rink, tobogganing, snowshoeing and even ice fishing. Cross-country ski tracks might be added down the road, but for now, when snow conditions allow, members ski on the lake.
“The amenities here are extremely well used,” said Sally Lockhart, general manager of the Mahogany Homeowners Association. “As we continue to grow, we’re looking to expand the community and events to serve Mahogany, but also the greater southeast community. A lot of times, people living down in this area don’t want to drive 25 kilometres into the city to attend major events.”
The communities of Woodbine and Woodlands border Fish Creek Provincial Park, where there’s plenty of space to enjoy the winter outside.
“Our community is open,” said Cecil Jahrig, past-president of the Woodcreek Community Association.
“We welcome all Calgarians to come over and enjoy our facilities and the winter season as well.”
There are plenty of organized outdoor activities offered around the community’s three skating rinks. In Woodlands, users can enjoy a pleasure rink and a boarded hockey rink. Woodbine offers a second hockey rink.
“These areas include a lot of fun activities for our community members, both young and old,” said Jahrig.
Outside of these organized activities, users can cross-country ski and snowshoe while enjoying the beauty of winter in Fish Creek Park.