It’s still only October, but thanks to COVID-19 and Calgary’s fickle weather, it’s time to start planning for winter. After a summer full of park picnics, patio meals and backyard hangouts, the arrival of cold weather and the wet stuff will require a pivot to winter-appropriate outdoor activities. And if the rush to snag home fitness gear and bikes this spring/summer was any indication, equipment for traditional winter sports might soon be hard to find.
Here are a few ways you can stay active and social in and around Calgary this winter:
I’m sure longtime skiers and snowboarders are already fantasizing about bluebird days in the Rockies this winter, but if you’re interested in hitting the slopes for the first time, this could be a great year to start. Several resorts offer discounted season passes if you buy early and a variety of new COVID-19 measures at the hills should keep riders safe and happy.
Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing
If you like the idea of downhill skiing, but you would prefer a slower pace and less potential for injury, cross-country skiing could be for you. You won’t have to go far, either, since Calgary is home to several groomed and ungroomed ski areas during the winter that are free for everyone to enjoy. There are also scenic ski areas in and around Canmore, Banff and Kananaskis.
With a minimal learning curve and inexpensive equipment, snowshoeing is also a great winter activity for Calgarians of all ages, whether you’re an expert or beginner. Like cross-country skiing, you can snowshoe in any of Calgary’s parks, but there are also many beautiful trails to explore in the Rockies.
Winter weather doesn’t necessarily mean you need to put your bike away for the season. You might just need some additional gear to outfit your ride for the elements, such as knobby or studded tires. Alternately, you can buy or rent a fat bike that is designed for winter riding in snowy conditions. Calgary’s pathway network is especially beautiful in the winter for those willing to brave the cold.
Whether you’re looking for a carefree, recreational skate or a spirited game of shinny, there is an outdoor rink or frozen lake for you, with countless options across Calgary and surrounding areas.