Growing up, I always thought cross country skiing is for the elderly who have trouble moving and can’t do any other winter sports. Maybe because the first time I saw cross country skiing was from my grandfather.

But it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Michal and I discovered cross country skiing when we moved to Canada. Since the Canadian Rockies offer us plenty of outdoor sports options, we thought, why not give it a try?

And we haven’t looked back since. We are both runners, and this sport complements it perfectly. I love that you can choose your pace based on your mood. You can either slide slowly while enjoying the snowy scenery or pick up the pace and simulate running.

Cross country skiing in Calgary - Fish Creek Provincial Park (1)

This post includes the best options for cross country skiing in Calgary and the mountains close to Calgary.

Cross country skiing in Calgary

We all want to have set tracks for cross country skiing in a dreamy mountainous landscape and hear only the ski’s satisfying slide on the snow, am I right?

Living in Calgary, it’s also relatively easy to achieve that. Just head to the Rockies, and you can have it all within an hour.

But for people with busy schedules, if you’re not in a mood to drive or want to get a quick workout outdoors, the city can offer some fantastic cross country skiing options as well (that are free to use).

Cross country skiing in Calgary - Fish Creek Provincial Park

NEW in 2020: East Village Nordic Loop

What a delight to cross country ski right in downtown Calgary!

An area beside Fort Calgary now offers a 1 km groomed loop that’s free to use. There are two sets of cross country ski tracks and a wide path between for walkers and snowshoers.

Read the full blog post: 10 Tips for cross country skiing the Nordic Loop in East Village

Best Trails for Cross Country Skiing in Calgary - Nordic Loop in East Village

Bowness Park

Beginners unite! The Bowness Park has 2.5 km of maintained flat trails. And if you’d like to enjoy the park longer, go ice skating or try ice biking. There’s also a restaurant, a small café, and washrooms.

Read next: Skating at Bowness Park: everything you need to know

Confederation Park Golf Course

Whatever your level is, you can cross country ski at Confederation Park Golf Course. Several loops are ranging from beginner to advanced cross country skiers, and also an amazing colourful surprise. Come in the evening from November to January and ski around the Lions’ Festival of Lights.

Fish Creek Provincial Park

Even though pathways are often plowed, there’s so much space for cross country skiing! We found cross country skiing in Fish Creek the most enjoyable right after a significant snowfall before the plowers come.

If you visit anytime during winter, I bet you find cross country tracks from fellow skiers right beside the pathways.

Cross country skiing in Calgary - Fish Creek Provincial Park (1)

North Glenmore Park

Same as Fish Creek applies to North Glenmore Park. Blaze your own trail along the pathways. We also skied on the Glenmore Reservoir, where we saw tracks from fellow skiers.

South Glenmore Park

South Glenmore Park includes the Weaselhead Natural Area.

Cross country skiing in Calgary - Glenmore

Shaganappi Point Golf Course

Calgary has an insane amount of golf courses. Using them for cross country skiing is of much better use, in my opinion. Shaganappi Point Golf Course offers lovely downtown views.

Read next: Cross country ski trails in Banff

Cross country ski rentals in Calgary

If you love cross country skiing, MEC in downtown offers good (and also budget-friendly) options, but I suggest renting first if you’re a beginner. There are several rental places, including:

Cross country skiing near Calgary

Here come the beautiful mountainous options for cross country skiing near Calgary.

West Bragg Creek

West Bragg Creek is just 40 minutes from Calgary and offers 66 km of trails. No matter your level of experience, you can find trails from easy to difficult. The loop ranges from 1 to 15 km, and you can choose which loop to take next on every intersection where the map is provided.

Cross country skiing in Bragg Creek

Kananaskis Country

Kananaskis has hundreds of kilometres of trails for cross country skiing. Visit their website for extensive options. You can support the grooming of the trails by purchasing a parking pass here.

We went cross country skiing to Mount Shark, and while the location is beautiful and trails are well maintained, it’s a location for advanced skiers. The rolling hills are not for beginners; trust me!

Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park

Canmore Nordic Centre is an hour away from Calgary and more than 65 km of maintained trails. If you’d like to visit in the evening, a 6.5 km loop is lit. They offer rentals and a big Day lodge to warm up and even buy some snacks or lunch.

Visit the information counter for maps or tips. While this is the only place charging a mandatory fee, it’s well worth it.

Canmore Nordic Centre

I hope you’re stoked about winter, and I wish you a wonderful time on trails!

More winter activities in Calgary & beyond

Winter day trips from Calgary

 

About Maya Steiningerova

Heyo, I’m Maya! An adventure athlete currently living near the Canadian Rockies with my partner in crime Michal. I love running in the mountains, jumping in the ice cold lakes, mountain biking and trying not so common activities, such as mountaineering. By showing that an ordinary person can live an extraordinary life, my hope is to inspire you to live an adventurous life and provide you with tips and tools for your own adventure.