Feeling inspired by the Winter Olympics? While your chances of becoming an Olympian are slim, there’s tons of opportunities for you to try almost all of the Olympic sports in Calgary and the surrounding area and a huge possibility that you’ll end up loving one of them.
Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding
If you’ve never skied or snowboarded before there are great beginner and intermediate lessons at Canada Olympic Park/Winsport and all the surrounding ski hills. If you got the basics down and want to try out some Slalom and Giant Slalom, the Alberta Masters Ski Club is your best bet. Using the Nakiska and Winsport hills the club works on improving technique and preparing for races.
Another great way to improve your skiing or snowboarding is through volunteering with CADS Alberta (Canadian Adaptive Snowsports). You’ll help a disabled person ski or snowboard once a week and can also attend an optional skills session once a week.
Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding
Winsport has a great terrain park albeit one that may be a bit difficult for beginners. They also have a great halfpipe which Shaun White has used to train for the XGames.
For ski cross, Nakiska boasts a relatively good ski cross area for those trying it out and also sometimes has more difficult runs set up as it is a frequent training ground for Canadian Olympians. Less than 2 hours away the Canmore Nordic Centre is a first rate cross country skiing area. It hosts many competitions and
Biathlon and Cross Country Skiing
Calgary has many cross country ski trails in the city. And on really snowy days cross country skis may even be a great option for your work commute as shown in the recent snow dump this year. The Canmore Nordic Centre is also less than 2 hours away and boasts world class trails with mayn Canadian and international Olympic athletes using it for their training base.
If you want to learn or improve your technique the University of Calgary outdoor Centre, Calgary Ski Club and Norseman Ski Shop all offer lessons.
For those that want to race or train for racing the Calgary Nordic Training Group, and Foothills Nordic offer programs which you can join at any level with training in Calgary, Kananaskis and Canmore.
For those wishing to try out biathlon the Canmore Nordic Ski Club offers lessons while Foothills Nordic and Calgary Biathlon Racers have programs that you can join.
If you want to take a ride on the bobsleigh to see what it feels like to handle 4gs on a icy track you can book a bobsled ride at Winsport. The bobsleigh will be driven by a current of former bobsleigh athlete so you’ll be in good hands.
In the summers you can also give the start a try with their learn to push sessions. If you like that then you can progress further in the fall. With many bobsleigh athletes coming from different athletic backgrounds, bobsleigh is also a sport where you could make a potential Olympic push if you have are young, powerful and enjoy the thrill.
While there have been many shots of people curling with their roomba and swiffer or broom, the real thing is so much better. Calgary has plenty of curling rinks although you will definitely have to book in advance if you want to find one at a prime time.
Curling is a great team builder or celebration activity and if you book an ice time at Garrison Curling Club or Inglewood Curling Club you get a free half hour intro lesson. There is also an introductory program at Calgary Curling Club and Garrison Curling Club. If you have the basics and understanding of the game down there’s leagues for every level available at all the curling clubs in Calgary or you can compete in Calgary Sport and Social Club’s league.
If you’d like to try the new 2 person curling that just debuted in the Olympics you can try it out at Springbank Curling Club. There’s also a wheelchair curling club in Calgary for anyone with mobility issues or if you would like to volunteer.
If you’ve never learned to skate or have always felt like Bambi on ice the City of Calgary and most Calgary recreation centres offer adult lessons. Once you have the basics down many figure skating clubs have adult programs or there’s Olympia Skating Club, a club solely for adult skaters. You can try your hand at ice dance or try out some jumps and spins.
With hockey being Canada’s national and probably most talked about sport it’s not surprising that many people that never got to play the sport as kids are interested in trying to pick it up. The City of Calgary, Winsport and the University offer lessons for beginners and there is also a Discover Hockey program for those that want to learn how to play and experience playing in a league.
Groups can also arrange to try sledge hockey with the Calgary Sledge Hockey Association. People are also welcome to volunteer with them.
For anyone that really enjoys sledding, take it up a few notches by trying luge. Winsport offers Try Luge sessions where you can go down a 1/4 of the track after a brief introduction.
Skeleton offers a few options for people that want to try it out. You can slide down from the ladies luge start after a few hours of instruction. In the summer they also have Learn to Push sessions you can join in the ice house and in the fall you can take a course on how to drive where you can learn how to navigate the entire course.
At the Olympic Oval you can rent out speed skates and test how fast you can go on the fastest ice in the world.
If you’d like to learn more they host Try Speed Skating events or you can join their adult group for short track or long track where you can choose your levels of coaching and off ice workouts.
If you’re already playing one of these sports or are just looking to try Olympic workouts check out the Get Set App created by the International Olympic Committee. It features workouts for all the Winter and Summer Olympic Sports. It uses the most effective and evidence based exercises to prevent injury and build strength, created by the International Olympic Committee, providing the most effective and evidence-based workout routines for your needs.
If you’re looking for fun and challenging workout ideas to do with a partner check out Kelsey Serwa’s and Brittany Phelan’s #wackyworkoutwednesday on Instagram.