Nakiska of­fers a breather from De­cem­ber fes­tiv­i­ties

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - DANNY AUSTIN [email protected]­ www.twit­­nyAustin_9

De­cem­ber is busy.

Be­tween hol­i­day par­ties and end-of-year obli­ga­tions and every­thing else that tends to crowd the cal­en­dar in the year’s fi­nal month, all of us could prob­a­bly use a lit­tle bit of a breather.

This is where Nakiska comes in.

“Ob­vi­ously, at this time of the year peo­ple are busy with Christ­mas, hol­i­day so­cials, work so­cials … and that’s one thing that’s re­ally bril­liant,” said Matt Mosteller, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing and re­sort ex­pe­ri­ence at Re­sorts of the Cana­dian Rock­ies, which owns Nakiska. “Ev­ery­body needs to take a break and get some fresh air and get some spec­tac­u­lar views in their face, and a trip to Nakiska can do that.”

Prox­im­ity to Cal­gary isn’t all that Nakiska has go­ing for it, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Part of what has made Nakiska such a des­ti­na­tion for Cal­gary’s skiers and snow­board­ers over the years is the fact it’s only a lit­tle more than an hour’s drive away from the cen­tre of the city.

Yes, there are big­ger re­sorts a cou­ple hours fur­ther down the high­way, but some­times life doesn’t af­ford us the op­por­tu­nity to drop every­thing for an en­tire day.

That might mean de­lay­ing a trip to the moun­tains for peo­ple who live lit­er­ally any­where else, but Nakiska al­lows Cal­gar­i­ans to get a few turns in with­out skip­ping break­fast or din­ner at home — half-day passes that al­low guests on the moun­tain at 12:30 p.m. ev­ery day make this a whole lot more af­ford­able, too.

“When peo­ple drive into Kananaskis it has that, ‘Wow’ fac­tor,” Mosteller said. “We’re so lucky to have that wilder­ness at our back­door and then to be able to go out there in the win­ter­time and ski so close to your home and your work and your other ac­tiv­i­ties, (a day on the moun­tain) is eas­ily built into your ev­ery day.”

In ad­di­tion to host­ing count­less in­ter­na­tional ski and snow­board com­pe­ti­tions over the years — in­clud­ing the 1988 Olympics, fa­mously — Nakiska has also made its name as one of the top re­sorts in West­ern Canada for new skiers and snow­board­ers try­ing to learn the ba­sics.

But in re­cent years, the re­sort has also made sure it’s got pro­grams for guests of all ex­pe­ri­ence lev­els who are look­ing to work on their skills and im­prove.

Among the most pop­u­lar pro­grams at Nakiska is Ladies Days, which in­cludes trans­porta­tion from Cal­gary to the Kananaskis re­sort, as well as lift passes, guided in­struc­tion and a gourmet lunch in an all-fe­male en­vi­ron­ment. There are four Ladies Days on the sched­ule this sea­son, be­gin­ning Feb. 6.

There are also les­sons catered specif­i­cally to skiers and snow­board­ers who are look­ing to sharpen their skills in the rail park, as well as a pub­lic ski-cross course, an ever-chang­ing gladed area and one of the largest tub­ing parks in the coun­try.

There’s a lot more to the re­sort other than just it’s prox­im­ity to Cal­gary, in other words, although it sure doesn’t hurt that you can pack it all in to a quick lit­tle trip where no­body will even know you’ve left the city.

“You can take two hours, come out and get a bunch of ski­ing and snow­board­ing in and then get back for the fam­ily func­tion,” Mosteller said.

You can take two hours … get a bunch of ski­ing and snow­board­ing in and then get back for the fam­ily func­tion.

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