It was a little blast of winter at just the right time.
While Nakiska Ski Area has faced all the same challenges that the rest of Western Canada’s ski resorts have dealt with this winter, the Kananaskis resort has been able to keep its slopes blanketed thanks to its extensive snowmaking capabilities.
But a little fresh powder falling from the sky is always nice to see, right?
And with Family Day right around the corner on Feb. 19 and skiers and snowboarders hitting mid-season form, Mother Nature stepped up and delivered 20 cm of snow to Nakiska this week.
You love to see it.
“There’s been fresh snow, there’s more snow in the forecast and there’s sunshine, too,” said Matt Mosteller, senior vice-president of marketing and resort experience at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, the company that owns Nakiska. “With the snowmaking the way it is, we’re still running snowmaking and that means we’re able to put fresh snow over runs and groom in more snow into those runs, so it keeps what I would call putting the cream on top of the cake.”
There are a lot of reasons to head to Nakiska. Proximity to Calgary is definitely one of them, seeing as the resort is only around a 45-minute drive from the city limits. It’s possible to head out in the morning and be back in the city by lunch.
And while just about every resort around the world — not just Canada — seems to be experiencing less snow than normal this winter, Nakiska’s decision to invest heavily in snowmaking equipment has meant that its groomers are generally in good shape.
There may not be knee-deep powder, but there are lots of long runs with solid coverage.
“Almost 60% (of Nakiska’s terrain) is intermediate, so most of the mountain is really there for everybody to enjoy,” Mosteller said. “It’s the largest snowmaking system in Western Canada, and that makes Nakiska the most consistent. We also invested in new grooming machines, and those really make a difference. It means more runs, consistent snow and grooming to perfection. I think that’s a recipe for real enjoyment for any skier or rider to get out to have mountain time.”
And of course, at Nakiska, mountain time doesn’t only mean skiing or riding. That’s part of what has made it such a popular spot for families during the winter.
The snowmaking means that even during dry spells, skiers and snowboarders can still find great runs on the slopes.
But there’s also snowshoeing in the immediate area. The Kananaskis Nordic Spa just down the road.
And there’s tubing, which seems to somehow grow in popularity with every passing year.
“For families or young kids who don’t want to ski long, the tubing is really popular,” Mosteller said.
Over the next two months, Nakiska has brought back its wildly popular Ladies Days, which are a perfect way for women to get out and experience the mountains while embracing winter.
The Ladies Days include a three-hour lesson, a lift ticket, a gourmet lunch and a free afternoon of riding with friends new and old.
“It’s been an incredible program, it’s one of the longest running women’s days in Calgary and it has a real following to it,” Mosteller said. “It’s social time in the mountains while also making turns, so it’s a really great experience and it’s a lot of fun. You hear lots of stories about people really enjoying their time together, whether it’s with longtime friends or making new friends.”
Ladies Days are scheduled for Feb. 28 and March 27.