Shaganappi Point golf course is one of a few local golf courses which are open to the public for free Nordic skiing (and snowshoeing) in the winter. Both Shaganappi and Confederation golf course Nordic ski trails are track set and groomed by volunteers from different organisations. Maple Ridge Golf Course Nordic skiing is maintained by the City Parks Department as are areas in Bowness and both South and North Glenmore Parks.
Shaganappi golf course Nordic trails will be maintained by a group of volunteers under the newly formed society called Shaganappi Nordic Operations Club or SNO. Like Confederation’s volunteers, the Shaganappi volunteers hope to groom and track set the Nordic ski trails daily when the snow conditions allow. SNO also hopes to be able to increase the trail system at Shaganappi from the current 7km, or at least increase the width of the existing trail system to better accommodate skate skiing. There are easy, flat beginner trails at both Shaganappi and Confederation.
Nordic skiing, whether one chooses classic or skate-skiing, is a really fun and inexpensive way to get out of the house and into the fresh air in the winter time. It is especially fun at night with a headlamp or by the full moon! (Always have a fully charged cell phone with you)
How to start Nordic skiing:
Set yourself (and your family) up for success. If you have never cross country skied, take lessons, as lessons are the best way to ensure the immediate enjoyment of any new sport. Some lessons start as early as November and early December!
There is an easy way to cross country ski, and a hard way. Easy way is to learn the proper technique from the beginning from a certified instructor, to avoid frustration as well as unnecessary physical overexertion. If one has never been on cross country skis, it is best to start with classic skiing, get comfortable and confident, then graduate to learning the proper skate skiing technique if one is interested in that. Skate skiing requires different boots, stiffer skis with a good camber, and longer poles compared to the classic ski gear. It is especially important to buy a skate ski that has the right camber for your weight, and ski length that is appropriate for your height..(one learns this from a quality ski store such as Norseman on 37th St SW)
Nordic ski lessons in Calgary are available through several different organisations…off the top of my head; there are the Calgary Ski Club, Foothills Nordic Ski Club, and the University of Calgary. Google cross country ski lessons in Calgary and those organizations will pop up. There are lessons available for kids as well as adults. There are weekly lessons available through the Jackrabbits program for kids, as well as having weekly adult lessons available through Foothills Nordic and the Calgary Ski Club.
Gear: Buying appropriate gear ensures success. If one has the budget to do so and one wants to buy new, there are good Nordic ski shops such as the Norseman whom has very knowledgeable staff, and even MEC downtown has staff with good product knowledge.
Used classic ski gear is readily available online and if you are unsure what to buy because you are a beginner, sign up for lessons and ask for advice from the instructor, or go into local cross country ski shops with staff whom have extensive expertise in cross country ski fitting. I would not recommend a generic sports store for Nordic ski fitting advice…go to a specialized Nordic ski store…some are very generous with advice!
One can also rent Nordic ski gear from different places in Calgary such as the U of C Outdoor Center and the Norseman, then once properly fitted, let the staff know that you intend to use that gear as a guide on what length/size of used gear to purchase.
Classic skiing is usually done where a person puts their skis in tracks that are dug into the snow a few inches by a track setter, so the skier can focus on propelling oneself forward while the tracks keep the skis going in the direction one wants to travel. Classic skiing can be fast or slow, it depends on you! Everyone has a pace that fits their current physical fitness as well as skill level, and energy level that particular day.
The great thing about Nordic skiing is with it being so accessible, one can go to Shaganappi or Confederation, ski a 5 to 7km loop or two within an hour or shorter, and go on to other activities while not having to drive out of town!
Some people ride their bike to go cross country skiing, as it’s easy to attach the skis and poles horizontally to a bike frame with Velcro straps or old bike inner tubes, and I know of someone whom just put a short upright piece of PVC pipe on the rear of the bike to carry both the skis and poles! (Studded tires and MIPS certified helmet strongly recommended!) One other added bonus for Shaganappi golf course is the fact it is adjacent to the Shaganappi LRT stop.
With Shaganappi golf course so close by, it is definitely a great place to go out for a ski right after work, or anytime one wants an hour or more of exercise out in the quiet green space that is Shaganappi.
If you have interest in helping out at Shaganappi or Confederation, contact Foothills Nordic for Confederation or for Shaganappi email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope this inspires some people to get out on the snow!
Submitted by Linda M
Shaganappi Nordic Operations Club (SNO)