Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Canada Olympic Park

Trip Date: April 2014

Canada Olympic Park (COP), formerly known as Paskapoo Ski Hill, was the premiere site when Calgary played host to the XV Olympic Winter Games in 1988.  The Calgary Olympic Development Association (CODA), known today as WinSport, renovated the site in preparation for the Games, and now the park is the most visible reminder of Canada's first chance to host the Winter Olympics.  Today the park is operated by WinSport and the grounds are home to several facilities for amateur and national team athletes in training, such as ski jumping, alpine racing, aerials, moguls, halfpipe, cross-country skiing, bobsleigh, luge, skeleton, and ice hockey.  The Calgary Gymnastics Centre, the High Performance Training Centre, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, and the Ice House also call COP home.  The park is also open to individuals of all ages and abilities for winter and sport recreation opportunities.

Canada Olympic Park Map
I have visited the park on two previous occasions; one for the World Push Challenge and the other as a field trip to the Hall of Fame.  This visit, however, was to go snowboarding with my cousin (Shawn) and his three kids (Sidney, Lydia & Lucas).  It marked the first time that I had ever snowboarded at COP and I was looking forward to experiencing the park in a different way.  Although it is very much a beginner hill, it was perfect for the kids, all of whom haven't been on skis very many times yet.  And let's be honest, any time you spend on your board is a good day, regardless of the terrain!  We rode the Legacy Chair Lift a couple of times to warm-up the legs and then spent the rest of the day doing laps off of the '88 Express.

Canada Olympic Park Trail Map
Canada Olympic Park's ski/snowboard terrain
Ski Jump Towers
View from the very top
Lydia practicing her snow plow
Sidney heading down the blue run
Frank King Day Lodge
It was a beautiful Spring day in Calgary and the weather was perfect for being outside.  After wrapping things up on the hill I spent a few minutes exploring the area around the hill before heading to the car.  I found the Olympic cauldron on display as well as a couple other treasures.  Keep reading to see them all for yourself...

Olympic Cauldron in the International Flag Court
The plaque on the cauldron reads, 
"This cauldron burned with the sacred Olympic Flame saluting the athletes of the world at the XV Olympic Winter Games, Calgary 1988.  Ignited on February 13 at 1900 hours.  Extinguished on February 28 at 1030 hours.  Cauldron and fuel provided by Canadian Western Natural Gas Company Limited."
Share The Flame monument honoring Petro Canada's Olympic Torch Relay at the 1988 Winter Games
Feel the Rhythm, Feel the Rhyme! The actual bobsled used for the filming of Cool Runnings.
Basically the only snow left in Calgary resides at COP.  As soon as it's all melted it'll be time to get the bikes out.  I'll have to do some trail riding at COP and experience the park in a whole other way.

Recently I did a story for Calgary Is Awesome about Alberta's epic skiing and snowboarding titled: Skiing & Riding.