Sunday, November 5, 2017

Nakiska Ski Area

Trip Date: November 2017



On Wednesday, November 1st Nakiska Ski Area announced they'd be opening for the season on Saturday, November 4th, making them the first resort in Canada to do so. But then Mount Norquay dropped a bomb on Nakiska's plans and declared they'd be opening a day earlier to claim the title of earliest opening this year. In the end who really cares because ski and snowboard season is once again upon us and that's all that matters.

On the road to Nakiska
Welcome to Nakiska Ski Area
Located less than 100km from downtown, nestled in picturesque Kananaskis Country, Nakiska is the closest resort to Calgary not named Canada Olympic Park. Like COP however, Nakiska played host to the alpine events for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games and today offers 1,021 skiable acres. The resort boasts something for everyone with 13% of the runs considered beginner, 59% intermediate, and the remaining 28% advanced. The resort also features the Na.Jib.Ska Rail Park, a skier/boarder cross course, and the Monster Glades.

These signs were posted all around the base area
Uploading and downloading via the Olympic Chair
Excited to hit the slopes!
Normally I'd wait a few weeks for the conditions to improve before hitting the slopes, but the team at SnowSeekers surprised Christine and I with lift tickets. One of my cardinal rules is never turn down free snowboarding (you'd have to be crazy to do that), so we secured a babysitter and made plans to head out for the day.

The snow-making machines were in full effect, hence the hazy conditions at the Mid Lodge
The visibility drastically improved as we ascended the Gold Chair 
Pretty good view from the top of the Gold Chair
We didn't make first chair because it's tough getting anywhere when you have a 5-month-old at home, but we made decent time on the drive. As we were about to enter the lift-line Christine discovered she had a busted binding buckle that needed to be repaired before we had any hope of riding. With some helpful assistance from the repair shop we were on the chair with very little time wasted.

Overlooking the mountains in Kananaskis Country
I can promise you there's a big grin hidden underneath all the layers of warm clothing!
The trees were coated in snow and reminded me of the Snow Ghosts at Whitefish Mountain Resort
The only accessible terrain was off the Gold Chair, so everyone needed to upload and download via the Olympic Chair. Even though Nakiska received 65cm over the past seven days many of the runs still weren't open. From the Gold Chair there were approximately 10 open runs including the Monster Glades, which gave us some varied terrain to explore. It was a chilly -20 degrees at the summit, but the sun was shining and there wasn't a breath of wind so it didn't feel too bad, although Christine described her day as "frigid"!

Christine riding through the Monster Glades
Good snow in the glades
GoPro selfie on the day's final run
Christine and I closing out a superb opening day!
For me the entire day was completely unexpected. I was caught off-guard when Nakiska announced they'd be opening this early, the lift tickets were a big, yet welcome, surprise, and the quality of the snow was better than we could have hoped for this early in November. I am so glad we went and now I'm even more excited for the rest of the season to get underway.

The sun sitting low in the sky as we made our way back to the base
A brief video showcasing Opening Day 2017 at Nakiska

For additional photos and information from opening day please refer to this post from SnowSeekers.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

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