One of the best things about Calgary is the winter playground in the center of town. Canada Olympic Park, on the western edge of the city, features a ski hill, snowboard park, cross-country trails, an Olympic luge track, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, and a glass elevator that takes you to the 1988 Winter Olympic's biggest ski jump, as well as skating facilities and restaurants. It also offers private and group lessons, so you can brush up on your sport where World Cup and Olympic athletes train. Plan a day to hit the slopes, or forget the skis and come explore the park's less strenuous attractions that celebrate winter.
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Almost Too Much Fun for One Spot
Canada Olympic Park is almost too much fun. Once you've skied, snowboarded, ice skated, and tried the half pipe in winter, tour the ski jump where Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards made history at the Calgary Olympics in 1988—he finished last in the 70-meter jump and second to last in the 90 meter, leading to a new rule that made qualifying for the Olympics tougher. In summer, adults and kids can mountain bike, bobsled, or ride North America's fastest zip line. End your visit at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame to learn more about the country's top athletic feats.
In 1988 Calgary hosted the Olympic Winter Games and launched into fame in the movie “Cool Runnings.” Now you too can pretend you’re on the Jamaican bobsled (or “bobsleigh” in Canadian) team by taking a ride down the actual track that was used in the Olympics. All the drivers are Olympians themselves, ensuring that you’re in good hands for your 80-second ride. It’s a thrill to feel the bobsled pick up speed as you zip around the track’s 14 turns. It is one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had. After all, do you know anyone else who can say they’ve been down an Olympic bobsled track?
If that’s not enough, you can get the feel of an Olympic ski jumper by zip lining off the top of the 90m ski jump. The scariest part of the zipline is actually the anticipation: getting hooked into a harness and then walking down the open stairs to the launch platform. Once you’re hooked onto the line, the ride itself is surprisingly smooth as you race through the air at 75 mph. A parachute controls your speed: wear it all the way down for a slower ride or wait till the last minute to open it for maximum velocity. Once you’ve conquered the monster hill, a second, more traditional, zipline takes you back to the start house.
Unlike most cities that host the Olympics, the facilities built for the ’88 games remain in use: Canada’s Winter Olympic Team trains at the facility. The best part? Proceeds from all the activities support the teams.
[Travel courtesy of Travel Alberta]
I am the office, crazy work day - working on an endless transaction, arrived early at the office to prepare for a conference call with New York lawyers. Enough! - I am taking a break, I take a Taxi from Downtown Calgary and in 20 minutes I am at the Canada Olympic Park (COP), and in 10 more minutes I am downhill skiing - these are short slopes but enough to take a 1 or 2 hour break from the office and being able to do something really cool in a relatively big city.
Keep Exploring and Skiing!