Alberta Parks

FAQs for Cross-Country Skiing

  • Canmore Nordic Centre Trail Passes

    Question: I'm planning a trip to the Canmore Nordic Centre. How do the trail passes there work?


    • Canmore Nordic Centre is an amazing facility for cross-country skiing and winter activities.
    • To maintain this park, there are fees for trail use (cross-country skiing and fat biking).  
    • Want to visit the Canmore Nordic Centre for other winter fun? Bring your toboggan for the sled hill or ice skates for the rink.  You can play winter disc golf; bring your own or rent some here.  All these facilities are free to use.
    • Hinton Nordic Centre at William A. Switzer Provincial Park also has fees for cross-country skiing.  Cross-country skiing at all other parks is free.

    Interesting Tip! If you're a new Canadian, you can use your Cultural Access Pass for a day of free skiing at Canmore Nordic Centre.

  • Equipment Rental

    Question: I want to get out into parks this winter. Where can I rent sports equipment?


    Some parks offer rentals to help you stay active and try something new.

  • Keeping Warm

    Question: Alberta winters are cold! How can I stay warm in the park?


    Dress for success! Wearing the proper clothes for cold weather will make your day at the park more comfortable and enjoyable.

    • Layers are a must for a day of winter fun so you can adjust your clothes to your temperature throughout the day.
    • A synthetic base layer will help wick away sweat and keep you dry.
    • For your feet, well-fitting boots that are waterproof and insulated are best.
    • Mittens are warmer than gloves.
    • A hat and scarf will help prevent heat loss from your body.

    Check the facilities available at the Alberta Park you'll be visiting.  Some sites offer warm up shelters, fire pits or Visitor Centres. There's even a cafe at the Canmore Nordic Centre!  Fun ways to stay warm? Plan a winter fireside cook out or learn something new at a Visitor Centre display.

  • Parking for Skiing

    Question: Is there parking available where I want to hit the trails?


    • Most parks have parking available from a day use area, visitor centre or trailhead/staging area parking lot. Please consult the park’s map or trail guide to find the parking lot nearest the trail that interests you.
    • Are you looking to get off the beaten path? Parking and access to backcountry areas, natural areas or rustic provincial recreation areas varies. Consult the park’s web page for designated parking areas.
    • To get to a park's website, check "XC Skiing" on the Activities Map, then select a park.  Any maps for that park are included at the bottom of its landing page.
    • Please be a good neighbor.  If using an access point with no formal parking, please leave your car in a safe and discrete place.

  • Places to Ski

    Question: I've read about the six ski centres profiled. Where else can I ski in Alberta's parks?


  • Trail Conditions

    Question: How do I find out about trail conditions at a park?


  • Wildlife in Winter

    Question: What kind of wildlife can I see in winter?


    • You can still see many of our animal residents in winter! The snow provides the perfect opportunity to test your tracking knowledge and see track evidence of life in the park.
    • You may see deer, moose, coyotes, fox and big horn sheep, to name a few. Winter is also a great time to look for birds. With no leaves on the trees, it's easy to spot birds wintering in the park!
    • Although winter seems like a quiet time of year, the animals are still active.  This includes cougars and even bears (who are denning - they're not true hibernators).
    • Take the same precautions as in summer season.  Please review our safety around wildlife tips.  

  • Winter Camping

    Question: Can I camp in the winter in Alberta parks?


    • Yes! Winter camping is a whole new way to see and appreciate the nature and environment of Alberta Parks.
    • If you love camping and are looking for a new challenge, try one of our winter camping locations

Did You Know...

Cross-country skiing has been estimated to burn 600 (recreational) to 1,120 (mountaineering) calories per hour.

Safety Links

Provincial Sources for Advisories

Updated: Aug 4, 2017