Walking the walk
Step outside this winter and enjoy Calgary’s 580 km of trails
For those planning on making the most out of being outdoors this year, head out to one of many local trails for a variety of activities.
Calgary’s trail systems and trails outside of the city are places where people can cross-country ski, snowshoe, skate ski, walk, run and fat-tire bike.
Michael Heuchert is an outreach coordinator for Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC).
He suggested trying out a variety of recreational activities.
“Calgary is a really exciting place to live if you are into some of those things.”
He said different sports are best on certain trails.
For those who enjoy cross-country skiing, try skate skiing.
“It’s a shorter and stiffer ski, yet similar in construction,” he said.
Cross-country skis are rented out at MEC for $15 per day.
Skate skiing is similar to roller blading.
“But it’s a better and more intense cardio workout.”
Both Confederation Park and Shaganappi golf courses have groomed ski tracks in the winter. Canada Olympic Park also has flat tracks for skiing.
“It’s more weather dependent in the city,” said Heuchart.
He suggested going out of the city to Bragg Creek, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Kananaskis.
“I recommend doing some research on the sports you are interested in,” said Heuchart.
“I would encourage anybody to come down to MEC and grab a book.”
Another activity to try is snowshoeing. MEC rents them out to customers for $12 per day.
“Snowshoeing is a great one, and it’s so accessible,” said Heuchart.
“If you love it and you rent them, we will put a day worth of money from your rental towards a pair of snowshoes.”
However, anyone interested in renting gear should call the store first to make sure it’s available.
Rental information can be found at www.mec.ca.
People can also take advantage of the Calgary trails via running or walking.
For runners, MEC hosts a weekly Meetup through the store.
Anyone interested can join the group Saturday mornings at 9 a.m.
They go for a run and for coffee afterwards. This is a year round event.
“It’s a great community activity,” said Heuchart.
The weekly Meetup is free of charge.
MEC also hosts various running races from April to October. The cost starts at $15 per person. More information can be found at www.events.mec.ca.
“We want to make sure it is accessible to anybody.”
Calgary’s Best Walks, a book by Lori Beattie, is a guide for a trail and walking system in Calgary.
Beattie recommends different trails and walks for urban dwellers.
Heuchart suggests exploring the many trails in and out of the city, such as Nose Hill, Fish Creek Park, Bragg Creek, Kananaskis and Lake Louise, which all have excellent trails for walking and hiking, he said.
In her book, Beattie recommends different trails within city bounds for urban dwellers.
For the more adventurous, fat-tire biking is gaining popularity amongst Calgarians.
“It has gained immense popularity over the past three years,” said Heuchart.
MEC sells fat-tire bikes as a winter version of a bike that can be ridden on the snow.
Its larger surface area makes it sit on top of the snow.
“The larger the surface area, the more float you have,” he said.
Heuchart cautioned people trying new activities to always exercise safety precautions.
“The big thing is to make sure you are doing it safely.”
He said Calgary is a really exciting place to live if you are into some of these things.
“We have some of the best terrain in the world for some of these activities,” he said.
“Just take a chance, you wont regret it.”