Nakiska Ski Area

Ski resorts in Canada
Hosting the Winter Olympics requires building facilities to host events, and the Nakiska Ski Area is an example of this. Calgary was host to the 1988 Winter Games, and this ski resort located west of Calgary, Alberta, held ten alpine events. Those visiting the ski resort will find the Olympic Flame still burning near the entrance.

Those driving here will use the Trans-Canada Highway 1 west from Calgary before transferring to Highway 40. Americans can use I-15 or other roadways in Montana to reach the Province of Alberta. Anyone flying here will use the Calgary International Airport and rental ground transportation to the resort just over an hour's drive west.

Skiing or Riding the Meeting Place

The Nakiska Ski Area gets its name from the Cree, with Nakiska roughly translating as "meeting place." It has served as that for local and International visitors since opening in 1986. A dozen lodging businesses are close enough to offer accommodations to guests at the resort, with options that can meet almost any budget or group size. Five areas sell drinks and food at the venue, ranging from fast grab-and-go to sit-down dining. That includes the BBQ, which is only open during holidays or special events.

The Nakiska Ski Area is home to the Sports Alpine Ski and Sports Boutique, selling top-tier gear, name-brand apparel, and slope necessities that everyone seems to forget. Rental equipment is offered online, with several packages and single items available for daily use.

The Telus Winter Sports School breaks lessons into skiing, snowboarding, and adaptive learning classes. "Calgary's Closest Mountain" also has a pre-season training center used by alpine teams of several countries. For non-athletes, that is an indicator of the level of equipment, snowmaking, grooming, and other facilities that make the Nakiska Ski Area a popular Winter destination for ski bums across the globe.

Top-Tier Ski or Ride Experience

The Nakiska Ski Area gets an average annual snowfall of 8.3 feet (just under 100 inches). To maintain its top-tier reputation, the facility uses a snowmaking system that covers 75-percent of the skiable terrain. That system is capable of generating 18-inches of snow over a square acre every hour. Grooming equipment helps to keep the base consistent for a safe and fun experience down each run.

The Nakiska Ski Area has a base elevation of 5,003 feet and a top elevation of 7,415 feet. Its 2,412-foot vertical creates the conditions that athletes need to stay at their best while offering casuals and first-timers access to the pow. There are 79 marked trails that guests can ski or ride down, with an in-bounds surface of 1,021 acres of skiable terrain. The longest run here is about two miles in length, with several other alpine trails offering plenty to ski or ride down as well.

Terrain ratings at the Nakiska Ski Area favor intermediate skiers and snowboarders, with 59-percent of the trails marked blue. Beginners have 13-percent of the mountain marked as green for learning, and the remaining 28-percent of the runs are black diamond/advanced (15 runs) or double black diamond/expert (nine runs). Six lifts create an uphill capacity of 8,830 guests an hour at the Nakiska Ski Area.

Nakiska Ski Area Snow forecast

  • Friday
    0.08 in rain
    3 mph
  • Saturday
    0.12 in rain
    Partly cloudy
    3 mph
  • Sunday
    0 ft
    4 mph

Facts about Nakiska Ski Area

Number of slopes:75
Easiest Green slopes:9
Intermediate Blue slopes:38
Advanced Black slopes:15
Expert Only Double black diamond slopes:9
Longest slope:10827 ft

Lifts (Total: 6)
Chair lifts:4
Magic carpet:2
Lift capacity:  8830 persons/hour

Vertical drop
Nakiska Ski Area Vertical drop
Highest Point: 7415 ft
Vertical drop: 2411 ft
Base Point: 5003 ft

Childrens area:1
Country: Canada
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Trail map

Trail map Nakiska Ski Area

Nearby ski resorts

Mt. Norquay26.7 miles
Sunshine Village29.2 miles
WinSport41.6 miles
Lake Louise55.9 miles
Panorama Mountain58.4 miles
Kicking Horse85.7 miles
Kimberley94.4 miles
Fernie Alpine101.9 miles

Airports near Nakiska Ski Area

Calgary International Airport
Driving time: 1 hour, 20 minutes (71 miles)
Distance: 51 miles