Ski Confederation: successes, what we learned and next steps

This past winter Foothills Nordic embarked on a pilot project to enhance cross-country skiing at Confederation Park Golf Course. The goal of the project was to provide a more consistent and reliable cross country ski experience in Calgary for all Calgarians. The project was undertaken out of necessity, as WinSport announced the removal of the Nordic ski trail network in May 2016 to make way for the installation of a tube park.

As the ski season winds down we would like to share our successes, what we learned and next steps.

  • An estimated 15,000 skiers used Confederation between January and mid-March, including the general public, schools, other ski clubs and community groups.
  • Volunteers put in an estimated 1,800 hours to make the project possible.
  • $138,000 was raised through donations and grants. These funds were used to acquire equipment for snow making, snow moving, harvesting, grooming, facilities and to cover operating expenses.
  • The adjacent Canmore Park was also groomed by volunteers for the first time.
What we learned:
  • Community feedback was largely positive.
  • We established a volunteer operation from scratch and learned a lot in the process!
  • We reaffirmed that snowmaking and snow harvesting are necessary to minimize the impact of chinooks on ski trails in Calgary.
  • Snowmaking proved challenging but we gained significant experience to apply next year.
  • Mechanized snow farming and harvesting should be possible and will be more efficient.
  • High trail usage may necessitate more frequent grooming but requires careful monitoring in low snow conditions to minimize degradation.
What’s next for Ski Confederation:
  • Continue to work with the City of Calgary.
  • Meet with other local Nordic clubs to discuss collaboration.
  • Refine our operation/facility organizational structure.
  • Fill volunteer roles well in advance of 2017/18 season kick off.
  • Determine operating funding model for next season.
Thanks to:
  • The City of Calgary.
  • The more the than 330 donors who contributed to our fundraising campaign.
  • Sponsorship from Lifesport, Trail Sports and the Norseman.
  • Grants from Parks Foundation Calgary Amateur Sport Grant, Alberta Government Community Initiatives Program and MEC.
  • The MANY volunteers who committed their time and energy to making this project successful.

This is a volunteer initiative! Learn about next season’s volunteer opportunities, discover how you can share your time and be part of the Ski Confederation success story. Email us at [email protected].

Useful links:
  • To assist with operating costs please donate here.  Operating costs must be covered each season and include water for snow making, equipment maintenance, fuel for grooming and snow-making equipment, rental fencing, outhouse rental etc.
  • Learn more about the Ski Confederation project.
  • Learn more about Ski Trails in Calgary.

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