Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ten Reasons to Spend Time at Kananaskis Village This Winter

We recently spent a weekend at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge and I was reminded of how much I LOVE Kananaskis Village. Whether you can afford to stay overnight or not matters little because most of our favourite things are accessible to day users (including the fancy pool and spa at the lodge!)

Below are our top ten favourite things to do in winter at Kananaskis Village as a day user or as a guest of the Pomeroy Lodge.

1. Go Skiing or Boarding at Nakiska Mountain Resort

Nakiska Resort is a great ski hill and is the one we feel most comfortable at as a family. Not only is it the closest hill to Calgary for day trips, it's also small and easy to navigate. Lift lines are generally short and the beginner learning area is free for all users. This is where my son learned to ski and we've enjoyed blending a few hours of skiing with an hour at the tube park. When we get tired of the crowds at the hill, we make our way down to Kananaskis Village for a cup of Starbucks coffee in the Lodge and some time spent in front of the fireplace relaxing.

Check out my newest ski story: Off to a Great Start at Nakiska Ski Resort

Nakiska Mountain Resort

2. Visit the Pomeroy Lodge for Brunch on Sundays (with access to the Summit Spa)

This is something that isn't really advertised anywhere, but the staff at the Summit Spa confirmed for me that Sunday brunch reservations include access to the lodge swimming pool, indoor/outdoor hot tub, and steam rooms  (my favourite one is infused with eucalyptus oil.)

To make a reservation, call the front desk at the lodge. (and it's always a good idea to verify spa and pool access in case policies should change at some point.)

Indoor/outdoor hot tub at the Pomeroy Lodge
Not a bad place to spend an hour or two at Kananaskis Village
The Lodge Swimming Pool

3. Go Shopping at Kananaskis Outfitters

Known primarily as an outfitter for tours and rentals, this small shop also carries an amazing collection of outdoor gear and clothing. So far this season I have found a new favourite pair of cross country ski pants at the store along with a new tuque that matches my light puffy jacket to perfection. Safe to say it is not wise for me to spend too much time at this store!

While you're at the shop, book a  moonlight snowshoe tour or rent a pair of cross country skis for the trails around the Village. They also rent fat bikes, skates, and pretty much anything you'd need to enjoy outdoor time in Kananaskis.

More info. can be found on the Kananaskis Outfitters website. They are located in the Kananaskis Village Centre, tucked in behind a gift shop.

Kananaskis Outfitters has everything to get you out on the trails

4. Go Skating on the Village Pond

The Village skating pond is groomed and ready to go for the season. It is located right beside Kananaskis Outfitters (where you can rent skates should you need) and is a fun little place for kids to skate. It's also a great spot for a small family hockey game with sticks permitted on the ice. For a real game though, there is also a hockey rink at the village so save the slap sticks for the rink please.

Skating on the Pond at Kananaskis Village

5. Go Cross country skiing on the Village Trails

There are approximately 12 km of trails in the immediate Village area, all groomed and track set. Descend to Ribbon Creek and you have another 20+ km of trails.

Our favourite short loop is the 3 km Terrace Loop which is relatively flat and great for beginner skiers. Once the kids can do this loop, try lengthening it with a climb up Kovach and Aspen to the meadow on the Aspen trail for a 6 km loop. There is a very exciting descent down to the village at the end on the Kovach Trail.

Easy skiing near Kananaskis Village

For another easy option, try skiing the Bill Milne Trail which is another great family-friendly option free of any large hills as long as you stay close to the highway. The best section with kids goes from Kovach Pond to the Mount Kidd RV Park. Set up a shuttle and ski it one way from Mount Kidd for an easy glide in the downhill direction.

All trails can be seen on this trail map

Learning to ski at Kananaskis Village

6. Go for a Hike and Explore the New Ribbon Creek Trail or Hike to Troll Falls

The hike to Troll Falls has long been a family favourite in the Kananaskis Village area. The hike is short at 3 km round trip and when there's enough snow you can even ski to the falls for those who prefer cross country skiing to hiking. One never needs snowshoes for this hike as the trail is always well packed down and easy to walk on. (note that if you are walking, please stay off of the ski tracks and move to the side if you see skiers coming down a hill towards you.)

Troll Falls in Winter

The other hike that I recommend is the trail up Ribbon Creek below the Village. This trail has been fixed since the flood and is great for snowshoeing. The ski trail climbs up above the creek but the hiking and fat biking trail follows the creek and travels through a winter wonderland of snow covered bridges.

Both trails can be seen on this trail map.

Skiing along the Hay Meadow Trail near Ribbon Creek and Troll Falls

7. Try a Full Moon Snowshoe Tour

Kananaskis Outfitters runs an evening snowshoe tour on nights where there is a full moon. It's a fun easy tour which includes snowshoe rentals and a chocolate fondue at the end. For full details and dates, visit the Kananaskis Outfitters website. The company also runs fat bike waterfall tours to Troll Falls along with numerous other guided winter tours.

Moonlight Snowshoe Tours at Kananaskis Outfitters

8. Go For Coffee at the Lodge and Hang out by the Fireplace

I feel like I've been living at Kananaskis Village because I've been hanging out at the lodge a LOT this winter.  I love the fireplace room inside the Lodge and it's a great place to warm up after skiing or snowshoeing. The new Market Cafe serves Starbucks Coffee along with delectable pastries, goodies, and light snacks. No matter where we go play in Kananaskis, we always stop off at the Village on the way home to grab a coffee and hang out by the fireplace in the lodge. There's also enough room for the kids to run around a bit (provided they aren't too wild) before the drive back to the city.

Hanging out by the fireplace in the Pomeroy Lodge at Kananaskis

9. Go Sledding in the Village

There is a small sledding hill at Kananaskis Village tucked back in beside the hockey rink and the playground. Combined with an hour or so on the skating rink, it's a great way to spend half a day at the village.

Sizing up the sledding hill at Kananaskis Village

10. Go for Dinner at the new Forte Restaurant

The lodge has undergone recent renovations and the new family restaurant is open.

"Forte Restaurant features a partial open kitchen with two wood-fire ovens used to prepare delicious handmade pizzas, roasted meats, fish & seasonal vegetables. It is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended for dinner. "

Combine your evening with some night-skating on the moonlit pond or a full moon snowshoe tour.

Dinner and a little moonlit skating at Kananaskis Village

For full information on the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Kananaskis Village, and all amenities or services please visit the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge website.

Disclaimer: This story was not paid for or sponsored. All words and opinions are my own.

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