Derek’s Dismal Winter Pastime Misfortunes
We’ve heard the adage “If you build it, they will come”. Might the same principle apply to other things, like “if you speak it, it will happen”?
The winter of 2017/8 was a particularly cold one in Calgary, if my memory serves me right. We saw few – if any – Chinooks. These “warm” mountain winds traditionally blow across the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains, creating our unseasonably warm micro-climate. These pockets of warm respite enable Calgarians to enjoy milder outdoor temperatures throughout the frigid winter months or, at the very least, shrink our ever-growing sidewalk snow banks to icy puddles before the next winter storm rolls in from the north. These cycles never happened last winter. As a result, we never ventured out to enjoy the local slopes.
This winter, on the other hand, has seen Calgarians experiencing little snow and, when we do, it doesn’t stick around for very long. Our brown Christmas gave way to an equally brown New Year, with our heaviest snow storms to-date probably having been experienced in early October. Back then we thought we were in for a hectic winter. But on the contrary, we continue to enjoy a pleasantly moderate winter. I don’t necessarily wish for that to change.
However, back to my comment about speaking things into being. If I bring up the topic of family-friendly winter outdoor activities like tobogganing, skating and skiing do I run the risk of interfering with the weather systems? Being that we are supposed to be in the thick of winter this would normally seem like a very beneficial topic to blog about. So, at the risk of becoming a local weather influencer, I’m going to share with you my favourite toboggan and sledding slopes around the city. Perhaps the snow will begin to fly in the coming days, as a result?
My Winter Pastime Misfortunes
As a precursor to this I should warn you that my proficiency on the slopes, whether downhill skiing or tobogganing, have been memorable – but for the wrong reasons! My first-ever downhill skiing experience was at Snow Valley north of Toronto on my 30th birthday. My brother treated me to some night skiing using borrowed ski equipment. The medical evacuation team extracted me from the ski hill after my first attempt on a green slope resulted in a torn ligament in my left knee. I’ve never attempted downhill skiing again.
Fast-forward 8 years and I found myself visiting close friends in Vancouver. They offered to take me tobogganing on one of the city’s heaviest snow days. I cautiously recollected my less-than-stellar downhill skiing encounter and figured that tobogganing was a risk-downgrade compared to my 30th birthday endeavours. I eagerly accepted their proposal. We went to Burnaby where, I’m embarrassed to say, I succeeded in colliding with the only tree stump at the bottom of the popular toboggan slope on my very first run. As I lay on my back trying to catch my breath, desperate to scrape together even a small ounce of dignity, I realized with much embarrassment that I was surrounded by a multitude of excitedly screeching kids who were having a whale of a time. I quietly vowed to never attempt snow sports again.
Based on my track record, African immigrants are clearly not meant to share in winter sport pastimes. I regret that I have similar stories about ice skating and cross-country skiing.
Using that reflection as a platform for my recommendations, you can pretty much guarantee that my list of slopes might be somewhat benign. At the same time, though, I’m convinced you’ll have a load of fun visiting these locations. Just be sure to at least wait until they are snow-covered … which, at this rate, might not even happen this winter!
With that being said, here’s my list.
Family-friendly Toboggan and Sledding Slopes
Click on the blue highlighted destination name in the table below for additional information on the location provided by the City of Calgary (www.calgary.ca).
Click on the ☃️-icon adjacent to the destination name to take you to that destination in Google maps.
(*) Not for the faint-of-heart!
Confederation Park – ☃️
Hidden Valley – ☃️
Royal Oak – ☃️
St. Andrew’s Heights* – ☃️
Big Marlborough Park – ☃️
Deerfoot Athletic Park – ☃️
Fonda Park – ☃️
Marlborough Comm. Assoc. – ☃️
Monterey Park – ☃️
Prairie Winds Park – ☃️
Rundle – ☃️
Thorncliffe / Greenview – ☃️
Bridlewood – ☃️
Glendale Park – ☃️
Kingsland – ☃️
Richmond Green – ☃️
Sacramento – ☃️
Scraboro – ☃️
Signal Hill – ☃️
McKenzie Towne – ☃️
Maple Ridge – ☃️
New Brighton – ☃️
|Downtown / Inner City:|
Bridgeland – ☃️
Stanley Park – ☃️
The Rise at St Patrick’s Island Park – ☃️
I’m eager to get feedback from you with your recommendations, experiences or wipe-out stories!