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Nakiska Ski Resort
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Slopes of Nakiska on Mount Allan in March 2007
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Nakiska Ski Resort
Location in Canada
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Nakiska Ski Resort
Nakiska Ski Resort (Canada)
LocationMount Allan, Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada
Nearest major city Calgary: 83 km (52 mi)
Coordinates 50°56′38″N115°08′49″W / 50.944°N 115.147°W / 50.944; -115.147 Coordinates: 50°56′38″N115°08′49″W / 50.944°N 115.147°W / 50.944; -115.147
Vertical   735 m (2,411 ft)
Top elevation2,260 m (7,410 ft) [1]
Base elevation1,525 m (5,003 ft)
Skiable area1,021 acres (4.13 km2)
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 16% - Easiest
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 70% - More Difficult
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 10% - Most Difficult
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg 4% - Expert
Longest run3.3 km (2.1 mi)
Lift system 4 Chairlifts
- 3 High Speed Quads
- 1 Double
1 Magic Carpet
Lift capacity8,830 / hr
Snowfall 250 cm (100 in)
Snowmaking Extensive, 75%
Night skiing No

Nakiska is a ski resort in western Canada, in the Kananaskis Country region of the province of Alberta. It is located 83 km (52 mi) from Calgary, west on Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) and south on Highway 40 (Kananaskis Trail). "Nakiska" is a Cree word meaning "to meet" or "meeting place." [2] [3]


Set on the east face of the southern end of Mount Allan, Nakiska has 64 trails with four chairlifts (3 high-speed quads and 1 double), 1 Reg Magic Carpet and 1 Monster Carpet) set up over an area of 3 km2 (1.2 sq mi). [1] The longest run has 3.3 km (2.1 mi), from a top lift-served elevation of 2,258 m (7,408 ft) to the base at 1,479 m (4,852 ft).

Nakiska is owned by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which also owns the Fernie, Kimberley, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Mont Sainte Anne, and Stoneham ski resorts. [4]


The site was selected in 1983 [5] [6] and opened for skiing in the fall of 1986, [7] [8] [9] in preparation for the 1988 Winter Olympics. Pre-Olympic races on the North American Cup circuit (Nor-Am) were held in December 1986 [10] [11] and World Cup downhill and super G races were held in March 1987. [12] [13]

At the 1988 Winter Olympics, Nakiska hosted the ten alpine events, as well as freestyle moguls skiing, then a demonstration event. [14] A temporary surface lift to the gusty top of the mountain was used for the men's downhill event. This poma can be seen from the top of the "Gold Chair" and is sometimes used for avalanche control. The starting gate of the men's Olympic downhill was at 2,412 m (7,913 ft), 154 m (505 ft) above the present lift-served summit. That race was postponed a day due to 98 mph (158 km/h) winds at the summit. [15] [16]

In 2008, Nakiska was named the official training centre of Alpine Canada (ACA). Each year Nakiska, welcomes alpine teams from around the world for early season ski training. During the summer of 2008 the ski area embarked on a series of renovations. Snowmaking enhancements increased capacity by 33%. The 100 metre Monster Magic Carpet was added and the creation of a dedicated Training Run was completed on Mapmaker.

In 2009, in preparation for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, more enhancements occurred. A new high-speed quad lift was installed (Gold Chair Express), replacing the original fixed-grip (Gold) triple chairlift. The ride time is 4.7 minutes, less than half of the previous chair's 9.7 minutes.

In 2009 new ski trails were also created with the addition of the new Monster Glades (trails in the trees). [17]

The Olympic flame still burns at the entrance to the resort. Of note is that the men's downhill shown on the board inside the restaurant is not the actual run used, with test skiers saying the proposed run was too easy the men's downhill course was changed with only 3 days to go, leaving no time to change the course board which has already been painted and mounted on the wall inside the restaurant.

On November 13, 2017, the French Alpine ski racer David Poisson died in a crash during training. [18]

See also

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  1. 1 2 Ski Nakiska. "Statistics". Archived from the original on 2014-04-18. Retrieved 2007-07-01.
  2. Ireland, Joanne (December 11, 1986). "Mt. Allan weathers criticism". Edmonton Journal. p. E7.
  3. "Skiers rave about mountain". Spokane Chronicle. Associated Press. December 25, 1987. p. D2.
  4. Resort of the Canadian Rockies
  5. "Mount Allan set for pre-Olympic ski challenges". Calgary Herald. September 22, 1986. p. E4.
  6. "Ski body supports Mount Allan site". Montreal Gazette. Canadian Press. December 8, 1983. p. B-17.
  7. "Nakiska is for all". Edmonton Journal. November 20, 1986. p. E5.
  8. Slade, Daryl (December 4, 1986). "Nakiska ready for onslaught of enthusiasts". Calgary Herald. p. E8.
  9. Ireland, Joanne (December 11, 1986). "Mixed reviews for Nakiska". Edmonton Journal. p. E8.
  10. Slade, Daryl (December 4, 1986). "Skiers to put Mount Allan to the test". Calgary Herald. p. E8.
  11. Woods, Paul (December 12, 1986). "Mount Allan faces official FIS test". Ottawa Citizen. Canadian Press. p. C2.
  12. McConachie, Doug (March 9, 1987). "Graham finishes second, still has shot at ski title". Star-Phoenix. Saskatoon. p. B-3.
  13. McConachie, Doug (March 16, 1987). "Boyd new Canadian downhill king". Star-Phoenix. Saskatoon. p. B-2.
  14. 1988 Winter Olympics official report. Part 1. pp. 128-43.
  15. Lochner, Bob (February 16, 1988). "Zurbriggen snatches downhill gold". Eugene Register-Guard. (Los Angeles Times). p. 3D.
  16. "Zurbriggen not worrying about gold". Toledo Blade. Associated Press. February 16, 1988. p. 18.
  17. Ski Nakiska News and Info - Monster Glades addition
  18. Inc., Midwest Communications. "Alpine skiing-Frenchman Poisson dies in training accident". 1450 99.7 WHTC. Retrieved 14 November 2017.