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Winter Activities

Skiing in Canada

Skiing is a sport that has been captivating adventure-seekers, serious athletes, and curious observers for decades. The activity has gone well beyond the simple scope of family fun or tourist diversion to become a major, wildly popular section of the Winter Olympic Games, has attracted a worldwide following of professional sportsmen who "hit the slopes" on a daily basis, and has even spawned a collection of emerging, radical recreational sports. But the real thrill of skiing began when the efficient function of transportation, for which skiing was used as early as 5000 BCE, was blended with the sheer fun of swirling around the mountaintops; you could say that Canada's rich tradition of skiing was born out of experimentation and a willingness to goof around. This tinkering spirit was present among Canadian sportsmen of the late nineteenth century, who adapted the practices of snowshoeing, sledding, and Canadian cross-country skiing for transport across the icy north to experiment with rushing downhill and effectively maneuvering through the environment rather than steadily traveling over even, level terrain. By the 1890's, the activity had attracted scores of Canadians and curious visitors, launching several ski clubs and seeing the development of the lodge and lift, as well as other classic accoutrements that have evolved into the accessories we know today.

And today, skiing is one of Canada's largest industries, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to the slopes, where enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can let loose, enjoy the beautiful views, fresh mountain air, and get a full-body, invigorating workout. But a truly rewarding trip to Canada's majestic ski country requires a good measure of preparation, ensuring that safety and support are in place to allow the skier to relax and have a positive, memorable experience. Ski gear consists of the set of skis themselves, a binding which includes supportive boots to protect the feet and ankles and keep the skis secure, and a set of poles. Other important ski equipment includes protective gear such as helmets or goggles, and of course warm, layered clothing to insulate body heat. Ski gear does vary by tradition and application; Canadian alpine skiing will require slightly different equipment than will be necessary for Canadian cross-country skiing or heli-skiing (a downhill sport that utilizes a helicopter rather than a lift). Of course, Canadian skiers have a variety of options when it comes to gearing up for the sport. Rentals can be purchased at the vast majority of resorts and lodges, letting occasional enthusiasts experience top quality equipment without having to invest in a permanent set of gear. Those planning on spending the majority of the season on the slopes can lease Canadian skiing equipment for a short-term duration, ensuring great equipment is always at hand. But serious skiers will probably want to consult with a knowledgeable vendor to select a set of equipment to buy, which, in tandem with understanding how to maintain and care for each piece, allow the athlete to train and travel at will.

Skiing in Canada is a pastime beloved by scores of folks throughout North America and beyond; with mile after mile of pristine snowy landscape, the country is home to scores of resorts and clubs. Perhaps most famous is the Canada Olympic Park in Alberta, the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Other notable venues include the Apex Mountain Resort in British Columbia, Nova Scotia's Cape Smokey, the Blue and Boler Mountains of Ontario, and Camp Fortune in Quebec. These top-level locations and resorts present visitors with everything from Canadian alpine skiing and Canadian cross-country skiing to ski lessons and everything in between. Skiing in Canada can be enjoyed on one's own, making it a great escape with which to get in touch with nature and re-energize. But many people find that Canadian skiing is greatly enhanced by bringing along one's friends or family, and most Canadian skiing resorts and clubs cater to groups of many sizes, offering group rates or discounts, as well as fun Canadian winter activities for those of all ages and experience levels.

Snowfall at most of the major ski areas and resorts is reliably good throughout the season, while sparse snowfall years and high-traffic areas are quickly and easily patched up with snow cannons, which operate by aerating water and letting it freeze before shooting it out as man-made, powdery snow perfect for Canadian alpine skiing and a variety of other winter sports. Skiing in Canada is indeed closely linked to the weather, which can be a skier's blessing or worst nightmare. Respect for the power of nature as well as basic safety guidelines will ensure that any enthusiast can get the most out of their season, however. Winter activities in Canada are an essential part of the country's pride and sense of identity; from cross-country skiing in Canada to snowboarding in Canada, alpine skiing in Canada to snowshoeing in Canada, each sport defines that experimental spirit and takes full advantage of the country's natural beauty. Become part of the thrill, adventure, and outright fun that has kept Canada's tourism industry thriving for decades; experience skiing in Canada!
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