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  1. #1
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    Beginner XC in Calgary / K Country area?

    I live in Calgary. I have an almost 8 year old son who is learning to ride singletrack. My problem is a lack of trails suitable for him. In the city there are short bits and pieces of trails in Fish Creek park and the Bow River pathway (I'm in the SE) as well as Edworthy park that we've found. But I'd really like to take him on a real trail, that goes for more than a mile before you have to go back onto a gravel or paved path, and that doesn't require too much of a climb.

    I've read about a couple trails in Banff that sound suitable, but I'd like to avoid having to go that far and pay for the park pass since we currently don't have one. I've read about the Station Flats area trails and the beginner trails there sound like they are for beginner DHers; we don't have full-face helmets or armor.

    Even double-track would be better than nothing. We took him to the Elbow Loop and rode part of it as an out and back and that was fun. Does anybody have any other suggestions? I think I'm asking for the impossible.

    When I lived in Wisconsin my favorite trail system in the Kettle Moraine had several loops of varying lengths that offered something for all abilities and fitness levels. I so wish there was something like that within an hour of Calgary.

    Thanks for any ideas.

    Courtney

  2. #2
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    Canmore Nordic Centre has a bunch of XC trail loops that vary in technical challenge, it's a good way to see where his skills and interest might be, and provide options to switch it up at times. And because they are loops of various length you don't have to end up with a long walk back if he gets tuckered out. The trail map has elevation profiles so you can pick loops in advance knowing what they will be like. They have a bunch of proper single track, some wide gravel trails and some paved loops as well.

    http://www.trailsports.com/sites/def...mer_2010_0.pdf
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Beginner XC in Calgary / K Country area?-cnc2.jpg  

    Beginner XC in Calgary / K Country area?-cnc5.jpg  

    Beginner XC in Calgary / K Country area?-cnc9.jpg  

    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  3. #3
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    Nordic Centre will probably be your best bet. There are lots of easy trails to explore on Nose Hill. There's a good system developing in the West Bragg area. They are easy from a technical perspective, but most have significant elevation. However, you can combine many of the new singletracks with the easier ski trails, although the ski trails have highly variable conditions (some are perpetually muddy or overgrown).

    Maps

  4. #4
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    Thanks! I keep forgetting about the Nordic Centre for some reason. I see they have a skills area too; he might enjoy that a lot.

    Courtney

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your reply. I like to xc ski and snow shoe the West Bragg trails and am ticked off about the logging that is planned for the area. That would be such a shame if it goes ahead as planned. I think the amount of climbing there would be too much for my son just yet, although I've never been on the newest trails.

    I have never ridden Nose Hill. Is there a particular access point you'd recommend?

    Courtney

  6. #6
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    Today's ride - Headwaters of the Elbow. Much too long of a drive to do more than once a season, but I love the scenic views.


  7. #7
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    Good call on Nose Hill. Nose Hill mountain bike trails, Calgary, Alberta | bikepirate: get the latest dirt on trails to ride

    Bike Pirate in general might be the resource you need to find trails
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  8. #8
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    The best single track in Calgary is at COP in the east trees, the large wooded area east of the ski jump.

    I was there the other day...





  9. #9
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    Bike Pirate? I didn't know of this site. Thanks!

    Courtney

  10. #10
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    Those pictures look nice, especially since it's so hard to find many trees in this area. But nothing good is ever free, is it? I just checked out the ticket prices.

    Courtney

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spike View Post
    I have never ridden Nose Hill. Is there a particular access point you'd recommend?
    You can park at the top of the hill at Shaganappi Trail and Edgemont Blvd. The other trailheads will start you off with pretty much nowhere to go but up.

  12. #12
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    Definitely take advantage of the Canmore Nordic Centre. The trail system there is seemingly endless, with an incredible amount of variety. They guys at Trail Sports can give you some good recommendations for the trails that will best suit you.
    Screw the shuttle, I'm riding to the top. You're all worthless and weak!!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spike View Post
    Those pictures look nice, especially since it's so hard to find many trees in this area. But nothing good is ever free, is it? I just checked out the ticket prices.

    Courtney
    I'm not sure where you are referring to, there is no cost to ride the east side of COP.

  14. #14
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    Like the Canmore Nordic Centre, no charge to ride or park.

    And they have a webcam so you can see what the weather's like (at least for when you leave Calgary, no guarantee it will still look like that in the hour it takes to get there).

    http://www.trailsports.com/webcam/
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spike View Post
    I live in Calgary. I have an almost 8 year old son who is learning to ride singletrack. My problem is a lack of trails suitable for him. In the city there are short bits and pieces of trails in Fish Creek park and the Bow River pathway (I'm in the SE) as well as Edworthy park that we've found. But I'd really like to take him on a real trail, that goes for more than a mile before you have to go back onto a gravel or paved path, and that doesn't require too much of a climb.

    I've read about a couple trails in Banff that sound suitable, but I'd like to avoid having to go that far and pay for the park pass since we currently don't have one. I've read about the Station Flats area trails and the beginner trails there sound like they are for beginner DHers; we don't have full-face helmets or armor.

    Even double-track would be better than nothing. We took him to the Elbow Loop and rode part of it as an out and back and that was fun. Does anybody have any other suggestions? I think I'm asking for the impossible.

    When I lived in Wisconsin my favorite trail system in the Kettle Moraine had several loops of varying lengths that offered something for all abilities and fitness levels. I so wish there was something like that within an hour of Calgary.

    Thanks for any ideas.

    Courtney
    Station Flats and the Diamond T trail....

    Nose Hill, good two hour explorations.....

    West Bragg as tonnes of small trails.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    I'm not sure where you are referring to, there is no cost to ride the east side of COP.
    Oh? I'm confused. I was looking at the COP website and they have these mtb ticket prices listed: Canada Olympic Park - Hill Tickets Summer

    Heyyyyy, is that just for the chairlift? And it is OK to ride the trails for free otherwise? Or when you say east of COP do you mean outside the boundaries of COP?

    Thanks,

    Courtney

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spike View Post
    Oh? I'm confused. I was looking at the COP website and they have these mtb ticket prices listed: Canada Olympic Park - Hill Tickets Summer

    Heyyyyy, is that just for the chairlift? And it is OK to ride the trails for free otherwise? Or when you say east of COP do you mean outside the boundaries of COP?

    Thanks,

    Courtney
    Kinda of a grey area COP does not own the land...but they use it.....

    Basically you can just go ride it if you want.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Kinda of a grey area COP does not own the land...but they use it.....

    Basically you can just go ride it if you want.
    Very interesting, and good to know. Thanks!

    It looks like the Nordic Centre is in the works for us next weekend. Hopefully this awesome summer weather will last and we won't be riding in snow or sleet.

    Courtney

  19. #19
    I think this is a trail..
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    Hey Spike, don't forget about the Jumping Pound Creek loop, especially the part on the south side of the road might be fun for him. Also, check out GlenBow Ranch provincial park near Cochrane, might be something he would enjoy.

    I'm on call this weekend but if they leave me alone we'll take you guys on a tour of the Nordic Centre and also some single track near the area we rode last time. I'll just make sure not to return to the parking lot area before the ride is done this time!
    Yard Sale! Corner of Courage and Incompetence

  20. #20
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    Hey, Skog! I've been thinking about Jumping Pound Creek, wondering about when he could ride it. Probably next year. I've never heard of that prov park before. I'll have to check it out.

    I'm hoping for the best this weekend with the on-call situation. And the weather.

    courtney

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spike View Post
    Very interesting, and good to know. Thanks!

    It looks like the Nordic Centre is in the works for us next weekend. Hopefully this awesome summer weather will last and we won't be riding in snow or sleet.

    Courtney
    with long pants riding can easily go into Novemeber around here.....just depends on the big dump.

    well i ride all year but it does get a bit difficult sometimes...not really bigginer stuff...

    I saw a 5 year old doing fine on Ranger summit out of west bragg on the weekend.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spike View Post
    Today's ride - Headwaters of the Elbow. Much too long of a drive to do more than once a season, but I love the scenic views.

    Heck man,

    I live in the Okanagan and make 2 or three trips a year to there, Canmore, Fernie, etc.

  23. #23
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    We vacation in the Okanagan (Osoyoos) every year. Love the lake. Anyway, I meant it's a long drive for a day trip. I remember the good old days of biking weekends or longer trips to go riding. Good times.

    Courtney

  24. #24
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    Jeff -

    I find keeping hands and feet warm are the challenge for me when it gets cold. And sometimes nose and face. I got flats so I could wear boots instead of having a frozen chunk of metal under the balls of my feet, that helps. I do not have any winter cycling gloves yet for my son. I will have to try the xc ski shops to see if they have anything small enough. His hands are too small for even regular winter gloves; the fingers and thumbs are always too long. mitts are fine for going to school and playing in the snow... Not so good for riding.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spike View Post
    Jeff -

    I find keeping hands and feet warm are the challenge for me when it gets cold. And sometimes nose and face. I got flats so I could wear boots instead of having a frozen chunk of metal under the balls of my feet, that helps. I do not have any winter cycling gloves yet for my son. I will have to try the xc ski shops to see if they have anything small enough. His hands are too small for even regular winter gloves; the fingers and thumbs are always too long. mitts are fine for going to school and playing in the snow... Not so good for riding.
    Check out MEC Think big fat mitts...

    I can shift and change a tire with mitts....but I have been wearing them since I was 2.

    I have some cleated winter cycling boots....

    Check out Smith googles on their website they have snowmobile googles complete with a cheek and nose shield

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