Winter sport enthusiasts in Airdrie have a new amenity to test out.
After a few years of discussion and presentations to council, the City of Airdrie was able to groom and set tracks for a kilometre-long cross-country skiing loop at Chinook Winds Regional Park last week.
“We are excited to have another amenity in Airdrie that gets people active during the winter and will provide long-term positive impact to the community,” said Mayor Peter Brown, in a City press release on Friday. “This initiative helps activate our existing city spaces and could potentially benefit our future sport tourism opportunities.”
Council endorsed the amenity back on June 22, 2021, voting to use legacy funds from hosting the 2020 Alberta Winter Games (a $258,000 surplus) to start an Airdrie Sport Council. One of the council's goals was to develop a cross-country ski loop.
Council heard an update on the project on Dec. 5, 2022, which stated the amenity would be ready for public use by the end of January.
“The Airdrie Sport Council’s goal is to increase opportunities for the community to come together through sport and facilitate growth in sport participation,” said Grant Erickson, Chair of the Airdrie Sport Council, in the release.
“Cross country skiing was showcased at the 2020 Winter Games, and increasing participation options represents a large opportunity for our community based on successful models in neighbouring municipalities. This really is the leading initiative to grow the sport in Airdrie that will be followed up by the upcoming formation of the Airdrie Nordic Club."
The Airdrie Sport Council purchased cross-country ski equipment for $18,222.94, with the money coming from the legacy funds from the 2020 Alberta Winter Games, and a $15,677 Community Initiatives Program grant from the provincial government.
Legacy funding is a surplus from the games that includes funds raised from the community and public funds from the City and Province, according to the City. The intent of legacy funds is to enhance further sport development in the community either through programs and initiatives or capital projects.
The one-kilometre loop was officially groomed and available for use on Saturday. The loop takes skiers around the four baseball diamonds at Chinook Winds Regional Park and is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The trail's status is updated regularly on the City's website.
The Parks Department will be responsible for the maintenance, development, and operation of the trail throughout the year.
For more info, visit this link.