The town of Canmore remains a sports and tourism destination 25 years after it helped host the 1988 Winter Olympics.

The small mountain community west of Calgary hosted the Nordic ski events during the games.

"It must have been quite an adjustment for that little town because it certainly grew up overnight," said Wendy Bryden, who was a member of the organizing committee for the Games.

"I don't think anybody could have imagined what it was going to become."

Canmore had been a coal mining town until that industry went into a downturn in the 1970s and the last mines closed in the Bow Valley.

It became home to many people in the mountain climbing community, but the town was looking for a wider identity by the 1980s.

"If I had had my $20,000 when I was 19, I should have bought something on Main Street because that's what you could have done," said longtime resident Trish Falconer.

Olympic investment

The Canmore Nordic Centre was developed for the 1988 Games where the cross-country skiing and biathlon events were held.

With additional investment since then, the Centre has remained a world class facility and continues to host international events.

"It means a lot to residents who use this facility everyday of the week, and for people in the region, from Calgary and elsewhere who come for events and to ski and mountain bike, run and have a great time up here," said Jamie Carpenter, spokesperson for the Nordic Centre.

A condominium boom has helped Canmore become a year-round international sports and tourism destination.