Calgary

New tube park at Canada Olympic Park to displace cross-country ski trails

A cross-country ski club in Calgary says it may have to fold because Canada Olympic Park plans to get rid of half of its trails to make way for a tube park.

Foothills Nordic Ski Club, which instructs 400 kids, fears it may have to close

The Foothills Nordic Ski Club teaches cross-country skiing to about 400 children but may have to shut down as trails are lost to a new tube park at COP and a new road being built to a nearby development. (Kevin McLean)

A cross-country ski club in Calgary says it may have to fold because Canada Olympic Park plans to get rid of half of its trails to make way for a tube park.

Foothills Nordic Ski Club president Kevin McLean isn't sure the club could survive the loss of guaranteed, snow-covered track that it currently relies on at COP.

"We'd be looking at 400 kids that we might not be able to provide any instruction to, so it would be a sport we wouldn't be able to introduce them to," McLean said.

At issue is a 2.2-kilometre track that could be reduced to a single kilometre — or possibly disappear completely — as COP looks to add a tube park to its recreational offerings and a new road is built to a nearby development.

A tube park is a section of a ski hill where guests can slide down snow on inflatable tubes.

Winsport, which runs COP, is hoping the addition of a tube park will help boost revenue in the wake of milder winters and higher snow-making costs, combined with a reduction in customers in Calgary's weakened economy.

"We have to continue to look at different revenue streams and how can we make sure that Winsport is around 25, 30 years from now," Winsport spokesperson Dale Oviatt said.

Winsport spokesperson Dale Oviatt says Canada Olympic Park (COP) needs new revenue streams to survive. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

"The big thing for us is something like a tube park, hopefully, will bring lots more people to the park."

McLean says the club should know by later this week more precisely how the new tube park will impact its operations.

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