SCIJ Canada

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About Canmore
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SCIJ Canada is thrilled to reawaken Olympic memories with the cross-country competitions at the beautiful Canmore Nordic Centre.  Here, we’ll all test speed, skill and – puff, puff – endurance, on the same trails graced by the world’s best at Calgary’s 1988 Olympic Winter Games. 

(And just nearby, some may even find themselves walking in the footsteps of Brad Pitt!)

With more than 70 km of trails, Canmore is one of the world’s premier cross-country ski domains.  It has hosted many national and international championships, including the 2005 and ’08 World Cups, and the 1997 World Junior Championships.  A $25-million refurbishment for the ’08 event has enhanced its appeal even more.  State-of-the-art snowmaking, grooming machinery and timing equipment guarantee first-quality race and pleasure skiing throughout the winter.

About 30 km southeast of Banff townsite, Canmore serves as the main training venue for Canada’s Olympic cross-country and biathlon teams.  In addition, the national squads from several other countries often train at Canmore.

The area was designated a provincial park in 2000, and has become a summer attraction long after the snow has melted.  An interpretive trail leads down to and along the west bank of the Bow River to the remains of Georgetown, a once thriving coal mining centre, but now one of the many ghost towns that dot western Canada.  Many other trails meander the area, with hiking and biking paths leading all the way to Banff.

Its spectacular surroundings and the town itself make Canmore is a favoured filming location for big-budget Hollywood productions, among them Grizzly Falls; Mystery, Alaska; The Edge; and Snow Dog.  As for Brad Pitt . . .  No, he wasn’t here to ski, but to star in two huge westerns, Legends of the Fall and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

An attraction of a different sort is Canmore’s original Northwest Mounted Police post, built in 1892. (The NWMP was the original name of the legendary Royal Canadian Mounted Police.)  Amateur geologists will enjoy the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre highlighting the region’s rich geological history and its importance to the town’s growth and related industries.

But Canmore’s main attraction at SCIJ ’11 will certainly be its Nordic ski trails.  At the ’88 Olympics, langlaufers from the old Soviet Union ran away from the competition, with a haul of 13 cross-country medals.  Here’s hoping for a more even distribution of prizes this time, but with Canmore’s beauty and efficiency, it’s a guaranteed spectacular experience for everyone.