The winter Olympics are front and centre these days as the countdown to the Olympics gets closer. The anticipation and focus this past week has been on the naming of the Canadian men’s hockey team. However being a skier I have been more tuned to the Nordic sports; specifically cross country skiing and biathlon.

Biathlon – what a sport! Go ski your guts out and then come into a range pull out a rifle and – while you are trying to catch your breath with your chest heaving up and down – shoot at a target 50 meters away the size of a Toonie, our Canadian $2 coin. That’s a sport.

I will admit my bias here as our family has been immersed in the biathlon scene for a number of years. It doesn’t change my view though.

With some recent success from both our national biathlon and cross country ski teams on the world cup and the famous Holiday Tour Du Ski, Canadians are hearing about our Nordic sports more and more. So they should! We are a Nordic country and celebrating winter is a good thing – after all, we live it for over 6 months of the year.

Our Nordic sports are something that anyone can embrace as an observer or a participant. Most places in our country experience snow (maybe not Victoria) or at least can access it close by.

Cross country skiing is simple; to get out and enjoy it all you need is a pair of skis and a pair of boots. They don’t need to be expensive and you don’t need the fancy clothing to go with it. Although the tights do look good! Heck – a pair of jeans, some wool socks and toque coupled with a runny nose is all that you need.

Often you can find a local ski club that has trails and a rental shop. Go out for an hour with the family. Some places even have dog friendly trails where the dog can join you for a cruise through the woods. It is great exercise, (think Christmas over indulgence!) easier on your knees and bones than running and you get to glide through some amazing scenery.

Living close to the Canmore Nordic Centre, home of Canada’s National Biathlon and Cross country ski teams, there are great trails. These aren’t just for the hardcore ski racers: families, big kids, little kids, seniors, recreationists and first timers all share the tracks.

Olympic Winter Games Trials

The young people competing this week in Canmore are the epitome of health. They train hard, Play hard and have set themselves up for being fit for life. It is a lifestyle to admire. You doun’t need to compete at that level though. Wether you head out once a week, once a month, or even a trip with friends once a year, it is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise. Having an active healthy life is a benefit that these kids model.

Cheer the Nordic teams on at the upcoming Winter Olympics. Maybe there is someone from your town, province or even another country that holds some meaning. Celebrate… but keep your eyes on the Americans, they are charging hard.

Want to see skiing in a whole new way? Join us at Lake O’Hara Lodge and ski the nearby trails or trek to the Opabin Glacier!