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My favorite place to go in Calgary is one I can see directly out of my bedroom window. When I gaze out, my eyes are lead to three ski jump towers. The biggest of which, though on its own is not bigger than some of the office towers in downtown, is the highest point in Calgary because it’s on a huge hill. These three jumps are accompanied by a huge Canadian flag, aproximately 50 meters high. Below the flag there is a huge hill cloaked in snow, busy with lights, chair-lifts, T-bars and snowblowers. Below that is a lodge, and if I focuse enough on the hill I can see tiny little black dots gliding down on skis or snowboards.

Built in 1986, for some it is a monument of the 1988 Winter Olympics which, (by the way) Calgary was proud to host. For others it is just a great place to ski or snowboard. Located on the TransCanada highway, it is about 15 minutes away from the core of Calgary and considered to be a gateway to the rocky mountains. Canada Olympic Park provides free parking, unlike other tourist attractions specific to Calgary, such as the Saddledome. This unique facility has hosted thousands of tourists from all over the globe, and it is great to not have to go all the way up to the Rocky Mountains to do some quality skiing or snowboarding.

Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum

The museum and the Hall of Fame are a shining tribute to the Olympic ideal. The Olympic Hall of Fame, the biggest of it’s kind in North America, has a variety of features such as :
-A state-of-the-art theatre where you can re-live the inspirational triumphs of the last Olympics.
-The many exhibits displayed in the « Olympic Challenge Gallery ». Located on the third floor of the lodge, this Gallery shows what’s needed to become an Olympian.
-A Bobleigh simulator allows you to experience every twist and turn of a bobsleigh track. Although it’s all fun, a real bobsleigh track is right beside the ski hill.

What makes it so great for me

I never realized how neat it is to have a place where I can snowboard that’s so close to home until now. Other places similar to Canada Olympic Park, such as Sunshine and Lake Louise, that are in the Calgary area can result to over an hour and a half of driving to get there.

Although a great portion of the snow is artificial, the skiing conditions are quite good. It may not seem like something that you should rush out right now to catch the next plane to Calgary to go to, but, as a snowboarder, it’s a big part of my life.

The cafeteria offers a great variety of warm and cold foods. There are a lot of tables and seats there to suit the busy environment, and there are TVs hung through the cafeteria. These TVs are currently showing footage from the last Olympics because the winter games are not far off, but normally they show quality footage of skiers and snowboarders performing unbeleivable tricks…or unbelievable wipe-outs. Unlike in the mountains, if it gets really cold the lodge is right there, so you can turn in for some hot chocalate any time it gets cold.

Canada Olympic Park, otherwise known as COP, is my favorite place in Calgary. My last visit was two days ago, and I intend on going again very soon .

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