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Cross-country skiing

Edmonton Nordic Ski Club Snowmaking Project

The City of Edmonton and Edmonton Nordic Ski Club (ENSC) are working in partnership on a trail upgrade and snowmaking project for Gold Bar Park. This snowmaking project will enhance Gold Bar Park by providing safer trails and a reliable, extended cross-country ski season for the greater Edmonton community, even in low-snow years.

The snowmaking project has 2 goals: 

  • The installation of snowmaking infrastructure.
  • The enhancement of trail systems to improve public safety and accommodate cross-country ski grooming equipment.

Project Timelines

Date Activity
December 2015/January 2016 Snowmaking start up 
August - October, 2015 Installation
July 2015 Project start up (equipment and supplies)
June 2015 & ongoing Public information (website, community newsletters, signage on site)
May - June, 2015 Notification to stakeholders

History of the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club in Gold Bar Park

The Edmonton Nordic Ski Club, in collaboration with the City of Edmonton, built and continues to maintain a 10-kilometre network of cross-country ski trails in Gold Bar and Goldstick Parks.

Over the past 10 years, the partners have invested over $1 million in trail development, trail lighting, tree planting, facilities and grooming equipment. 

Exceptional recreational and competitive cross-country skiing experiences, including ski instruction and outdoor education, are provided in the Edmonton region for citizens, students, athletes and private groups. 

Ongoing ENSC activities include:

  • Adult lessons
  • Learn-to-ski program for children
  • Cross-country and biathlon ski development and racing for youth and masters
  • Development programs for coaches
  • Cross-country ski equipment swap
  • Social activities
  • Annual river valley spring clean up in the Gold Bar and Goldstick Parks

The Edmonton Nordic Ski Club is open to all, with approximately 700 members, including 250 families.

The Need for Snowmaking and Trail Upgrades

Recent low and no snow years have resulted in poor-to-marginal cross-country ski conditions in the Edmonton region. This has had a tremendous impact on the recreational and professional skiers.

With the installation of the water line through Gold Bar Park in 2005, an opportunity arose to develop the snowmaking infrastructure that would provide a reliable ski venue and an extended ski season for enthusiasts. 

With the snowmaking infrastructure in place, the ski trails will be widened and refurbished to facilitate grooming and to meet modern cross-country ski standards, which will result in safer conditions.

Snowmaking Infrastructure and Development

The snowmaking equipment in Gold Bar Park will be supported by an underground water and power distribution system that will be installed under the Lake Loop and 50th Street Loop, and connected to the two existing outlets in Gold Bar Park.

Lake Loop

  • Installation of five unobtrusive, above ground hydrants.

50th Street Loop

  • Installation of four unobtrusive, above ground hydrants.


  • Snowmaking will supplement natural snow conditions over approximately 14 days in late fall, dependent on temperature. Additional snowmaking will only occur later in the season to improve deficient trail conditions.
  • Trails will be closed sequentially, with clear detour signage redirecting trail users.
  • Artificial snow will be produced with a carriage-mounted SMI Kid Pole Cat, pulled using trail-grooming equipment.
  • The Kid Pole Cat uses a 7.5 horsepower fan to achieve a narrow, targeted throw area, with minimal overspray.
  • Noise level data collected by an independent acoustic engineering firm shows Kid Pole Cat operates in a 59–81 decibel range. (Normal conversation is approximately 60 decibels, and a vacuum cleaner is about 80 decibels.)

Funding and Maintenance

The snowmaking project is financed through the efforts of the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club. The responsibility for maintenance and trail grooming falls within the ENSC mandate. Operational costs attributed to Edmonton will be offset by the membership. There will be no user fees.  

For More Information

Parks and River Valley Operations - General Information

Online Contact 311 Online

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton:  780-442-5311

Dave Storey

Edmonton Nordic Ski Club


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