This post by Mhairri Woodhall was originally published on the Travel Alberta blog.
With its therapeutic outdoor pools, saunas and steam cabins, the Kananaskis Nordic Spa is an alpine haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Spend the day, or spa après-play for the ultimate end to your outdoor adventures. From breathtakingly cold plunges to insulated hammocks (yes, seriously), here are the five things you need to know about the Kananaskis Nordic Spa:
What's a nordic spa?
Hot, warm, cold, rest, repeat: This is the Nordic-spa mantra. It’s focused on the ancient hydrotherapy tradition of relaxing and rejuvenating the mind and body using varying water temperatures. Embrace this spa ritual by slowly transitioning from soothing hot pools, saunas and steam rooms, to invigorating cold-water plunge pools and aromatherapy scrubs. Afterwards, relax with friends by the outdoor campfire, or retreat to a quiet reflection space. Rest, then repeat. Healing happens by stimulating the blood flow, reducing stress and gently increasing the heart-rate. The result? A top-to-toe feeling of well being.
What's so special about the Kananaskis Nordic Spa?
Think of it as the Canadian take on a Scandinavian concept. For starters, the alpine-chic spa was designed to maximize those next-level Rocky Mountain views. So whether you’re floating in the outdoor pools, sweating in the yoga studio or munching on a charcuterie platter at Two Trees Bistro, spectacular Mount Kidd is always on display. And while many traditional Nordic spas have a strict no-chatting policy, Kananaskis balances silent reflection spaces with cozy connection places. The spa has also ditched classic white terrycloth for plush custom-made robes in a rich green, red, gold and brown tartan, representing the colors of the Canadian maple leaf as it changes throughout the seasons.
Hit me with some fun spa facts
Sprinkled throughout the outdoor spaces you’ll find large heated hammocks, of which only 20 are made in Canada each year. Cocooning inside one of these red floating beds feels like a warm, snuggly hug. A few hang solo as peaceful retreats, while others are paired to allow for quiet connection. Simply zip yourself up and gently sway into a meditative state. On the upper floor of the Spa Lodge there are eight massage treatment rooms, including two couples sanctuaries with floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing wondrous views of Mount Kidd. A 30-person yoga studio, on the second level of the relaxation lodge, presents similar panoramas, as does the post-hydrotherapy hangout Two Trees Bistro.
Where is the Kananaskis Nordic Spa located?
Drive about an hour west of Calgary (or east of Banff) to the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. This full-service resort, surrounded by rugged wilderness, has recently experienced a full transformation, including the addition of the stand-alone Kananaskis Nordic Spa. The bonus? Resort guests enjoy discounted spa-entry. And for families, the Pomeroy’s supervised children’s programming allows parents to soak at the spa while the little ones play. There’s also a brand new indoor leisure pool, complete with waterslides and sprayers. On-property restaurant choices are also on point. Indulge in post-spa craft cocktails and bar bites in the Blacktail lobby lounge; burgers and beer at Woody’s Pub; thin crust pizzas at Forte; or splurge on the Cedar Room’s regional, seasonal dishes.
What else can I do there?
Kananaskis Country offers year-round adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. In winter, the slopes of Nakiska are caked in soft-white powder. Downhill ski, snowboard, snowshoe or hit the tube park for snow-filled fun. Cross-country more your thing? The world-class Canmore Nordic Centre is just 45-minutes away. Warmer months in Kananaskis Country are also ripe with adventure. Hike the extensive trail system or explore by mountain bike or horseback. For golfers, the newly rebuilt 36-hole Kananaskis Country Golf Course is dramatically beautifully and technically challenging. There’s fun to be found on the water as well. Stand-up paddle boarding, rafting, fly-fishing, kayaking and canoeing are some of the choices available. Or, take a short scenic drive to the sights, shops and restaurants in Banff or Canmore.