This is a guest post by Matt Morgan:
I must admit I am slightly jealous. Having recently returned to the all-encompassing grey that greets and entertains any visitor to the UK at this time of year, with a kind of ‘what else did you expect’ attitude, I must admit I have a pang of regret that I am no longer where I was. After the clean wide streets, the crisp invigorating mountain air and a never before experienced electric anticipation of winter, I think it is fair to say I am missing Calgary. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to keep one entertained in London, but we battle to stay entertained in spite of the weather, we are not entertained because of what winter will bring.
There are, as visitors and Calgarians alike will attest, plenty of things for the city and suburban population to boast of. I found a sort of community spirit I had never encountered in a large city before, with marching bands, public choral tributes tuning up for Christmas and a Canadian bonhomie that is decidedly absent from Southern British cities. I was taken to the Canadian Olympic Park (massive Cool Runnings fan) where I was told that ‘they make snow, and then blow it onto the slopes’. Now I’ve been to the man-made ski slope in Milton Keynes and let me tell you, Calgary is way more impressive. Skiing, therefore, is in Calgary’s blood. The first Canadian city to host the winter games, the city’s youthful exterior is steeped in an increasingly rich cultural fabric. This year, the COP’s ski hill (situated in Calgary itself) has enjoyed its earliest opening in its history, helped by the heavier than usual snowfall. Snow in England brings our infrastructure to a standstill, and only the very young (and students) remember to enjoy the delights of make-shift toboggans. In Canada, skiers and winter sports enthusiasts alike are able to properly celebrate and enjoy their winter, with all of the home comforts afforded by a city such as Calgary. While we’re looking up Chalet prices for a week in France, Calgary offers a weekend bus service to Lake Louise which only takes an hour. This means the drive will be even quicker, enabling you to get the very most out of you weekend on the slopes. If you’re a cross country skier (or langlauf as my family call it) then I have more good news. Door to slope will take you less than 45 minutes.
You don’t need to limit yourself to one skiing holiday a year, affluent Calgary, with its booming jobs market and low unemployment offers more than most cities, with the added bonus of a 5 month ski season on your doorstep. I’m a city boy, but I also love skiing, and for me Calgary matches the two in a harmonious and fulfilling marriage. If I could, I would be moving to Calgary. There are job opportunities, fantastic city and suburban properties available, and of course, 5 months of skiing. For now it is just a dream, but I know for many it is, or soon will be a reality. To those I say, I must admit, I am slightly jealous.