How Calgary’s huge half-pipe inspired this athlete to greatness

Travel Alberta

Oct 01, 2019 - 1 minute read

Rachael Karker was a competitive skier visiting Alberta for a competition when the super-pipe changed her life.

She was competing at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park, a ski resort located inside the city of Calgary that has one of the best super-pipes in the world. That’s the giant half-pipe used for competitive freestyle skiing – basically a massive launching pad for skiers and snowboarders to do tricks in the air.

Karker wasn’t a half-pipe athlete, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the super-pipe. While half-pipes are common at ski resorts, there are only a few full, gigantic, Olympic-sized super-pipes in all of North America, and WinSport’s is among the best. She had never been in a super-pipe before, but she entered the half-pipe competition on a whim, mostly just to try out the huge thing that lay before her.


Calgary's half-pipe the hub for pros and thrill-seekers

Within a few years, Karker’s life had completely changed. She moved to Calgary, was studying at the University of Calgary and was a member of Canada’s national half-pipe team leading the international world cup half-pipe circuit. So, yeah, she has a soft-spot for WinSport.

She’s not the only one. The half-pipe is available to anybody who pays a wintertime visit to WinSport. On any given February, you can see budding athletes, daring moms, GoPro-toting teenagers and everybody else giving the super-pipe a go. And the great thing is that WinSport is also host to all kinds of winter adventure seekers – newbie skiers, veteran snowboarders, ice skaters, hockey players, gymnasium workout seekers and athletes of all kinds.

WinSport is unique in Canada in the number and diversity of sports that it hosts (it played host to many events during the 1988 Winter Olympics), and that Olympians can be spotted doing their thing right next to travellers who just came for the view.

Check out Karker’s story and find more information about WinSport below.

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