Know Before You Go: A Relaxing Day at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa

Picture this. You’re seated in a heated outdoor pool. You look ahead of you and see the snow-capped mountains in the distance. You close your eyes and take a deep breath of crisp, fresh mountain air. You slowly let out your breath and feel all the stress you’ve harboured inside floating away from you with your breath. Ahhh, you’re at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa.

Photo credit: Mike Seehagel, Travel Alberta, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

Photo credit: Mike Seehagel, Travel Alberta, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

Did that sound glorious to you? Having been to the Kananaskis Nordic Spa myself, I can tell you that it’s as amazing as it sounds. Before you wonder if this is a sales pitch paid for by the spa, let me first clarify that it isn’t. I just had a really great time there and wanted to share my experience!

What to Expect

The Kananaskis Nordic Spa is called a nordic spa because it was designed around the traditional relaxation methodology of nordic hydrotherapy. The idea behind this is that you take your body through cycles of hot, cold, and relaxation. By doing this, you stimulate blood flow and your body’s lymphatic system, leading to detoxification. And of course, you can’t go wrong with that amazing feeling of being completely relaxed that we can all use more of!

Photo credit: Mike Seehagel, Travel Alberta, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

Photo credit: Mike Seehagel, Travel Alberta, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

You’ll start your hydrotherapy cycle with 15-20 minutes of heat. At the Kananaskis Nordic Spa, this means sitting in one of the steam cabins or saunas, or in one of the outdoor hot pools. My personal favourite was the steam cabin. I felt that the steam agreed with me more than the dry saunas, and I loved the smell of the eucalyptus infused in the steam. I was able to sit back, breathe in the hot steam, and focus on emptying my mind of all the stressors that had made a home there.

From there, you move to 15-20 minutes spent relaxing in a warm pool. Of the warm pools, I enjoyed the Reflection Pool the most. I think it was meant for those who just wanted some quiet time. I liked being able to just enjoy the warm water while watching the world go by around me.

Photo credit: Whitney Arnott, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

Photo credit: Whitney Arnott, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

Next, onto the cold pool. There is just one cold pool at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa, but you don’t have to worry about it getting too crowded. At 5-10°C, not many people want to stay in this pool for too long! The first time I went into the cold pool, it was definitely a shock to my system and I could barely stay there for longer than about 10-20 seconds. But the more cycles I did, the longer I was able to withstand the cold, and the more I was able to appreciate how refreshing it was!

The final step in your hydrotheraphy cycle is relaxation. There are a couple of options at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa. You can sit by the fire, head over to the Two Trees Bistro for a meal, or slip into one of the winterized hammocks before you start the cycle all over again!

Photo credit: Mike Seehagel, Travel Alberta, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

Photo credit: Mike Seehagel, Travel Alberta, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

What to Bring

The main thing you have to worry about bringing is a bathing suit. For those of you with long hair, a hair tie might be handy to have. And this is not required at all, but you may want to bring your own water bottle if you have one. There are paper cups available for you to drink water (and replenish all that sweat!) but it doesn’t hurt to bring your own water bottle. If you bring your phone with you, you will be expected to leave it in your locker as there is no photography allowed at the spa. You will be provided with a locker, slippers, towels, and the most comfortable Harry Potter-esque robes. Honestly, those robes were so amazing that I was tempted to buy one for myself!

Photo credit: Whitney Arnott, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

Photo credit: Whitney Arnott, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

Tips for Visiting the Kananaskis Nordic Spa

If you’re heading to the Kananaskis Nordic Spa on a weekend, aim to get there earlier. The spa monitors how many people are using the facilities and will start a waitlist if there are too many people, so get there early to avoid waiting. It also doesn’t hurt to get there early because you could spend all day relaxing there. I spent about 7 hours there and could easily have stayed longer! You can also check their Twitter for updates on current wait times.

If getting out of bed early to drive to the spa doesn’t sound appealing to you, you can spend the night at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. The spa is located right by the lodge and guests staying at the lodge get a discounted entry rate. The other option is to book a massage session. Your massage session will come with free and guaranteed entry into the spa. But reserve these early as they have been known to be booked up months in advance.

Photo credit: Mike Seehagel, Travel Alberta, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

Photo credit: Mike Seehagel, Travel Alberta, Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Used with permission.

My Verdict

I didn’t mean for this post to be a review of the Kananaskis Nordic Spa, but as you might already be able to tell, I had the most amazing time there and can’t wait to visit again! If you’re needing some self-care time to detach yourself from your day-to-day and relax, I think this is the perfect spot. Want to know how relaxed I was after my visit? My friend and I were supposed to get ready for an event right after our time at the spa, but we were so relaxed we ended up needing to take a nap… and woke up with not much time left to get ready!

Want to get here?

Hours: Open year-round, 9AM-9PM Sundays to Thursdays, 9AM-11PM Fridays and Saturdays. They may occasionally be closed for private events. Check here for current hours.
Address: The Kananaskis Nordic Spa is located at 1 Centennial Drive, Kananaskis, Alberta. It is about an hour’s drive away from Calgary and Banff. There is free parking available.
Entry: $70 for the day, or $55 if you are staying at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. If you book a massage session, entry is included in the cost of the massage.
*Note: This is an adult-only (18+) facility.

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This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my own entry to the Kananaskis Nordic Spa and was not asked to write about my experience. All opinions are my own, but photos are not! Please see the respective photo credits.

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