Banff National Park, Alberta
The word “Gymnasium” means a school for naked exercise. The first thing I should point out to those who tend to take things a bit too literally is that the gym up in the Banff centre, despite its motto of ‘Centre of Creativity’ does not take well to nude treadmill aficionados. Trust me. Aside from this small drawback, if you are looking to lose some of those pounds that you have put on from enjoying Banff life a bit too much or you want to get your body ready for the ski season then this is the place to visit.
Located in the Sally Borden building of the Banff Centre, you are welcomed into the building with an oddly nostalgic smell of distant chlorine and coffee. The cafeteria is very fairly priced with unfair calorie filled food. There are some delicious smoothies though that can top up your health points even more. If you do manage to make it past the tempting food and down the stairs to the reception, you will meet some incredibly friendly and helpful staff that will show you the ropes (quite literally if you are planning on using the climbing wall).
For new visitors to Banff and smokers, you may find it a little hard to breathe when you first begin to use the gym. I am going to blame the altitude and not my intake of alcohol and tobacco on the fact that after 5 minutes of shooting some hoops (does this count if none go in?) I could hardly breathe. It is possible to rent out the whole gym if you want to organize a full game of basketball, soccer or whatever tickles your fancy. The weights room, though small, has everything that one needs whether you are trying to tone up or become the new Arnie Schwarzenegger – you’ll be back. (do you get it?…sorry)
Aside from the usual, there is a kick ass set up to practice your climbing with some great instructors. There are also squash courts and a collection of sign up or drop in classes such as yoga and spin classes that I could clearly not handle. There is a huge pool with sauna, steamroom and jacuzzi whether you deserve it or not. The best thing is despite its relative lack of competition, it is very affordable. For an adult, you can have a day pass for $10 or $4 if it’s just a swim and sauna you are after. Better again if you plan on sticking around, it is only $46 for a month. With these prices you won’t have to sell the clothes off your back to get in thus meaning it doesn’t have to be a school for naked exercise. Damn – no way around that!