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As Calgary's premier masters cross-country ski club, we specialize in helping you achieve tangible gains in your skiing technique, confidence, and general fitness.


  • 9 years of delivering outstanding experience and real success

  • Most comprehensive adult ski programs in Calgary & across Canada

  • Training based on National and Olympic training systems and run by experienced high-performance coaches (ex-National Ski Team, Olympians, World Cup racers)

  • Inspiring you to be the best, and learn from the best

  • Offering 3 levels: Competitive, Recreational, and Foundations (classic & skate)

If you are just getting into skiing, or skied your entire life, we welcome you to try out one of our groups before deciding if we’re a good fit for you. You will fit well with our group if you choose to commit to self-improvement, show up to workouts, and be respectful, accountable, fun, and brave.

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Being a 40+ "weekend warrior" I signed up to improve my classic and skating techniques, and generally just to learn how to move more efficiently. Joining Space Dogs was an opportunity to get feedback from top-level coaches, build up both my base level strength and ski-specific fitness, and participate in a consistent training program week after week. This combination allowed me to take a big leap forward in improving my skiing. As the coaches are all ex-pros, I was expecting it to be a fairly intense atmosphere. But they are all very relaxed, and it felt more like going for a ski with friends (albeit ones that are much better than you) It is a wonderful training group, and the program has a very welcoming atmosphere. Primarily it is about pushing yourself as much as you can, or want to, and having the right people there to provide guidance and support.


Karen Messenger 

I just love everything about skiing, and I love helping people enjoy this sport.

At age 3, I started skiing with my family and haven’t looked back since.  My love of skiing has led me to some amazing places and my most cherished friendships have grown out of a mutual love for this sport.

I began ski racing at Lakehead University, and have competed in Nordic skiing and biathlon at many levels since then. I am a CANSI Level 4 instructor and have had the pleasure of teaching and coaching skiing in four provinces, one territory, four countries and two hemispheres.

I am the proud creator of the “Tour de Fun”, where I raced all levels of loppets across Central Europe and Scandinavia. I’ve got the t-shirt to prove it :)

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Aaron Gillmor

Aaron first experienced biathlon and cross country skiing through summer camps at the Canada Olympic Park. Nordic sports interested Aaron as they combined technical skills, mental discipline, and physical strength. Under the coaching expertise of the Rocky Mountain Racers, Aaron honed his nordic skills and eventually represented Canada in both cross-country skiing and biathlon at the World Junior Championships. Currently, Aaron is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Calgary in cancer bioinformatics.

Andy Pohl

Currently wrapping up his Ph.D. in Biomechanics at the UofC, Andy has previously raced for 9 years on the NZ National Cross-Country Ski Team. Andy raced in 2 World Championships and multiple World Cups and is a 3x recipient of the NZ Cross Country Skier of the year Award. Andy spent many Northern Hemisphere summers working in NZ as a ski coach and eventually the GM at Snow Farm NZ ski resort. 


Apart from enjoying 11 years of continuous winters, Andy got to work with many adult athletes, helping them towards their goals on and off snow.  At Space Dogs the numerous Alberta Cup podium finishes, World Masters medals and Loppet personal bests are a direct result of Andy's coaching.


Drea Dupont

Drea’s path to high performance sport was quite different than most. It wasn’t until her final year of M.Sc, while racing World University Games in Italy (completely out of shape), that Drea decided to chase her dream of representing Canada on the world stage. And so, despite being told that she started training too late, Drea has raced and trained herself into one of Canada’s top female cross-country skiers (Racing at World Championships and World Cups around the World).


It has not been an easy path, as anyone who tries to do anything outside of the norm can attest. In the process, Drea have learned an incredible amount from sport, and she loves passing on what she has learned.

Leah Reitz 

Leah started coaching the Jackrabbit programs at her home club, after realizing she had a passion for coaching, she then moved to coaching the Track Attack and Development Racing Team, where she was lead coach for a season.

She is actively taking the NCCP L2T- on snow coaching course, she has also completed her CANSI level 1 course.

Leah is currently training and racing with the Rocky Mountain Racers Ski Team. Leah's goal is to represent Canada on International Stage. 

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Eric Boiral

Eric has coached for over 3 decades, starting with his formal coaching certification "Brevet d'état 1er degré ski de fond", when he was working with ESF (Ecole de ski Français). This is considered the highest coaching certification and requires 4yrs of studies, equivalent to CANSI level 4 in Canada.

Since then, Eric has coached hundreds of kids and adults both in France and in Canada. He is very proud to have coached multiple kids, who later went on to race with the National Ski Teams in Canada and also in France. We love the passion and deep knowledge of sport that Eric brings to his teaching.

In the off-season you will find Eric growing organic vegetables at him farm outside of Cranbrook, B.C.

Gary Chambers

Gary is a passionate weekend warrior in all endurance sports with over 20 years experience as a CANSI Level IV XC instructor, accomplished mountain bike racer. Gary holds a B.Ph Ed from University of Alberta , AFLCA Strength & Conditioning and Group Instruction accreditation, CANSI IV Instructor and course conductor. Gary also hosts the FitFarmer podcast sharing his passion for health and wellness on Real Ag Radio. Gary is excited to share his passion for smooth technique.  


Gary started his Nordic instruction path at the Strathcona Wilderness Center & Auscan International Ski School in Edmonton and later moved to Trail Sports at the Canmore Nordic Center.  Gary has most recently coached for XC SuperCamps at SilverStar Resort and Bragg Creek XC Masters.  Gary has been chosen to race at the prestigious INTERSKI in Lahti, Finland March 2023, to represent Canada as one of our country's best ski instructions.

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Thomas Manktelow

Thomas Manktelow is a former Alberta World Cup Academy, and Canmore Nordic Ski Club athlete from Canmore Alberta. He recently retired from competitive racing and is currently taking his B. Kines degree at the University of Calgary. He is also working his way towards his CSEP-CPT personal trainer certification. Thomas is currently running a research project at the University of Calgary, focusing on double-pole technique. Thomas is also a former alpine ski racer and is a specialist in downhill technique

Alex Stukator

Alex started skiing late in high school trying to stay in shape through the winter for running season. She soon found out that skiing was something she had a passion for and was quick to join the local club and make the Ontario Ski Team. After high school Alex chose to pursue skiing dreams and decided to move out to Canmore to train with the Alberta World Cup Academy. Though her ski career didn’t pan out as planned, Alex still love to get out on snow and coach and have fun! She is now training for marathoning and ultra racing, so her story has kind of come full circle!

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Dasha Atkins

Founder of Space Dogs ski club, Dasha was a National Ski Team Athlete for >10years and raced her way to 7th at Vancouver 2010 Olympics and 10th at Sochi Olympics 2014. Passionate about sharing her extensive knowledge and joy for skiing, Dasha enjoys teaching adult skiers of all levels and abilities, inspiring many to reach and surpass their personal achievement goals.


When not skiing, Dasha is building her own Independent Wealth Management Brokerage company and teaches Finance at UofC & Bow Valley College.


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