So, with 4 or more months of snow here, what should I do? I ask.
Actually, am quite happy to go home after work and watch Netflix because it’s just ‘too cold outside’… but non! Outside we go.
For the first time in my life I am living in a country where the outdoors rule and nature has so much to offer (usually on your doorstep). My plan is to be outside as much as I can – summer as well as winter.
So now we have winter –
Yes, cross country skiing has been mentioned and it was great. Out on a beautiful frozen lake with even more beautiful mountains surrounding said beautiful lake…. oh la la…
Back in the Ottawa area, I tried Xcountry again in wonderful Gatineau Park. It is famous for its trails of snow shoeing and le xcountry ski.
Wow, I did not see any beginners apart from myself. People there skiing may as well have been training for the Olympics. I trotted on, attempting to half snow plow and half slide. It was fun and again, the scenery made it all worth it.
And then we have downhill. Being from England I have not had much exposure to it, occasional family trips in France (2?) so without much confidence I knew it may ‘come up’ being out in Canada… and it did.
As I don’t like to not do things just because I am afraid of them (where’s the fun in that?) I agreed to try downhill skiing again.
DHskiing and I have had a rocky relationship, usually one afternoon of fear,sweat and struggle then vowing never to do it again but being slightly curious as to the ‘next steps’ before trying again 6-7 years later. Starting from the beginning.
But, I persevered. Turns out there’s a friggin’ hill ten minutes away so no excuses there.
Off I go. I was terrified once the skis were on my feet, they were attached! What happens if I fall? Or slide an unwanted direction? Or ski into someone? Or someone skis into me? After 10 minutes of trying a little (teeny yet steep) molehill and failing, I wanted to give in. Fuck it.
I look rediculous and it’s not comfortable. It’s not natural. It’s terrifying and I’m quite likely to break a leg. Which would suck.
But I saw a deserted hill towards the side, not many people. It was steeper than the bunny hill but empty so I could do what wanted.
The next two hours had me slowly walking me skis up this hill then sliding down. I’m sure the rediculousness was immense, but I was getting somewhere. Did I mention there was a rope pulling system right next to where I was walking up? I sweated bucket loads.
After the third hour I had walked up the entire hill! And skied down! Wooooo.
Getting confident I went on the chairlift to attempt the easiest route from the top.
Fact: the chairlift is the scariest part.
Once you get to the top, there’s always a horrible steep-as-a-cliff hill to ski down. You must also manage to balance off your sitting position into a standing ski position – all in one smooth move – and with 30 or so people around you. Pffft.
I fell off immediately. And it remains a terrifying ordeal.
However, worth it as I was able to ski down the green trail. Whoop.
And I’m actually writing now after having skied at a different hill, this time in Quebec (amazing province) for a little ski trip weekend. Staying in a basic but cosy cabin at one of ‘the sommets’north of Montreal.
I started with a lesson, although it was odd having a 16 year old teaching me. Without any concern over my experience or knowledge. First thing we did was ski down a hill which, to be honest, if this had been 3 weeks ago, I would have cried and refused to move anywhere. Good thing I’d had a little experience.
It’s funny seeing how kids just do not get scared one bit. Then you have adults who find it hilarious and just let themselves go.. and others like myself, who mutter swear words as they glide down the hill.
Anyway, all was nice. But I’ve had enough. Didn’t need to ski all evening though. Baby steps.
The reason I want to write about this experience, is that, well, skiing for those of us who haven’t started since age 2 isn’t that easy. It’s very scary actually. And that’s bloody okay.
I have yet to enjoy this sport but I remain hopeful that one day, I can ski without worrying too much about what insurance covers any major accidents etc.
A different ski hill tomorrow and hopefully snow-shoeing in the afternoon.
Now THAT I can enjoy. Trees, trails, snow and my own legs to control it all.
An added bonus is that if you do fall, little pain is unleashed. It looks funny and everyone can have a laugh.
And now I should probably award myself with a nice cold brew. Saying out load “yeah, loved it. Can’t wait to hit the slopes again tomorrow” pffft.