A Ski Blog
When we lived in Pond Inlet our family took up downhill skiing. Not there on the mountains and glaciers of course, but on holiday in la belle province. W. and I are so easily lead, so open to suggestion, so verging on insanity. LOL. Our friends the nurses, a married couple, asked us if we’d like to spend a week with them at Gray Rocks. And having more money than brains at the time, we decided it was a great idea. W. had done some cross country skiing at some point in his life, but the kids and I hardly knew which end of a ski to point downhill. We rented a chalet and enrolled in ski lessons and purchased a LOT of alcohol.
Kids are such naturals at stuff like this. They also have no fear. By the end of their first day they were all over the place, up the lifts on their own and snow-plowing everywhere. Short people are close to the ground, so they’re able to fall down and get back up all in one fluid motion. Just watch any little kid on skis – their center of gravity is below their knees, I swear. Sort of like those wobble dolls, they always land upright.
This is the very first ski lesson class our kids were in at the Snow Eagle Ski School. D. is top left, K. with his instructor’s (guy with the moustache) gigantic ski on the right. He looks pretty darned serious, the youngest in the group. We didn’t invest in any special ski clothes this first time out, not knowing how we’d all like it, so my kids are also recognizable by the fur on their jackets. It was the start of what appears to be a life-long passion for them. They have since gone on ski trips with their schools, ski trips with their friends, and now ski trips with their own families. Kenzie and Kale are fast becoming enthusiasts as well.
That first time out W. did really well, mostly because he’s determined to succeed immediately at anything he does and won’t accept anything less than perfection from himself. I was determined too, but mostly just with my own survival.
I’m not a big outdoors fanatic by any stretch of the imagination. My skin gets red and blotchy from the cold and the sun and the wind. I get gigantic cold sores that are ugly and painful. I have been known to whine a lot. What I liked most about skiing from the beginning was the ‘apres ski’ stuff. Where you sit down by a roaring fire with a good stiff drink and rub your aching feet. And go on and on about your incredibly hot ski instructor. I don’t remember his name now, but I will never forget how he inspired me to learn how to ski with his dazzling smile and encouraging blather. He was very French and very cute.
(sigh)….. Where was I….. OMG, that jacket! It was downfilled and bulky and quite ugly. He posed with everyone of us for these pictures – which most of us purchased later. Good little money making scheme. Gray Rocks was an excellent teaching ski hill. The snow was hard packed and icy, so you were forced to learn how to edge properly or kill yourself trying. The place was small, so there was no fear of getting lost, but there was lots of variety as far as the slopes go. It was great preparation for the mountains, which was where we headed next and never looked back.
We’ve been to Marmot, Big White, Apex, Sunshine – I can’t remember all the places. Many times we went with other families in big happy groups. You’re sure to find a compatible ski partner somewhere, and if you don’t, it’s a great solitary experience too. I have a whole photo album dedicated to just our ski holidays. W. is the kind of person who skis like a maniac to get his money’s worth. He paid for that lift ticket, and he’s gonna use the lifts, dammit!! He whips down the hills in a zig zaggy blur. D. was always (and still is) a finesse kind of skier, lovely to watch, smooth and light. K. became a dare-devil power house – in and out of the trees or bouncing around on the moguls. I don’t know exactly how to describe myself – lazy maybe. I don’t like to hurry. I like to use the entire hill in big long back and forth motions. I like to stop and take in the view. If I think it’s too steep I have no problem side slipping to get myself out of trouble. I skied a bit with the kids, but they had more fun on their own or with their friends. The few times I skied with W. we tended to have big arguments about where to go and which lifts to take to get there. I’ve never considered racing around like a maniac to be a fun way to spend a day out on the slopes. Mostly we just agreed to do our own thing as far apart from eachother as possible and meet later for lunch.
I did one run with him that I’ll never forget. He wanted me to be more daring and hit some of the black diamond slopes with him. Maybe he just felt like showing off, who knows. He started down one particular hill in a blaze of glory, while I followed at my own chicken hearted pace. Halfway down he stopped and looked back to see what was taking me so long. While he was looking up the hill his skis slowly began to point in opposite directions until he lost control of them. One went east and one went west and W. did a glorious face plant in the powder. He was SO mad. It was SO funny. And all my fault, of course because he’d had to look back up the hill at me. My hysterical laughter fanned the flames of his fury. It’s one of my favourite ski memories.
We had a friend who pinned signs to his jacket his first day on skis. On the front it said WATCH OUT!! On the back it said I’M SORRY! We were kind of sad when his skiing improved and the stories of his death defying escapades dwindled.
I’m glad our kids have continued to ski. It’s a great way for a family to spend time together. I’ve had back surgery and was strongly advised to forget about skiing, so I’ve had to give it up. But you don’t have to give up the apres ski world. Our son’s mother-in-law has never skied, but she goes along on every all-family ski trip to look after the babies and enjoy the scenery. Now they’re talking about spending some time at Kicking Horse over Christmas and I’m seriously considering joining her. All the fun with none of the danger. Sounds like a good time.