“I was born with ski boots on,” Danielle, our ski instructor at the Horseshoe Valley Resort, quips. “I started skiing when I was 18-months-old. Our whole family skis.” It looks like it, too, as she skis backwards as easily as most of us walk.
Our enthusiastic instructor, it seems, is part of a special group of families – ‘a family who skis’.
You can see these lucky folks at every ski hill. Fathers holding up their toddlers and guiding them down the mountains, teenagers actually looking happy to be on vacation with their parents. Walking around the resorts easily with their ski boots on, footwear that for the rest of us operate more like cement blocks, they make it look all so easy.
My experience with skiing had been anything but.
I had never skied growing up, but when in my early 20s friends suggested a day at a local ski hill, I jumped at the chance. Not having a ski-jacket, I wore multiple layers with an extra-large hand-knitted sweater on top. A mistake. As I got off the ski lift, the extra-large hand-knitted sweater got caught, dragging my sweater, with me attached, into the air. Hanging upside down, I screamed. The lift stopped. I remained suspended in the air, until the weight broke the threads and I came down with a thud.
‘Are you all right?” different voices in the crowd that had gathered asked. My friends couldn’t speak. They were laughing too hard.
I wish I could say that was the only calamity that day, but my first run ended up with me being hurled through bushes before somersaulting into a thankfully large pile of snow. As I crawled out pulling pine twigs out of my extra-large hand-knitted sweater, I vowed I would never put on a pair of skis nor wear that sweater again.
I never did wear the sweater, but 20 years later - here I am, with skis on.
Why? For the kids. Canadian winters are long and outdoor activities, away from the TV and video games is one of the best ways to get through them. Their Dad also skies and what example would I be if I sat on the sidelines and watched. And perhaps I had forgotten enough of that day to try it again. And so with lessons, I had learned that it’s much easier when you start from the bunny hill and that it’s amazing just how slow you can go once you’ve learned how to do the snowplow.
I’m taking lessons once again. Danielle is an excellent instructor and she coaxes my daughter to push her boundaries and ski down a run she didn’t think could do and also reigns in my ‘I-love-speed’ son. “Control is key for kids,” she says. After a few drills my awkward snowplow starts to morph into something approaching parallel turns.
After the lesson, the snow begins to fall and we spend a lovely afternoon together on the slopes - a family who skis.
The Horseshoe Resort: Located 90 minutes north of Toronto, it’s a popular weekend escape for urban families. 26 runs, a terrain park and a half-pipe keep skiers of all levels happy. Other outdoor activities include 35 kilometers of cross-country trails in the Copeland Forest and an EPIC (as the kids described it) snow-tubing course in the resort’s Adventure Park.
The Inn features an indoor pool, hot tubs and dining options that include casual fare at the Crazy Horse Restaurant and more upscale eats at the Silks Dining Lounge. If the outdoor activities leave your muscles aching, the Shizen Spa’s signature massages and body treatments are the ideal stress-melting fix.
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After travelling the world teaching ESL, she’s now 'settled down' in Toronto, but continues to indulge her passion for travel as a family travel writer. Her website/blog www.justkidstravel.com helps kids plan and get excited about their travels.
Located: Toronto Canada
Likes: family,culture,nature,soft adventure, photography,food