Opinion » Alta States

Becky Wenger - finding balance in life



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Turned out her godfather's new acquisition — the legendary Club Vagabond — was the favoured hangout of young Leysin ski bums, and a home-away from-home for the vast Anglo community that called this Vaudois village home. Becky thought she'd died and gone to mountain heaven. "It was such a change from what I'd just left in France," she says. "I'd had my 20th birthday in Paris, sad, no one else around to celebrate with. But in Leysin... hey, every day was a party day."

And there was a certain Swiss snowboarder from Geneva... "I guess you could say I started skiing because of Yves," she reveals, a happy grin spreading across her face. She says she still remembers the first time Wengy asked her out. "There he was, all decked out in what he thought was Canadian style — with a wool toque on his head and his pants tucked into his boots."

Becky's response? "Not tonight." But the young Genevois refused to give up. By the time he screwed up his courage again and asked her to join him for a late-night wine-and-cheese party, Becky was more positively inclined.

To make a long story short(er), let's just say the Canadian gal and her Swiss paramour spent the rest of the season playing together on Leysin's sunny slopes. By the time the winter ended, they were definitely a couple. But with vastly different summer plans. "Yves set off for Alaska to work on a fishing boat," she remembers. "And I returned to Toronto. But Yves's boat broke down soon after he got there, so he decided to fly to Vancouver and hitchhike across Canada to meet me in Toronto." Another pause. Even more laughter. "He arrived on the very day that my parents were leaving on a three-week trip to England. They were not impressed."

Still, the two young lovers made the best of their summer idyll. "Yves eventually went back to Europe and I enrolled at Concordia University," she says. "But by the end of that year I missed Yves too much. Figured I'd continue my studies in Geneva."

School soon took a back seat to adventure however. And thus began Becky's real initiation to mountain life. "I learned to snowboard on the fly," she says of her 1988-90 journey. And smiles. "You know, like following Yves down Chamonix's gnarly Vallée Blanche without really knowing what I was doing. "Yes, she admits it was scary from time-to-time. "But the best part of doing stuff with Yves, is that he's so positive. He likes to push it to the limit, but he never lets things get out of control..."