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Rediscovering skiing



Last week I put on skis for the first time in more than 18 years. Technically speaking I guess I had skied one day at Horseshoe Valley in Ontario in the last three years. And I guess there was one day at Mont Ste. Anne in high school (a ski trip more renowned for feats with a funnel than on a slope). But in all reality my skiing days ended when the whole family upped and moved to Scotland when I was 10.

Up until then my family skied most weekends on a little hill called Snow Valley in between my cottage and my house in Toronto.

So naturally I assumed that when I put on skis again it would just be like riding a bike. And that’s actually what I said to former World Champion Freeskier Stephanie Sloan just before joining a Women on the Edge clinic last week. I was eating those words throughout my terrified snowplow down to the Jersey Cream chair the next day.

Sure, after a couple of turns, and I use the word "turns" very loosely, I had warmed up a little and the long-forgotten motions came back. I fell once. I got up. I lost control a few times. I regained it. I thought longingly of my snowboard and having to only worry about one piece of equipment instead of four.

Getting back on my skis was definitely not like riding a bike. Gone were the days of bombing straight down the hill with no fear. This time I was scared.

And a big part of me was ashamed that I had given up completely on this sport. If I wanted to move back to skis now I’d have to spend a good long time relearning how to ski and getting comfortable again.

I thought of all the time and the money that went into teaching me how to ski from age four upwards. The lift tickets bought every weekend and the new ski gear every year and the lessons to help me get better.

And now look at me.

Last week’s debacle on skis made me think about all the other things I did as a kid, some things that cost a lot of money, others that took up big chunks of my time, and now, I have nothing much to show for it.

Here’s a little sampling.

HIGHLAND DANCING – Living so far away from the Mother Country, my mother felt it necessary to inundate us with Scottish folklore, custom, traditional food (anything deep fried) and of course, traditional dance. I begged and pleaded relentlessly to take tap or jazz like all my other friends. But my mother was determined to see me in a kilt, dancing around a sword, all to the drones of the bagpipes. I can’t even remember how many levels I passed. Not too many because my heart was never really into it.

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