To ski or not to ski

Allyson Kenning
By Allyson Kenning
February 9th, 2011

So, I must be the only person in town who doesn’t ski. Well, actually my father doesn’t ski either, so there’s two of us. My love affair with snow ended at about the age of 13, when it started to become more of a feeling of burden on my body and soul than the excitement I felt as a child when winter came. I resented shovelling. I really, really resented hiking to RSS from Thompson Avenue in the early mornings, in the dark, after or during a snowstorm on unplowed streets. I hated the cold, and I hated bundling up against it. I loathed big, clomping boots. In fact, the older I got, the fewer redeeming qualities winter seemed to have for me.

  We cross country skied as a family at Black Jack, starting when I was about 10 or 11 years old.  It was OK, but the older I got, the more I resistance I had towards it, just because it involved being out in the snow.  When I was 15, I injured my shoulder at Black Jack and that was it. I endured a whole bunch of physio due to that incident, and that was the last straw. I was done.   I have, from time to time, found myself explaining to people why I don’t ski. The fact that I don’t participate in this quintessential Rossland activity people from all over the world come here to partake in, is often received by others with surprise and even speechlessness. Jaws have been known to drop. People have rubbed their ears to make sure they have heard me clearly.   Yeah, I’m a native Rosslander and I don’t ski, and I hate winter!   Why don’t I ski? is a question I get a lot.  Let me break it down for you.   1. Risk of injury. One afternoon of cross country skiing led to a few months of pain and physio.  90% of the people I know who ski have had some kind of disastrous ski-related injury, often requiring surgery! And these are experienced skiers! I cannot afford to be laid up with a wrecked knee – and I just know I’ll wreck some part of my body; I have been known to sprain my ankle by doing seemingly innocuous activities like walking. On a ski hill, I’d be an injury waiting to happen, guaranteed.   2. Money. It’s freaking expensive to ski! A pass is about $1000, and even though I know you can do a monthly payment plan, that $1000 breaks down to about $83/month – and that is not in my budget! And given #1 above, I don’t want to put it in my budget. Then there is the gear: skis, boots, bindings, clothing, helmets, goggles, snow pants, jackets that look like they’re made out of test patterns – the list seems endless. Knowing my luck, if I could afford skiing, I’d invest all my money in a pass and into gear and then rip my shoulder off and I’d miss the season. I might as well flush my money down the toilet!   3. I am not a speed queen. Whizzing down a mountainside at God knows what speed isn’t my idea of a good time. Speed does not give me a rush; speed scares the crap out of me! Speed is dangerous and it causes accidents. Curling is more my speed.   Let me tell you a little story. When I was 9 years old, some friends of the family took my younger brother and me up to the ski hill twice for an afternoon of skiing. The first afternoon, from what I recall, was fine. I had fun, it was novel, I didn’t kill myself, and I got part way down the T-bar without much incident. The next time, I spent half the session practicing, and then I decided I was OK to ski down from the top of the T-bar. What a big mistake! It scared me to death, and I barely got down in one piece after what seemed like an eternity. In fact, I seem to remember that I wanted to slide down on my behind, which was not recommended, or perhaps toboggan down, which wasn’t an option. And that was enough of that. I never went again.   4. The snow. Enough said about that!   All that being said, I can’t help but feel that, at times, I am missing out on something. I know I am missing out on some much-needed sunshine that is often only available at the hill. I also know I am missing out on some amazing photo opportunities with all the amazing views from mountain tops, and I’d love to see a snow ghost up close and personal. I wish I could just get on a lift, get up there, take some photos and look around, and then…I don’t know…snowshoe down?   But I’m starting to wonder if, at this stage of my life, where I am looking for new experiences and taking more risks, if it might not be worth it just to book a lesson and an equipment rental for a couple of hours and just see what it’s like. Hopefully, in those two hours I won’t tear a knee ligament, right? Right? And maybe if that goes well, I’ll consider another lesson. And maybe, in a few years from now, providing I am still in one piece, I might get to the top of a mountain and see those snow ghosts and take some of those photos I’ve been dreaming about.   But the question remains: would I get down in one piece? Would the photos and snow ghosts be worth it if I did break my neck on the way down?   Right now, I just don’t know about that.

Categories: Op/Ed

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