Do you participate in winter sports? Skating? Hockey? Tobogganing? How about Bobsledding? Have you ever thought about all the steps you take from the moment you leave your house until you actually participate in your beloved winter sport? I thought about this this past weekend, as I enjoyed my time at the ski hill
I probably should not have gone down this path, like I did at the grocery store a few months ago (how many times do you move your milk before you actually drink it?). Honestly, it made me depressed. I could not believe how much preparation I do each time and how much stress I go through to participate in this winter sport.
Do I spend more time preparing myself for the ski hill than I do skiing? Very often the answer is, yes.
Now that I have you thinking about this too, let’s go through the process. Or I will take you through the process of getting me and my extended family to the ski hill on a winter weekend. Note that we are often up to sixteen people in our house. That alone often adds steps, complexity, craziness and even rage.
My typical ski day begins at 7:00 am, when my alarm goes off. I press snooze a couple of times and throw myself out of bed by about 7:15. To get a few minutes back of my day, I lay out our special ski clothes the night before. I grab my pile (my bed is usually filled with at least two sleeping children so I can’t get ready in my own bedroom) and head to the nearest empty bathroom.
By 7:30 I am dressed, my hair is kind of brushed and I am basically awake. My kids are still asleep. My sister, brother and their kids are usually awake at this point, and the collection of random children are loitering around the house. I head to the kitchen to prepare the ski hill lunch. Different people contribute to this process, and the kitchen is usually a scene of mayhem, as we attempt to also eat breakfast.
By 7:45 am I am back in my bedroom coaxing my children to wake up. I throw their clothes on their heads and also throw some kind of bribe at them to get them moving. It works.
8:00 am and the house is awake and alive, with a mix of screaming adults, wild children and barking dogs. Some have eaten, the lunch coolers are packed and it’s time to put on the many layers necessary to stay warm for hours outside during a Canadian winter.
Which brings me to those layers. The first one is the stylish and tight-fitting long underwear. Next is the heavy sweater – it can be a fleece or wool-blend. On top of that I wear my packable down jacket, and my top layer is a heavy (but stylish of course) ski jacket. Try getting all those layers on a pile of rowdy children.
When the clock ticks to 8:15 am panic ensues as no one is ready. Children’s ski and snowboard boots must go on the feet, balaclavas on the heads and coats zipped closed. We toss the lunch cooler bags in the car, strap in the kids and we are off – hopefully by 8:30 am.
I have been awake for 90 minutes already and I’m just leaving the house.
It’s a 20-minute drive to the ski hill. We park and gently nudge the children along the snowy path from the parking lot to the locker to the meeting area for their group lessons. I wave good bye to my kids at 9:00 am. Now it’s time for me to get ready, or rather, to continue to get ready.
Back to the ski hill locker room. By 9:10 am it is, for the most part, child free and a little quieter and calmer. The adults wipe their brows and recover from the insanity of getting the children on the ski hill.
And now, for the ski boots. They are big, heavy and clunky. I walk like some mechanical robot when I wear them. But it’s the only way to protect my feet and ankles and to connect to the skis. Next comes my balaclava, helmet, goggles and two layers of gloves. I pull out my skis and poles and close the locker.
It’s time to walk over to the actual ski hill.
If I’m efficient, I can be on my way to participate in my beloved sport by 9:30 am – yes, 2 ½ hours after I wake up. We strap on our skis, line up at the chairlift, sit down and up we go. If it’s cold and windy like it was last weekend, I cover my face with my gloves and pull up my balaclava to protect every bit of bare skin. We “unload” (yes that’s what the sign actually says) off the chair and get ready to ski down the hill.
It can take me two or three hours, with many steps, to arrive at the top of the ski hill. Is it worth it?
Oh yes, it is.
I look out at the view in front of me – the glistening white snow and the frigid and almost frozen water of Georgian Bay – and I start to fly. All the stresses of the week and steps to get to the top of the ski hill disappear. I may only get in a few runs before I pick up my kids for lunch, but I’ll take it. Oh yes, it’s worth it.