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It’s not all downhill from here

Was reading a friend’s blog today, wherein she chronicled some of her experiences with skiing. Although we’ve no snow yet here in the Banana Belt of the Great White North, our thoughts are definitely turning toward the winter recreation season. Her blog reminded me of a great deal that I don’t think gets nearly enough publicity.

Here in Canada we’ve got what they call the Snowpass. Essentially, it’s a program offered by the Canadian Ski Council that gives kids in Grade 4 and 5 the chance to ski for FREE. Be sure to check the website for participating locations – they’re all over Canada.

My earliest ski adventure happened when I was eight; here in Southwestern Ontario, our downhill ski venues are few and far between, so many of us look to Southeast Michigan for quick day trips. I can still count on both hands the number of times I’ve skied since then, but I can tell you this: I love it! There’s just a feeling of freedom and an incredible rush of adrenaline when you’re hurtling down the side of a hill, picking up speed the further you go. And yet, if you’re me, you never feel out of control. Yes, I’ve had my share of bumps and bruises, and I’m a long way from being any kind of an expert, but it’s fantastic!

So, when my own kids were little, I didn’t hesitate to take them over to Mt. Brighton and let them give it a try. They seemed to enjoy it too; I even have a video here somewhere, I’ll dig and see if I can find it.

It should be noted that skiing the so-called “garbage dumps” in Lower Michigan in no way prepares you for, say, Searchmont, in Northern Ontario. I was 13 when I encountered that lovely resort on a school trip; as I stood at the top of the hill, I was shocked to see, you know, trees, right there in middle of the hill. There’s a world of difference between a natural hill/mountain and something man-made.

Nonetheless, get the Snowpass, find a ski hill near you, and let your kids give it a try – and you try it too! It’s one of those things that everyone should do at least once. I’ll make you a deal – apply for the Snowpass, and I’ll post the video of me trying out the baby jumps, and maybe even some photos.