.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Remembering what snow is like during the hot summer!
By:  Vesta Mather   (2010/07/28)

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Lately Iíve been getting a little nostalgic, and thinking about how I got into skiing and racing, what I love about it, and why I donít think Iíll ever stop being active. The nostalgia has come as my parents are retiring and selling Kukagami Lodge, the start of my entire active outdoor lifestyle.

The lodge

Being a skier just kind of happened to me Ė the lodge my parents own and operate is just north of Sudbury (far enough to have lots of trees again!), in the beautiful Canadian Shield and boreal forest. Since my parents got it running almost completely on their own, the trails are all classic, designed and maintained to be fairly unobtrusive in the woods, and flow naturally through them.

Raised there, I started skiing not long after I started walking, with some sweet three pin bindings and fishscales for all conditions. I canít remember what got me started racing, other than it seemed like it would be fun. And it was, even though my first race ever, the Ontario Midget Championships at Onaping Falls was kind of ridiculous Ė I raced in some green spandex tights and an old turtle neck of my moms, forgot my skis at the race site, and stopped for a while when I was racing because I thought Iíd gone the wrong way.

Attacking a downhill on my sweet Karhus

But I slowly figured things out, skied at more races, did more intervals, and rollerskied for the first time. Racing during high school was always enjoyable, being out of town with your friends and without parents. From Nationals at Duntroon, to racing up a category at OFSAA so we would have a full girlís team or recruiting my friends who had only ever skied a handful of times to join in, it was always entertaining.†

Then when I made the decision on which university to head to, it was pretty important that it had a ski team Ė I had a couple options, but my aunt told me that Guelph had the most fun, and that (and cowsuits!) seemed like a good enough reason to go. Being on the ski team not only kept me fit and active, but forced me out of the residence bubble in first year, and made me learn to manage my time Ė I donít think I would have done nearly as well academically without skiing. I stayed for six years to do my masters as well, and had some amazing times.


Trying to look intimidating in my cowsuit


Excited about going for a night ski on the golf course


Ready for a cold windy day

Some of the best things that have happened to me in the past 10+ years of racing and lifetime of skiing include meeting great people who are crazy like you and want to spend their days in spandex and on rollerskiis, having amazing opportunities to travel, race, and volunteer, and exposure to all kinds of other outdoor activities. Iíve coached little kids, Iíve skied on golf courses with more grass than snow, and been a forerunner at the Paralympics, all equally rewarding!


Long afternoon ski at Callahan Valley

My little sister hasnít gotten into skiing or racing quite as much, since sheís decided horse-back riding is going to be her thing. Still, there is a quote about horseback riding that I think all skiers can take the essence of to heart on a cold wet evening doing intervals:

ďSomewhere between the rider youíve become, the hours of practice youíve put in, and the coaches that have pushed you is the little girl who fell in love with the sport and never looked back. Ride for her.Ē

Donít forget or let go of the enjoyment that got you started, theres a million great reason to ski, rollerski, bike, run, swim, and move. When my parents sell the lodge, Iíll miss having the 30 k of narrow classic trails and the lake out the front window, but I wonít stop skiing!

Perfect classic tracks

 
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