Blue Mountain – skiing and snow squalls

I have always wanted to give skiing a go, but if I am honest, never really expected to love it.  When a friend suggested a roadtrip to Blue Mountain (about 2 hrs north of Toronto), I saw it as a chance to give it a go and cross something off my list.  My old room mate lent me her ski gear so I was kitted out in thermals and ski trousers with goggles and gloves.  We did a beginners ski day for $90 (£45) which gave us lessons, helmets, skis and boots and access to 5 beginner level areas. 

 When I got my boots and skis on, I felt immediately uncomfortable and sure that this was not going to be for me.  My skis were crossing at the front, the boots were heavy and I just felt like a sit down and cup of tea after how much hard work it was getting into the boots and skis.  The first thing was a lesson on getting in and out of the skis and a baby slope with practice stopping.  This was tedious, tiring and I just wanted to go fast.  Once we were okay here, we were allowed to move to stage 3… This involved going up an elevator and being taught how to turn.  I did this maybe two or three times and was whisked off to the fourth section.  There was no instructor there, so one of the 3s took me and I pretty much had one on one support which was great.  He taught me what to do with the poles and other ways to stop.  After a few goes, he whooshed off past the 4s escalator heading for the 5s.  This was exciting!  This is where there were real ski lifts!  I always thought the ski lifts were like rollercoasters and you would get strapped in.  Nope.  You fall into it as it comes up behind you and then just hope you dont fall out until the other end when you just have to stand up and not fall and die or get tangled in the skis.  The ski lift was terrifying!  Now, the 5s slope was significantly bigger than the 4s.  Great views.  A longer steeper slope.  It was still just me and the instructor.  He said to follow him.  He had faith in me doing this and I wanted so much to prove myself and show what I had learned.  It was fast, I couldn’t stop as easily, there were people whizzing around.  I made it down the slope alive.  I had a few rolls in the snow on the way down!  Luckily, it didnt hurt and I actually enjoyed lieing in the snow giggling!  Back to the 4s it was!

We skiied for about 3 hours before stopping for pizza and heading back out for another few hours.  I did tackle the 5s again and made it down without falling and ended it with a completely out of control high speed throughly enjoyable kamikaze ski.  I cant wait to go back and practice cracking this slope!  The instructors from the morning said that not many people that havent skiied before make it to the 5s on their first day, they also suggested I think about working a ski season somewhere.  I hadn’t gone with this in mind, but it was great feedback to get and I really love the idea of doing it!  It is definitely a curve ball to give some genuine consideration to.  With aching wrists, and legs sore from the boots, we called it a day and headed for the irish bar in the Blue Mountain village.  I am happy that I left confident on the fourth slope, able to turn and whoosh down in control or knowing if I do lose it, I can get it back.  What a sense of joy, pride and a real feeling of achievement.   

 After the skiing we had a drink – hot chocolate for me of course, and prepared to drive about 45 mins west to our motel in Owen Sound.  By this point, there were weather warnings in place and people were skeptical about us making the journey.  We decided that if we didnt go, we would have to sleep in the car in the car park, so we might as well try and if we couldnt make it, we would pull over and sleep in the car.  Being an ex Girl Guide, I had copious supplies of food and drink, and my old room mate had suggested I take blankets, so we were prepared.  We rang the motel to say we were attempting to make it  and the chap said he would make sure the heating was on and the room cosy for our arrival! How nice is that! The journey took about 1hr30 with ice and snow squalls.  

“Snow Squall – a sudden moderately heavy snow fall with blowing snow and strong gusty winds.  It is often referred to as a whiteout and is similar to a blizzard” 

 The snow squalls were horrendous to drive in.  We had a small rental car with no snow tires or four wheel drive and no knowledge of the area.  We crawled at 10km p/h for some time.  I was terrified that there was water off the side of the road and that we would go plunging into a lake.  The road was slippy and there were times we couldnt see the side of the road, where the road actually was or where to drive.  It was pitch black and it was really really scary at times.  Luckily we made it to our motel, the Knights Inn and checked in. The motel was warm and clean, and the beds were so comfy I had the best nights sleep I have had in months. 



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