I am a warm weather girl. During college I did my time in the cold and since moving abroad I’ve been strategically avoiding winter. Well, winter smacked me in the face over the holiday break as I went to visit my boyfriend’s family in Calgary, Canada (Well, Medicine Hat to be exact). The majority of the time we were indoors, but on our last day we went skiing. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it.
For starters, just from the drive there I could tell we were in for something special. The views of the surrounding area were unreal. The sun was rising behind us and lit the mountains in front of us, revealing them little by little. These were no small mountains either. They completely surrounded the area and were snowcapped and clear. I thought it would be a slow day, but as we pulled up at 9 in the morning the day was already well underway. You would think people were going to work with the hustle and expertise displayed just in carrying the equipment to the lodge. I should have known I was in for a difficult time, as I grew winded just from carrying my own equipment. And I workout very regularly.
The day was full of surprises though. The Lake Louise Ski Resort was huge. After doing the bunny hills a few times and having my boyfriend teach me what to do, we took a ride up to the top. I was so glad I did because the view was unforgettable. He assured me that I could take the lift back down if I wasn’t ready, but I decided to give it a try. Truthfully, I just didn’t want to be perceived as a punk. There was no way to see the scope and size of the place without getting to the top and really seeing all of the different runs and ways back down, so despite my struggles I loved checking everything out. I thought we were going to some small, sleepy place, not one of the best ski resorts in the world. There were people and staff from every corner of the globe. The green run, which a staff member from Singapore of all places assured me would be easy, was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It was really a humbling experience. You see people ski on television and it looks so easy, but it was far from. As I worked my way down the mountain I started to gain confidence, but this was replaced with frustration as I slowly began to tire. The cold was the least of my worries (although I still had a faucet for a nose and couldn’t feel my fingers). Suddenly I was trying to just keep it together and not have a breakdown on this mountain. And trust me, all I wanted to do at one point was cry. Why the hell wasn’t I better at this?
Eventually we did get through it and an even bigger surprise awaited me. My boyfriend…bless his patient, forward thinking heart… had booked us a stay at Chateau Lake Louise. After spending the day freezing and trying not to bust my ass, I got to warm up in luxury. This five-star resort had the most spectacular view of the actual Lake Louise. Just looking out of the window from our room you would think we were in the middle of the forest. It was so unspoiled and pure. I knew we were going to stay the night in the area, but I imagined a small, dusty cabin, not this. I couldn’t bear going back outside that evening, but was impressed that the hotel had ice-skating on the lake and a horse drawn carriage ride through the woods. So instead I enjoyed the view and the complimentary, spiked hot chocolate from our room. It was the perfect way to end the day.
I’m not sure if I will try skiing again, but I’m thrilled that I have this experience to remember. Trying something new, no matter how popular it is with other people, or how unlike you it is, really activates your sense of adventure. I was quite infant like as I rolled in the snow and struggled to get back up, and it made me feel truly…well stupid. Despite the frustration I had moments where I felt ridiculous in a wonderful way. It was unforgettable and I totally recommend it if you happen to be in the area, even if you can’t ski.