Let’s start with stating the obvious: I hate winter.

I hate the snow and I hate the cold and I hate how my fingertips turn white moments within walking outside (Reynaud’s syndrome) if I don’t wear gloves, even when it’s above freezing. I hate how the snow/melting snow/sanding means that my vehicles look like they’ve been 4×4-ing out in the wild instead of actually just driving to town. I hate how my boots and Emily’s tights end up scuffed with dirt and how we have to buy gloves every two weeks because the kids lose them and how you have to put on five layers just to go outside and you have to take off those five layers every time you come inside and GOD FORBID SOMEBODY HAS TO PEE.

I could go on (and on, and on), but you get the point. Heck, we don’t get the cold and snow that the prairie folks or those out east get (we tend to hover around or above freezing) but for this cold-blooded woman, it’s more than enough.

I hate winter.

The thing is, this winter has been easier on me that the last few years have been. I have struggled with S.A.D. in the past and last winter was particularly awful. I think that returning to an office, as much as I complain about it, has been beneficial. I have to get up and go out and hang out with other human beings not related to me. I also have to wear clothing that isn’t yoga pants. I think that it’s helped. A lot.

Matthew and I have talked about activities that we could do as a family to break up the winter “blahs”. We’ll often simply go out into our yard and go sledding (we have a great hill for sledding) or will have snowball fights/build snowmen and whatnot. The thing is, we tend to spend most days under a grey sky and the days that the sun comes out are just better somehow. We may not be able to do anything about the lake fog but we can get above it…

There’s a ski hill nearby and we know a lot of families who ski on the weekends (and some evenings). Some people I work with even own condos up there. Now that Emily is the magical age of four (which means she’s old enough for lessons) we’re thinking we might try the whole “skiing” thing. I did not grow up in a “skiing family” but learned by going with friends during my teenage years and can stay upright. Mostly. Matthew has never skied a day in his life as he was the captain of the high school basketball team and any sport that could risk him breaking his bones was frowned upon. Plus, from what I gather, he spent every waking moment living and breathing basketball with no desire to try anything different. Heck, he only learned to skate two years ago when we build an ice rink on our property.

He’s thinking that he may start with snowboarding but I think I’ll stick with skiing – I’ve heard that snowboarding can be hard on your knees and I’ve had surgery on mine already. We threw the idea out to the kids yesterday and said we could try it in the next month or two. Graham was all cool with a “Sure, I guess” reply (of course), Nathan told us that he wanted to do jumps and back flips (of course) and Emily asked if she could have pink ski poles (of course).

As much as I hate winter, I’m really excited to try it and see if we like it. I love to exercise and if it can be a family deal (as opposed to solo) where we’re all outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, then I think we might have a winner.

If any of you are skiers/snowboarders and have any advice or suggestions, I’d love to hear it. We’re as newbie as they come.

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  1. Vahid January 31, 2011 2:16 am edit

    I don’t have any suggestions but I’m intrigued to follow along as you guys learn to ski and whatnot. I have always wanted to learn to snowboard but haven’t had the time or opportunity to learn yet, despite being only an hour away from some great slopes.

    …and I owe you a Canadian joke. I can’t believe I’m leaving a comment on your blog without one. Ugh. What’s wrong with me? FAIL.

  2. hillary January 31, 2011 12:46 pm edit

    No Canadian joke? I’m disappointed in you, Vahid.

  3. angella January 31, 2011 3:02 pm edit

    In his defense, he DID crack a Canadian joke on Twitter for my birthday. We’ll give him a pass this time, what with it being Monday and all. ;)

  4. Krista January 31, 2011 3:26 am edit

    I grew up in a skiing family–we went skiing once or twice every season, and even though I don’t ski anymore (I live in Tennessee, for goodness’ sake, and we don’t have good skiing here!), when I have the chance to ski on real mountains, it’s easy to pick right back up. It’s like riding a bike.

    My sister is much more athletic than I am, and she learned to snowboard in her early twenties. She had knee problems (a torn ACL in one knee with the requisite surgery and a torn miniscus in the other with the requisite surgery) which led her doctor to recommend against skiing. Because the snowboard is one board that holds both legs steady, there’s less chance of seriously injuring a knee (but more chance of injuring the lower back). (But I’m talking about serious injuries that out-of-control skiiers get, not the kind of thing that just *poof* happens!)

    I’m sure you’ll have fun, whichever you decide, and I’m sure you’ll build lots of fun memories for your kids! I love that I know how to ski and that we had many, many family ski trips! It makes the memories even sweeter knowing that my parents worked hard to make fun family memories for me and my sister. Have fun!

  5. Hannah January 31, 2011 4:25 am edit

    My kids went snowboarding today for the first time – indoors!! We have a huge indoor snow globe called “Snow Planet” and today we spent the afternoon there. A welcome change from all this heat and humidity!!!! The “real” snow (ie. mountains and cold part of NZ) is about a 4-5 hour drive away, so we don’t get to go that often. And of course we have a few months before there will be any snow to play in! I’m sure your boys will love snowboarding – mine took to it like ducks to water!! It helps that Rob is a total snowboarding nut (and a very good nut at that) so he was able to show them the ropes and we didn’t need to pay for lessons.

  6. Eric's Mommy January 31, 2011 5:51 am edit

    My Husband wants to get our son snowboarding. I can’t ski or snowboard, we live in New England so you would think I would be able to at least ski. My Husband grew up skiing.
    I have HAD IT with the winter, we have about 7 feet of snow in our yard and we are getting more soon, plus an ice storm. Last time we had an ice storm some people in our town didn’t have power for 2 weeks!
    I’m praying for spring.

  7. K January 31, 2011 6:23 am edit

    I love skiing and I’m sure your kids will have a blast! I didn’t grow up in a skiing family either but learned when I went to college. After 3 trips to learn how to one year, I scored a job at the ski resort the following two years so I could get a “free” season lift ticket. I was always so impressed with how quickly kids could learn! I guess it’s their low center of gravity?

  8. angella February 2, 2011 2:44 pm edit

    I’m thinking yes. Matthew won’t be so lucky, I think, being 6’2″ and all. ;)

  9. kakaty January 31, 2011 7:15 am edit

    Oh – I’m so excited for you! I grew up in a skiing family and from age 3 on every Saturday night in the winter was spent at our local (tiny) ski hill. I learned to ski by my dad literally tying a rope around my waist and me skiing between his skis. It worked! I also took lessons when I was probably 6-9 and loved it… I was skiing circles around my parents by the time I was 8. I have such fond memories of those ski nights!

    We are taking M skiing for the 1st time in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait! We’ve been watching YouTube videos of skiing because she has no idea what it is. I haven’t skied much since my ACL replacement, and my knee gets tired but it’s still fun.

  10. Sharon January 31, 2011 8:00 am edit

    That’s awesome! I’m sure it will be a fantastic experience for you guys. My parents weren’t big skiiers (well, as far as I can remember…), but our school had a program where we went up to Cypress about 4-5 times a season, and we would go skiing for an entire day. Those times were so much fun! I have lots of great memories of days spent at the ski hills. I won a free pass and rentals a few years ago, so I decided to try snowboarding. Even though I can wakeboard, I totally sucked at snowboarding. Thankfully I was able to give up after a few hours and go back to skiing, which I’m much better at. :) Hope you guys have fun!

  11. Danica January 31, 2011 8:52 am edit

    I got nothin’ for ya. I also have never ever skiid. Good on Matthew for trying something new! Hopefully your kids like it too. Fun.

  12. Kelly January 31, 2011 8:53 am edit

    We are in year 2 of learning to ski. At first I had to talk my husband into buying the gear – but the waterproof pants and helmets are totally WORTH IT. And if it is hard – stick with it. It is so much fun now that I spend more time on my skis than on my butt!

  13. Ninabi January 31, 2011 9:07 am edit

    Second hand advice here but my 24 yo daughter loves skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing (who is this kid? because I moved to get away from winter).

    Anyhow, she has some serious health issues and her knees were becoming inflamed and she was so bummed out. A friend told her that snowboarding was more about the hips than the knees and if she was well enough to go, to try that instead.

    She said it did ease pressure on her knees.

    Enjoy the winter activities with your kids!

  14. heathercoo January 31, 2011 9:17 am edit

    I’m so excited for you guys to start! I didn’t grow up in a skiing family and didn’t learn to snowboard until I was in my 20’s. I have suffered a knee injury and the doctor told me that snowboarding was the one to choose as the chance of my twisting my knee in a non natural way (feet being fastened to the board and all) and that skiing could increase my chance of reinjuring myself.

    I will recommend for Matthew that he wears wrist guards and knee pads until he gets the hang of it. I wore volleyball style knee pads under my snowpants so no one knew and they saved me a lot of bruising I would have had. Oh and helmets for all!

    Have fun and I can’t wait to see how the family does :)

  15. Ashley January 31, 2011 9:28 am edit

    I’m with ya on the winter loath – it lasts too long and here we don’t even really get snow, just wet gross rain that freezes into icy church parking lots (which look like fun to “skate” on, but I found out not so much) and bitter cold winds. Blah!

    I can’t wait for Spring! I’m glad that you’re having a better winter and good luck skiing or boarding, I haven’t been on a pair of ski’s since I was 16 and I don’t plan on breaking the lodge seat warming streak anytime soon.

  16. Tanya January 31, 2011 9:29 am edit

    That is awesome! You will love it & it’s great fun for the whole family. If you want to try a hill other than Apex, Mt Baldy has some really great “Learn to Ski” pkgs for the entire family with rentals, lift & lessons! It’s really reasonable and a wonderful family hill. Only private cabins to rent up there but we have room at ours if you all want to crash w our crazy family & try our little paradise out. Good luck!

  17. Kami January 31, 2011 9:41 am edit

    I learned when I was 5 and spent my childhood travelling annually to the Rockies to hone my skills.

    Our kids have yet to try it. We prefer tropical vacations to the skiing ones :)

    That said, if we lived nearby a mountain like you, we would give it a go.

    Good luck!

  18. Shelly January 31, 2011 10:03 am edit

    One word – HELMETS! I started snowboarding when I was 15, and never wore a helmet. (They weren’t “cool” back then).

    When I was 22, I went snowboarding at Castle Mountain, and the snow was really icy. I caught an edge and flipped myself in the air (I was going REALLY fast, mind you) and my head slammed into the ground first, while I did a flip and sprung my legs over my head (we call this a scorpion). I immediately blacked out, and the ski instructors on the lift above that saw me wipeout, said I slid down the mountain about 20 metres UNCONCIOUS! I was skiied by patrol down to the medic center and driven to the hospital via ambulance. I ended up having a severe concussion, and bruised ribs.

    I wear a helmet EVERY time now. I find now a days you are NOT cool if you don’t have a helmet. :)

    The kids should be able to pick it up fast. Matthew – being athletic should be able to as well, but make sure you have a soft spot for his rear end at the end of the day. Probably the most sore spot after my first week of snowboarding ever! Nothing worse than seeing stars after landing too hard on your butt. A hottub works too…. :)

  19. angella February 2, 2011 2:54 pm edit

    Oh, we have a hot tub. :)

    We’ll all be wearing helmets, for sure. Bonus: A local restaurant sponsors the rentals, so kids rent them for FREE. :)

  20. Kristabella January 31, 2011 12:40 pm edit

    Good for you!

    I wish I could do more things in the winter. But we don’t generally get a TON of snow. We get it here and there, but mostly it is just so cold, you don’t want to be outside.

    Although, I do look forward to winter weekends when I can just stay in and watch TV all day and not feel guilty!

  21. hillary January 31, 2011 12:47 pm edit

    As a kid, my favourite part of skiing was hot chocolate in the lodge after a day on the slopes.

  22. Mrs. Wilson January 31, 2011 1:49 pm edit

    I’ve skied/snowboarded about as often as you have. Didn’t do it growing up, just with friends in jr/sr high school. I’ve only gone boarding once since Kaylie was born (almost) 10 years ago. (YIKES.)

    All I can say is HAVE FUN!!!

  23. Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire January 31, 2011 3:02 pm edit

    have a great time and do lots of skiing for me (as I have no desire to get out there because of the same white fingertip problem-I especially hate when one toe turns white and not the others and doesn’t get warm forever) The girls and hubs both love to ski but don’t get to do much of it. Probably because I am such the spoil sport..LOL

  24. Jenn of the Roof January 31, 2011 7:33 pm edit

    I grew up on skis, and the only advice I have is that spending the money on lessons for you and the kids is TOTALLY worth it. Have a pro teach you all…it’ll be way more fun, and you’ll all end up ahead of the game!

  25. Kate January 31, 2011 7:46 pm edit

    You might want to snowboard- it’s the skiiers that do in their knees. Snowboarders do in their wrists. : ) [Although they do a nice casting job at Whistler…. not that I would know.]

  26. Jenn January 31, 2011 9:15 pm edit

    My kids are not at the magic age yet, but I’m looking forward to being a skiing family when they are. I’m pushing them towards skiing rather then hockey, because skiing is something we can all do together.


  27. angella February 2, 2011 3:15 pm edit

    Graham’s been asking about hockey because his best friend is starting next year, but G isn’t really much of a hockey player. Plus, most hockey is on Sunday mornings and Sundays for us are about church and family. That’s why we’re pushing for skiing, too. :)

  28. Mel @ Mel's Box of Chocolates February 1, 2011 4:33 am edit

    That sounds like a lot of fun!! I have only went skiing twice, but have been thinking about taking the kids {6 and 10}. My husband loves skiing and is good at it, while I prefer the bunny slopes. At least if I take the kids I have the excuse to stay on them all day, right?!

  29. angella February 2, 2011 3:15 pm edit

    Right. :)

  30. Making It Work Mom February 1, 2011 1:55 pm edit

    I don’t have any suggestions. I actually hate skiing! But that is because I mostly hate winter. My kids don’t mind it so much. We did go tubing last winter which was loads of fun. Good luck on your adventures!

  31. Matt February 2, 2011 12:22 pm edit

    I’m so with you on hating winter (ours is not quite as cold as yours but it may be even more miserable since we don’t even get snow to go sledding in). Good luck with embracing it anyway, hope the skiing plans work out for you guys (I’ve never skied or snowboarded in my life so have absolutely no useful advice whatsoever).

    And I look forward to seeing you (and the family) in July (in SUMMER!)

  32. angella February 2, 2011 3:17 pm edit

    We’re looking forward to seeing YOU. It’s been, what, three years? You’ll love the Okanagan in the summer as opposed to the frozen tundra it was when you were here last time. :)

  33. Rae February 2, 2011 9:21 pm edit

    I LOVE skiing! I remember the first time I went skiing I took a “How to ski” class for beginners the very first thing they taught us was how to fall down. HA! It was mortifying that first day to see the little three and four year olds flying by me, but by the end of that week I was skiing the black slopes and riding the moguls – those are a blast! I do miss skiing. It’s been 20 years since I last skied. It’s one of the few sports I really miss from my youthful days.

  34. Heather February 2, 2011 9:57 pm edit

    Helmuts for all! And stay warm. It’s hard to have fun if you’re cold. I hear that helmuts help you to stay warm.

  35. Nicole February 2, 2011 11:51 pm edit

    Yay! Skiing is the best way to fall in love with winter!

  36. Cheryl Muir February 3, 2011 3:23 pm edit

    Apex or Crystal Mountain? Tim and I were up Crystal to snowshoe the other day. it seems very family friendly, and has a very reasonable “family pass” It seems it would be a great hill for kids in their first season.

  37. Rebecca February 4, 2011 8:38 am edit

    I have zero advice on skiing and snowboarding. None. And it’s been hovering below -9C here not including the wind chill. I too get SAD come February every year and working again is definitely helping, and so is taking my Vit D everyday. Every single day. Enjoy the 0C, I’ll think of you when we finally hit that come April! ;)

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