Alpine Skiing – Uxbridge, ON

If you live anywhere near me and want to try this one you’ll have to be quick, patient, or mobile, as our alpine ski season is drawing to a close. But I’ll still walk you through the experience.

As you drive up Lakeridge road  in Uxbridge you’ll see two ski resorts – Lakeridge and Dagmar. If you pretend you’re turning into Lakeridge, but then at the last second miss the driveway and just continue driving down the thin gravel road you’ll end up at a place called Skyloft, our home for the afternoon.

Standing atop the self-proclaimed highest mountain in the area, a little tear welled up in my eye as I thought back to Whistler. I wiped it aside, told myself I am a man, and prepared to learn how to ski.

My instructor for the day was Paul, who you’re probably familiar with by now. Paul, competent and engaging instructor, learned how to ski two days prior. With three hours of skiing under his belt he knew how to get from the top to the bottom and back – everything I was looking for in a teacher.

We rented our equipment and geared up. Boots, skis, and pol – “ wait, do we get poles to?” I asked the guy renting us our stuff.

“No we don’t rent poles, we just have a bin outside full of them, take what you like”.

We walked outside like Terminators with our heavy boots, but we were all geared up. My poles didn’t match and my helmet wasn’t pretty, so I didn’t fit in with all the “cool kids” on The Bruiser. (Until I see a bunny on it, I refuse to call it a bunny hill. The title I have bestowed upon it is much more indicative of what you’ll actually see – people getting bruised).

The first few runs were ugly. Flashbacks of snowboarding wipe-outs smashed through my head as I caught edge after edge and crumpled gentle to the ground at a very slow speed.

The “V” or “pizza slice” as it’s known – gliding down the hill with the toes of both skis pointing in – was easy enough, but it lacked flash.

It was a frustrating couple of trips up the magic carpet, but then it happened. As we hit the bottom of the hill and had a flat stretch of land, I just put some faith into my turns. Paul had been explaining to me the need to slide a bit when turning, almost like your skating fast in hockey and then making a gentle stop. My issue was that when you’re barely moving down the hill, as I was, then you can’t carry any momentum into your turns to slide, so your edges catch immediately and you struggle to maintain your balance.

As soon as I got some speed behind me, the turns were actually pretty natural. Now, I say “some speed” because at the time I felt like Picabo Street. However, having seen the footage, I realize:

a) I was still barely moving

b) Olympic skiers are pretty good at their craft

And so, this episode brings to a close our first winter season of Gymineering. I hope you enjoyed it, considered some new activities, and found some time to get out there. You may notice a new section of the site over on the right where I am listing our upcoming adventures (the ones I am aware of in advance).  Hopefully you keep joining us this spring, both here on the site and out there.