Saturday, February 28, 2009

Looking back in time

Many, many years ago, I learned to ski. I grew up on a farm in Nashville, Ontario and on our farm we had a big hill. My dad and his friend John Beevor got it in their heads that they would make our big hill into a big ski hill. They hired a local excavator to make the last part of the hill very steep, and using an old truck chassis, they put in home made rope tow. As kids we had lots of fun going down the hill, and grabbed hold of the rope tow to get back up to the top. On one occasion, my sister Anne got her scarf tangled around the rope and soon found herself hanging from high above the safety gate that was supposed to stop this home made contraption from courting disaster. Luckily for Anne the safety gate didn't perform it's intended function, the rope kept going, and she was pulled up to the top pulley (made out of an old tire rim), where her scarf was severed, and she fell to the ground, cheating death by a thread (no pun intended). More often than not, I believe we went down the hill on toboggans rather than skis, none-the-less, we had hours and hours of fun on that hill. Years later, I took up skiing with some high school friends at Blue Mountain. Back then there were just a couple of runs, a couple of lifts, and a dated old ski lodge. Once I got a taste for it, we went on to ski at Mt. Ste. Anne, and at Stow but eventually lost interest and sold my equipment. Fast forward 20 or so years, and my youngest sister Marijo and her friend Brian invited us to join them back at Blue Mountain for some skiing and to check out the newest trend in spa living at Le Scandinave. I was amazed at how quickly my skiing skills came back (how hard can it be - gravity does most of the work?). I was amazed at all the changes at Blue Mountain - now a world class recreational village, and with all the changes in boots and skis. We had a great time, and much to my surprise, I think I might pick up an old sport that was on hold for 20 years. The trip to Le Scandinave was interesting. Located a stone's throw away from the ski hills there is a collection of rustic building surrounding a series of outdoor soaking pools at temperatures ranging from 55 to 104 degrees (F). In the buildings were steam rooms, saunas and relaxariums. Guest could also book a massage, but that option was sold out on the day we were there. The aqua-hot/cold/rest treatment ($40/person) provided a great way to sooth burning shins after a day of outdoor adventure. Winter can be so much fun if you just embrace it.

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