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anuary 27, 2020: Sporting Life store general manager Andy Hotson was just returning from a day on the hill with his kids when he got the call: There’s a fire at the shop. He rushed to the store and found the fire department already on the scene. Andy and the rest of the staff, some of whom were inside when the fire began, stood across the street and watched in silence. “In the beginning, I thought, Okay, this is going to be a couple weeks of inconvenience, and we’ll be back up and running,” says Andy. But as the black smoke billowed and fire crews tried in vain to tame the blaze, the reality became clear: “It just escalated so quickly. I realized, This is really, really bad. It’s going to take a long time to recover.” Four hours later, Andy and the rest of the team finally went home. “I was still unsure of the magnitude of it until I came the next morning. The roof had collapsed, a wall had collapsed. It was a complete 100 per cent loss,” he says. “It was tough. It was really tough.” Sporting Life had been a fixture of Hurontario Street for 18 years—with Andy there from the very beginning, taking over as store manager in 2014. “We’ve seen generations of families come through our doors,” says Andy. And those ties to the community are what got the staff through the first few months. “That first day, I went for breakfast at the Red Hen,” remembers Andy. “People were stopping to hug me and wish me the best. After that, anywhere I went—to get groceries, out at the ski hill—not just me, but all of our staff, no matter where we went, everybody was behind us and saying, ‘I can’t wait for the next chapter’ and asking about ‘Sporting Life 2.0.’” “It was kind of a great feeling, really like a sense of family. The community was just so supportive,” he says. “We decided, You know what? We’re going to rebuild. We’ve got this, guys. We’re gonna bounce back.” Staff photo, L-R: James Cain, Greg Genoe, Anthony McQuilter, Andy Hotson, Shauna Burke, Cynthia Studiman
Please visit www.mountainlifemedia.ca/sportinglife to finish reading this story...
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Winter 2022: The Nearcountry Issue
Grotto Ice Rescue p.14
Shutdown Season: Tapping
Smart Terrain at Blue p.19
our Nearcountry p.24
How to Become Truly Canadian p.20
Skiing with Purpose p.13
Pros Coping with Anxiety p.70
Recording Landscape p.36
A Mirror to Nature p.77
“TTips” for Life p.41
Maximizing the Fresh p.82
Alpine Snowboarder Megan Farrell p.46
Visions on Snow, Ice and Water p.84 GEAR SHED
Shelter in Place p.56
The Underworld p.65
ON THE COVER Taylor Rowlands at Blue. THIS PAGE Aaron Philips, Georgian Bay.
Brandy, Bindings, Skis + More p.91
Ode to the Backyard Rink p.98
PUBLISHERS GLEN HARRIS
EDITOR NED MORGAN
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Young skiers in Hemu, a village in the Altai mountains, northern Xinjiang, China. JORDAN MANLEY
SKIING WITH PURPOSE A few years ago I acquired a pair of odd skis—very short and wide, sometimes called “ski shoes.” Their manufacturer traces a lineage to the Altai mountains, where China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan converge. This is the ancient homeland of Altaic peoples who were probably the world’s first skiers. Chinese archaeologists have dated cave paintings in northern Xinjiang province depicting hunters on skis at roughly 10,000 years old. Based on a traditional design among many still in use in the Altai region (some short, some long, but all equipped with horsehair skins for grip and universal bindings so you can strap in your regular winter boots), your heel is free but the binding keeps it secure when turning telemark-style on the downslope. These skis are not meant for speed. (The skins slow your descent a little, allowing you to maintain more control.) But what you lose in speed you gain in diversity of application, because you can explore places otherwise difficult or impossible to access on XC or touring skis. And they hold a major advantage over snowshoes, as you can float atop the snowpack and go downhill as easily as up. They’re not for everybody. They’re too wide for a groomed trail. And don’t bring them to a resort. You won’t even make it across the piste to drop into the backside glades without bobbing and weaving like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, because these skis have zero camber. They’re made for deep snow only. While the resort shutdown took up more than half of last winter in Ontario, these skis proved their worth. Their heritage as ancient tools of transportation—designed to propel you through every permutation of a snowbound landscape—shone anew when COVID crowds hungry for
accessible terrain forced us deeper into areas previously deemed unskiable. Out in the back corner of a nature reserve where I was unlikely to see any other people, the troubles at large in the world seemed suddenly small. When the leafless maple and beech trees creaked in the wind and spindrift snow formed a brilliant haze against the sun, I felt that maybe humanity wasn’t doomed, in spite of numerous signs to the contrary. At least we haven’t wrecked this sizeable hunk of biosphere yet, I said to myself. The shared desire that led people to set aside this nature reserve in perpetuity instead of slicing it up for short-term profit is itself encouraging. As long as that desire isn’t snuffed out, there’s hope for us as a species. I kept skiing, gliding through cedar groves, over submerged logs and escarpment whalebacks. I sped into a gulley then back up the other side, kicking toward the lip as I lost momentum. Perhaps hatred, greed and ignorance are slowly ebbing away, I thought as I flew over a frozen creek, making way for a reintegration of humanity and nature—battered, ragged but strengthened by past struggles. On that day the snowbound forest manifested bliss and redemption. More than that, it felt like a compassionate entity unto itself, one capable of swallowing up humanity’s failure and misery, transforming the lot into hope and resilience. That’s where my skis led me last winter. I’ll look for more of the same this winter. At worst, if The Walking Dead comes true and the next pandemic reduces most of us to zombies, I have the ideal workhorse sticks for long, secretive backcountry missions. My apocalypse-ready skis may not be fast, but hopefully the zombies aren’t, either. –Ned Morgan, Editor 13
Great Lakes hard-water SUP pioneer Scott Parent examines an emergency response on Georgian Bay last winter
It’s been said that exploration makes the world a better place. As humans, we advance by learning new things. Our minds and bodies are built to explore both new ideas and new environs. We know we do better when we invite new perspectives and our problems can be solved by a novel realization or innovation. Our process of inquiry is what propels us forward and enables us to grow our experience and understanding. Sometimes curiosity can lead to dangerous circumstances, as happened on February 21, 2021, when two people hiking near the Grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park became stranded on an ice ﬂoe after it detached from the coastline. The pair ended up drifting three kilometres over the deepest waters in Georgian Bay, triggering a full-scale rescue by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton (operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Coast Guard) who sent in a C-130 Hercules turboprop aircraft to keep an eye on the hikers’ moving location. The couple were eventually airlifted by an OPP helicopter that scooped them up and hovered mere feet from the surface before carrying them back to safety. Grey Bruce OPP Acting Inspector Debra Anderson said in a release, “This situation could have ended in tragedy.” It was a daring accomplishment and incredible team effort, but one that left many of the ﬁrst responders wondering: Could there have been a safer way? The local ﬁre department was early on the scene, but their waterrescue response protocol restricts them to shore-based rescues on a tether; given the rate at which the hikers were floating away, they couldn’t reach them in time. For Zane Davies—trained to the gills in ice and water safety and former member of the Northern Bruce Peninsula Fire Department on the
call that day—it was exceptionally difficult to be unable to respond, given he knew it could have been handled quickly with an untethered approach. With extensive experience in winter waters, including crossing a frozen Georgian Bay by SUP, his insight has taught him, “In order to effectively respond to an offshore emergency, you have to be able to leave shore.” The drifters might have been safely escorted back to shore in a fraction of the time. Instead they would wait nearly three hours, unprotected, dramatically extending the risk of exposure.
A human-powered ﬁrst response team, at ease in the hard-water environment, could have paddled out to rescue the trapped hikers via modiﬁed rescue SUPs equipped with ﬂotation and immersion gear. Grey Bruce OPP Constable Rick Sadler stated, “It’s absolutely incredible to think of the personal danger that the helicopter and the crew put themselves in, as well as the imminent danger for these hikers. It must have been very harrowing to be on board on either side of that scenario.” No doubt. Could the rescue have been safer? In my opinion, yes. A human-powered ﬁrst response team, at ease in the hard-water environment, could have paddled out to rescue the trapped hikers via modiﬁed rescue SUPs equipped with ﬂotation and immersion gear. SUPs can be custom-shaped and tandem-ready both as watercraft and as sleds for hauling on ice. Given the conditions that day, a team of
LEFT PAGE Hikers trapped on ice floe. BELOW Northern Bruce Peninsula Fire Department responders and their Polar 75 RIT craft, shore-bound at Indian Head Cove.
CALEY PATRICK DORAN
MOUNT RUNDLE RESCUE Last October in Canmore, Alberta, a BASE jumper was rescued and airlifted to hospital after smashing into a rock face on Mount Rundle and clinging to the face of the mountain by a ﬁst’s worth of parachute. After initial attempts, a helicopter rescue was deemed too risky; the rotor wash could endanger the jumper. Members of Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section, Alberta Parks (KCPS) and Parks Canada implemented a high-rope rescue and moved the victim to a ledge where he could be slung to safety via helicopter. The KCPS is a professional search and rescue organization within the Ministry of Environment and Parks and works closely with conservation officers. KCPS staff are members of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and the Canadian Avalanche Association. We’ve accepted that, with the right safety precautions, humans can freely explore the mountains. But there is no equivalent acceptance for the hardwater explorer. The KCPS and the above associations depend on the resources of highly trained personnel, who spend considerable amounts of time training in that environment. We could learn from that example.
Zane Davies covers 'ground' in mixed hard-water conditions, Georgian Bay.
sufficiently trained and experienced hard-water paddle responders could have provided an escort back to shore. The elapsed rescue time could have been reduced to less than one hour. If a paddle rescue had been deemed unfeasible, paddlers could have stabilized and maintained scene safety while waiting out the helicopter. They could have then offered on-site assistance to the air teams, donning harnesses on the hikers, monitoring and maintaining scene security and minimizing the danger of helicopter rotor wash destabilizing the ice. The rescue that day was as safe as it could have been. But we can do better—if we can learn from it. Could the circumstances of the ice ﬂoe detaching that day from shore have been predicted? The answer is yes. Multiple local guides noted the conditions that day were ripe for shore-docked ﬂoes to set sail that early afternoon. To get down to brass tacks, in comparison to what occurred that day, a properly executed SUP rescue would have been not just safe and feasible, but more cost-effective. Ice and water safety cannot be assumed. It must be earned. No doubt those drifting hikers learned something valuable from their experience that day at the Grotto. We can expect to see more signage from Parks Canada at the Grotto this winter, warning of the dangers. But if Bruce County, Northern Bruce Peninsula and Parks Canada were to invite a new perspective on winter coastline rescues, their support could help make the peninsula and surrounding waters a safer and better place for everyone. As Will Gadd, one of the world’s top rescue specialists and mixed climbers, once commented: ”You can always be safer.” –Scott Parent
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FIVE REASONS TO VISIT SIMCOE COUNTY THIS WINTER Snow season has arrived! And, if weather predictions hold true (they always do, right?), we’re in for a winter chock-full of the white stuff. Don your layers and head outside to experience the wonders of Simcoe County covered in a blanket of fresh snow. SHOE AND BREW WITH FREE SPIRIT TOURS Slow down for an afternoon in a forest with a snowshoe adventure through Petun Conservation Area. Located just minutes from Blue Mountain
Resort, the trail winds through picturesque woods and around steep rock faces and crevices. Never snowshoed before? No worries; the guides at Free Spirit provide all the equipment and instruction needed before leading the pack at a pace catered to each group’s abilities. Post-hike, head to a local brewery to recap your day on the snow. A flight of beer at Side Launch or Collingwood Brewery—or why not hit both?—is included with your tour. To finish reading this story, visit the Mountain Life website at www.mountainlifemedia.ca/SimcoeWinter
UPFRONT AT BLUE
ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES
Smart Terrain Arrives at Blue What is smart terrain? It’s coming to Blue Mountain Resort this winter, and it’s something you should know about—especially if you’re looking to enrol kids in lessons or kickstart/improve your ski/snowboard skills. “It’s commonly referred to as ‘terrain-based learning,’” says Becki Relihan, Blue’s Director, Programming and Recreation, “but we’re calling it smart terrain. And what that means is, we’re going to shape the snow on our beginner terrain areas to assist people in the critical moves they need to ski and snowboard successfully.” The concept has been in practice at some Canadian resorts (including Les Sommets in Quebec) for a few years. Put simply, it’s a new approach to on-hill learning. Instead of the beginner skiing or snowboarding “defensively,” bracing for a fall, the terrain-based or smart-terrain method encourages real-time responses to strategically featured, gentle terrain. Relihan references the example of berms and rollers as features that can help beginners. “At the bottom of the slope, there will be a little berm to help guests to stop because they probably don’t know how to yet,” Relihan explains. “This will allow them to feel confident and to focus more on moving down the hill, knowing they’re not going to lose control.” Similarly, rollers will encourage skiers to hone their french-fry/pizza moves in a controlled environment. “On the other side of the roller, skiers can practice the ‘pizza’ as they come down naturally through the terrain.” Overall, smart terrain shifts the beginner’s emphasis from just slowing down or stopping to responding to the features of the hill while maintaining and modulating balance.
In addition to a limited amount of land-shaping, Blue’s groomers will construct the smart terrain on beginner areas including Easy Rider, Undergraduate, Graduate, Explorer and Big Baby, with snowmaking on standby to deliver the raw material.
“There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to learn how to ski/snowboard on a fall line that goes the way that you don’t want to go. It’s difficult to combat that.” “What we’re hoping to create is a synonymous relationship between our instructors and groomers in which the instructors give the groomers feedback on the shape, the size and the grade of some of these features,” Relihan explains. “The groomers can then take that information and finesse overnight for the following day. So what we’re working towards is constant communication between both the instructor team and the snowmaking and grooming team.” So why is smart terrain arriving at Blue now? “We’ve been trying to do it for a couple of years and now it feels like the right time to really own it,” says Relihan. “There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to learn how to ski/snowboard on a fall line that goes the way that you don’t want to go. It’s difficult to combat that. So by building some of these snow features, we’re hoping it gives guests the confidence after each move that they need to continue to progress.” –Bill Shelley 19
UPFRONT AT BLUE
ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES
How to Become Truly Canadian: Spend a Day on the Slopes There are few things more Canadian than bundling up on a -10°C day in no less than three layers and heading outdoors… for fun. Winter sports in Canada are like no other, and skiing and snowboarding have become essential to the enjoyment of Canadian winters. So, for those new to Canada eager to embrace the Canadian way of life—or at least alleviate the cabin fever that accompanies the cold months—jamming their feet into ski boots and braving their adopted nation’s quintessential pastime seems like a sensible solution. And the road to really feel the identity of the Great White North in one’s bones starts on the snowdusted “bunny hills” at Blue Mountain Resort. In recent years, nearly 30 per cent of new immigrants to Canada have settled in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). That makes Blue a good choice for many to learn the most Canadian of pastimes, aided by the fact that the slopes are much gentler on learners than the peaks of Whistler. Yiqing Wu, president of the University of Waterloo’s Chinese Student Association (UWWE), will be sending groups to Blue this winter to participate in the Newbie Program (see below). She sees snowsports in Canada as highly developed across many communities, but with some room for fine-tuning. “People who live in Canada are affected by the snowsports phenomenon no matter if they are 20
an international student or new immigrant,” she said. “For new Chinese-Canadians, language is one of the biggest barriers to learning. To make it more accessible, we could try to provide support such as appointment booking, equipment rental/ sale and coaching/training in Chinese.” As part of Beijing’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the Chinese government created a campaign to increase participation in winter sports. China hoped that by hosting the Games, it would encourage the country to become a winter sports destination and deliver on a target set by President Xi Jinping to get 300 million Chinese involved in winter sports. However, the ski industry as a whole is faced with the challenge of making the sport more accessible, said Paul Pinchbeck, president and CEO of the Canadian Ski Council. “The ski industry is identified as largely male and largely Caucasian, which has an implication in terms of our growth if we don’t work towards changing that situation,” said Pinchbeck. The focus of the council is on growing the sport, and in particular, growing the participation of women and new Canadians. According to Pinchbeck, the industry is currently 62 per cent male, with only about 12 per cent participation from visible minority segments. (Compare that to the seven million Canadians who identified as a member of a visible minority in the 2016 Census,
which accounts for just over 22 per cent of the total population.) “The industry needs to make sure that we own the development of the diversity and inclusivity of the sport,” said Pinchbeck. “We have to take the bottlenecks out of learning to ski.” Becki Relihan, director of programming and recreation at Blue Mountain Resorts, agreed. We have to collectively be a part of the growth and the diversity of the sport, and make sure that we’re getting our programs right,” she said. Relihan points to Blue Mountain’s Newbie Program as an example, which was designed for people who want to try skiing and snowboarding without the commitment. “Our lessons and learning programs are designed for new skiers and snowboarders, which includes new Canadians,” said Relihan. “We want them to be exposed to the whole culture in a welcoming way.” The self-guided Newbie Circuit takes beginners through the fundamentals of either sport by using something called smart terrain. (See article on p.19.) The Newbie Ski or Snowboard Package also includes a beginner lift ticket, equipment rentals and helmet. “It’s designed to make it accessible to anybody who is new to the sport,” Relihan said. “You can come with nothing, and we make sure that you have everything to have a good time.” –Maddie Johnson
Good times is what Elan is all about, and the best times are those spent with friends and family in the mountains. Whether it’s a family weekend road trip to your favorite local destination or a backcountry adventure with your best buddies, it’s always good times when you surround yourself with the ones you’re closest to.
ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES
SEASON COVID Winter ’21: With Ontario’s resorts closed and most travel plans postponed, we tapped our nearcountry, with memorable results. Mountain Lifers share their stories.
Escape to Rossland There’s no cell service and the U-Haul feels like it’s sliding backward down the icy mountain. At 1,775 metres, the Kootenay Pass is one of the highest highways in Canada; when we finally reach the peak and begin the descent, my mouth goes dry every time the car slips out from the slightest brake or turn of the wheel. If the brakes go completely, it’s reassuring to know there’s a runaway lane in case I need to ram the car into the mountainside to stop it from flying off. We’re on the last leg of our five-day journey from Toronto to Rossland, B.C., our final destination and new home. On the last climb up to Rossland, my ears pop twice; at 1,000 metres, it’s one of Canada’s highest towns. Finally cruising down the main street, I see two fat bikes souped up with industrialsize panniers hauling groceries, with dogs trailing behind, unleashed. Amongst the western saloon-type facades, I also notice sculptures that reveal the soul of the place—first, a life-size statue of Olaus Jeldness, a Norwegian skier and miner who brought skiing to the town in 1894. Then another sculpture, just as integral to understanding this place: two giant steel bears, playing. But it’s the two-storey sphere made of bike wheels that gets me excited: This town is made for cyclists, even in the winter. When we first take fat bikes out on the trails—something that always felt like riding a bloated tank on my previous attempts—it was like stepping onto a bike for the first time. Not because I had to learn a new technique, but because it was exhilarating and new. Climbing into the dark and quiet forest, tires crunching, weaving through the trees, snow dusting my face, it felt as smooth and grippy as any dirt track. That’s because the local trail association bought a groomer and pays trail builders to maintain the winding winter singletrack. When my fingers go white and numb, it’s time for après. Circling back to the ski hill, parking the bikes alongside others on the rack (none of them locked) we check out The Josie, a newly renovated restaurant and hotel, where most of the patrons wear outdoor gear— “Patagucci” as locals like to call it. Toronto was in lockdown before we left, and it’s been at least a year since we ate inside a restaurant. Seeing people’s faces and talking to our server—a former ski pro—while music blissfully plays, it feels like COVID isn’t real. I send a friend in Ontario a picture of us, smiling and clinking glasses. She sends back a sarcastic, envious reply. We don’t stay long. Guilt or discomfort? Maybe both. Immediately after my partner returns from work most days, we don our headlamps and XC gear and ski across the street to the Black Jack Ski Club. Here the trails are crowded with high school kids in training (a few of them Olympic hopefuls). But once we slide past the lamps into the darkness, the thick fluffy snow dampens the sounds, leaving a dark wonderland. Returning home on a bit of a downslope, the town’s lights twinkle far below. It doesn’t feel like a soul has ever been here. And right now, this is the vibe I’ve been craving. –Melanie Chambers
When we first take fat bikes out on the trails—something that always felt like riding a bloated tank on my previous attempts—it was like stepping onto a bike for the first time.
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Ticket to Ride It was a pretty standard day of skiing in the winter of 2021. I ended up with a mishmash of a crew: my nephew and niece, my sister, my buddy, his son, my son and me. A combination of people I never in my life would have imagined skiing together. The dog’s breakfast of ski gear was even more outlandish: snowboards with broken bindings, old Dynastar alpine gear, bamboo poles, Tuck-taped boots and a 15-year-old set of skins. We parked the cars below a “no parking” sign then hopped over the fence. I helped my leashless dog wriggle through the fence, then we headed up. The quality of my ski days last winter was pretty high. Sure the Ontario government kept flip-flopping on whether the hills should be open or not, but it was the first winter in decades with no significant thawing event. Which meant there was a good base in the woods. With skis strapped to her backpack, my sister trudged through the snow in ski boots, her kids carrying snowboards while post-holing in snowboard boots. Yes there were complaints: It’s so steep, it’s too far, my feet hurt, I’m hungry. We all broke a sweat, talked, laughed and fantasized about the run to come. The sun was out and when the kids weren’t complaining they were laughing. In a way, I’d spent years preparing for a COVID winter. Something about earning turns makes me happy; I’d almost rather go ski touring than heli-skiing. Almost. So when all the Ontario resorts closed in December of 2020 I scrambled to get touring gear for my son. Before I knew it we had more friends than usual. Everyone wanted to go ski touring. Even my sister was keen to earn turns. They wanted to know where to go, when to go and how to get there. No one was letting the resort closures stop them from skiing. Ad hoc rope tows 28
So when all the Ontario resorts closed in December of 2020 I scrambled to get touring gear for my son. Before I knew it we had more friends than usual. Everyone wanted to go ski touring.
popped up, ATVs with snow tracks and trailers shuttled kids up and down, which in turn led to some amazing days. I had one of my deepest days ever with Kyle Easby and Taylor Rowlands. I watched Drew McIvor dropping a knee in a secret powder bowl. I nearly fell in the Beaver River, not once but twice. Skiing became a community event. I didn’t get the usual number of days on snow, nor cover the vertical, but every day out there was unique. For lack of a better word, every day on snow was special. Finally reaching the top of the hill, the adults cracked a celebratory beer, while the kids chugged away at a bubly. We pulled off our skins, put on our helmets and got ready for the main event. The descent. How good was it? That was dependent on skill level. It was a tracked out, lumpy, bumpy mess by the time we skied it, but I had a killer run. The kids were all over the place; some were falling every other turn, some charged right along with the dads. My sister snowplowed the entire way down, mostly terrified. On the final approach to the cars it was a nice mellow pitch that everyone loved. We whooped with joy, sliding to a stop beside our vehicles. Then we saw the by-law officer. She was busy putting tickets on all our cars. “Whose dog is this?! It should be on a leash,” she yelled angrily. “You know you’re trespassing, right? If you’re not out of here in five minutes I’m calling the police.” I grabbed my dog as the ragtag crew of skiers and snowboarders hopped in different vehicles. I apologized and worriedly asked how much the ticket was. “Thirty bucks,” she said. I grabbed the ticket from under my windshield wiper and got in the car. “Thirty bucks?!” I laughed. “Not only is that the best money I’ve ever spent, it’s also the cheapest day of skiing ever!” –Colin Field
LEFT PAGE Kyle Easby getting the goods. BELOW L-R Ad hoc rope tow; earning turns.
THE GOLD STANDARD IN WARMTH
Skin Up, Laugh Down Last night it dumped. At least 25 cm fell on the escarpment, blanketing our favourite hill. There’s no snow report to check, but we know this storm blew in right where it needed to go. We load up the truck: skis, skins, snacks, beer. Run inside for more snacks, more beer, a change of mitts. Dogs. This season has been a confounding one. Ontario resorts closed, leaving people scrambling for access to the unbelievable snow that just keeps falling, day after day, week after week. Locals have managed to sniff out the goods—a closed road here, an abandoned orchard there. Our family’s ticket to the backcountry has been generous friends. Friends whose backyard is the perfect slope for quick laps and whose back forty makes for the sweetest, deepest tree skiing around. Parking at the top, we unload our gear while dogs leap from open doors, wrestling a reunion with their farm-living counterparts before chasing each other into the woods. Other friends have beaten us here, back from the stash with a report: Oh yes, it’s good. Very good. Last night’s light, lake-effect snow covered the deadfall, filled the nooks and crannies, settled in the shoulders of towering maples. We make whooping laps and take epic falls, dogs trailing us through the trees. Skin up, laugh down. Repeat. The bonfire is hot on glowing faces, beers are cold from their snowbank cooler. Sunset brings a fiery red sky, followed by headlamp laps on the backyard hill. Kids switch to sleds, hitting the kicker for cheering parents. Everyone clicks in and skins up for a final lap, but when I reach the top I stay on the ridge. Sneaking away in the dark, I head toward the truck, then pass it—down the lane and onto the road, headed home. The white fields are too bright, the stars too many, to let it all end now. I trek over the snow-packed gravel for the better part of an hour before jumping in with my passing family—cold but warm, giddy but reflective, elated with the realness of it all. It’s a crystalclear sensation of happy, repeated countless times over four decades: last call at the après bar, last car in the lot, a final whoop before heading home. Tomorrow my husband will shake his head and grumble at the damage to my bases, but for now this is heaven. Who needs a ski resort when you have friends in the country? –Kristin Schnelten
ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES
People who had hunkered down inside for generations of winters did something they’d never done: They bundled up and tried it.
Ontario winters are up and down at the best of times. Snow comes and snow melts, it rains and then it dumps. We are used to dealing with uncertainty and adjusting accordingly. But the winter of 2021 took that flux next-level. As a family who spends a ton of time on the slopes, even relying on that industry for a career, we had to pivot about a million times—and yes, I hate that word as much as you do. We definitely enjoyed some great days at the hill (in the end more than I had expected) but the best side effect of the shutdowns and restrictions was that we spent way more time outdoors exploring our local trails and wild spots together. Over the summer we adopted a pandemic puppy, Kona, who it turns out loves the snow. He reaped the rewards of the long days not spent at the ski hill. He chased us on XC skis (naturally not on track-set trails) and bombed after us on backcountry snowboard missions. When we left him at home, we hit the trails in the Kimberley Forest—which my husband groomed while the resort was on pause. We logged plenty of kilometres, ate lots of trailside snacks, enjoyed many frosty local brews and an endless stream of hot chocolate. We invested in super-insulated Thermoses for Christmas, knowing our car would be basecamp both at the ski hill and on roadside adventures. We bought a propane fire pit, extending our post-activity outdoor time. The fire pit proved to be a game changer, as folks could pop by for an outdoor bevy around a fire that was ready in seconds. With gathering rules still in place, some of our extended Christmas celebrations moved outdoors—complete with outdoor trees and presents on waterproof tarps. Opening gifts around the campfire is a tradition I’d love to keep. Honestly, for folks who always prefer being outside, 2021 just meant more people joined us in our happy place. I was thankful for our garage-sale XC skis—as those sold out as quickly on Kijiji as litters of puppies. People who had hunkered down inside for generations of winters did something they’d never done: They bundled up and tried it. And for some, the biggest surprise of all was that they actually liked it. We’re all hoping for a safe and stable ski season in 2022. But I’m also hoping that those who discovered winter will continue to join us in the magical snowy world we’re lucky to have just outside our door. –Allison Kennedy Davies
Those November gales kept delivering wave trains along Lake Huron well into February.
This Ain’t Costa Rica 34
Throwback to winter 2020. I have a ticket to fly to Costa Rica in May. I’ll be participating in the second annual XPT Waterman Experience surf workshop, getting my ass kicked by Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton. Three solid days of pool workouts, beach training, breath work and surﬁng capped with sauna sessions and ice baths in the carless beach town of Las Catalinas. For me this was a total dream experience, earning a shot at learning from the man himself, Laird. Only it doesn’t happen. Instead, by mid-March, the world locked down and travel bans came into eﬀect, leaving the earth spinning oﬀ-kilter ever since. That winter, Lake Huron experienced more unusual warm fronts and an overall withdrawal in ice coverage—peak ice maxed out at a meagre 19.5 per cent coverage over the Great Lakes. As a result, our usual ice pursuits stayed hung up. I spent most of the season watching the MODIS reports of snow and ice coverage while SUP surﬁng as often as possible, waiting on the ice to take shape. But the ice never formed. And those November gales kept delivering wave trains along Lake Huron well into February. Living on a homestead on the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula in winter doesn’t provide for extended periods away from home, with animals to care for and snow to manage when winter storms dump on us. As a result, most of our winter outdoor family adventures are close to home. In a usual year, the kids go to school while my wife Tatiana and I manage our work and home life, which aﬀords more balance to squeeze some time away at some point in the winter. But during the lockdown, with three kids in a cabin, learning online and juggling constant work disruptions, a free day quickly became a catch-up day. Squeezing in an hour of SUP surﬁng kept me focused. These waves aren’t warm. And most days are far from bluebird. The wind can be violent, as high as 36 knots on really windy days. It takes everything just to paddle out and hold position. The best windows often arrive just before sunset or sunrise, leaving you little option but to catch waves in the dark. This ain’t Costa Rica. But it is everything XPT. Intense adaptive training and a brutal exercise in breath control. Trying to keep up with the news cycle, where we could or could not go, what we could or could not do, was dizzying but had one easy ﬁx: Stay home and go SUP surﬁng as much as possible. A pretty safe pandemic protocol to stick to if there ever was one. I tried to stay focused on what mattered most: being at home on standby for three homeschoolers, a wife working the front lines and our donkey, Hera. The opportunity to train with Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece in Costa Rica, even if it didn’t happen, was a high that motivated me to keep focused on what initially guided me to that experience: getting out on the water and embracing all her expressions. We may not get big-wave surf on the Great Lakes, but the heart of Lake Huron is ocean-big in my mind. And that’s good medicine. –Scott Parent
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RECORDING LANDSCAPE Whether he’s tromping around Clendenan Dam or climbing Metcalfe Rock, Cameron Lawrence always brings his sketchbook
words :: Kristin Schnelten Cameron Lawrence is a soft-spoken guy, mild-mannered and modest. Asked about his training in drawing and painting he simply shrugs, “All children create art. I just never stopped.” No, Lawrence wasn’t an art major—and he doesn’t have a wistful story about being discovered and encouraged by an inspiring high school teacher. What he did experience in youth, though, is a family brimming with talent, and a long history of it. The walls of both his childhood Toronto home and the family ski getaway in the Blue Mountains are covered with original artwork, most of it from his great-grandmother, a landscape painter inspired by the Group of Seven; his grandmother, a docent at the Art Gallery of Ontario; his father, architect Doug Lawrence; and with his own work, some of it stretching back to middle school. The family’s passion for creating and appreciating the arts is rooted in a deep respect for the outdoors. Canoeing at the cottage, surrounded by the quintessential wind-blown pines of the Canadian Shield, is a recurring theme in pencil and paint through at least four generations. Unsurprisingly, Lawrence feels called to landscapes. And, choosing to work en plein air rather than from a photograph, most of those nature sketches are completed in pen and ink—primarily for its practicality but also for its expressive nature: “I like ink because of the permanence and how much you can convey through the linework. The way you create the different values requires a lot of thought.” Taking part in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s En Plein Air Competition two years in a row, Lawrence pushed himself to complete multiple paintings over the span of two days, taking home first place in his category in 2018 and the Young Artist Award in 2019. But most of his work is created where he happens to find himself. A four-year tree-planting veteran, competitive mountain biker and rock climber, the bulk of his time is spent outdoors, invariably with a simple kit tucked into his pack—sketchbook, watercolour set, container of pens. “Sometimes while I’m climbing I’ll need a bit of a rest, and I’ll sort of sit to the side and do a quick 20-minute sketch, but other times I’ll specifically go out just to draw.” Working in place has its limitations, from changing light and weather conditions to that persistent Ontario pest, the blackfly. A video on his Instagram that hasn’t gone viral, but really should, is a painful loop of Lawrence’s face swarmed by what clearly is a few billion blackflies. Although he was technically tree planting at the time, he could have been sketching. Buzzing pests are to be expected when you pause from your day’s kilometre or vertical goal and truly look around you. “Light is very dynamic, and you’ll only have that light for a very brief instant. You don’t really pick that up when you’re just walking through,” says Lawrence. “When you’re looking at a landscape for an hour, you really notice how much it changes.”
LEFT CENTRE Cameron Lawrence en plein air on the Bruce Trail.
But when the rain starts to fall, or the light entirely disappears, “It forces you to be a bit looser and to quickly capture the feeling as opposed to every detail,” he says. When Lawrence says “you,” he really means you. Art to Cameron is something every one of us can, and should, do. “I think a lot of times it’s hard to really be present when you’re going out for a hike. Often you’re thinking about getting a photo instead of creating an experience,” he says. But sketching “is a bit like a journal. You can pull out a sketchbook at the top of the hike, while you’re resting. Record your memories, record the landscape. The longer you sit in one spot, you’ll see small details start to reveal themselves. That’s one of the reasons I like drawing. You get a different level of connection with the environment you’re in.”
“Light is very dynamic, and you’ll only have that light for a very brief instant. You don’t really pick that up when you’re just walking through. When you’re looking at a landscape for an hour, you really notice how much it changes.” His stacks of sketchbooks, documenting portaging adventures, climbing afternoons, world travels and mountain streams, are primarily private chronicles for Cameron. He does sell prints and has completed commissions, but as a recent graduate with a master’s degree in environmental engineering, the work of art marketing takes a backseat to his day job modeling sustainable buildings. Art, though, isn’t completely off his radar for a possible career path. Lawrence recently completed a series of workshops through Etchr Studio, teaching live master classes in ink and watercolour. The process reenergized his eagerness to empower others. “People tend to stop drawing at a certain age, and they get more critical as they get older,” he says. “They always say, ‘Oh, I can’t draw.’ But there’s a lot of value in creating for the sake of it. You don’t have to worry about the finished product so much. Just pull out a sketchbook and draw what you see.” “I don’t have a political message in my art, but I do hope I can inspire people to get outside more or to be creative. Although,” he adds, “if you draw beautiful places, hopefully you remind people to appreciate them, as well.”
Find your own inspiration through Cameron’s Etsy (CamLawrenceArt) and Instagram (@cam.lawrence_art) accounts, where his work is often captured in progress and en plein air, both with and without blackflies.
KRISTIN SCHNELTEN. SURROUNDING IMAGES COURTESY CAMERON LAWRENCE
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TTips for Life Early tele-ski forum serves up trip reports, dog pics and wedding vows words & photos :: Kristin Schnelten Ah, the once-ubiquitous internet forum. A smarter and infinitely nicer precursor to the Facebook group, a message board was a place for like-minded folks to gather. Kiteboarding your thing? Driftwood carving? Oompah-band dancing? No matter your obsession, in the early 2000s it took little effort to find your people. Telemarktips.com, TTips to devotees, was more than a forum for telemark skiers. It was, for a core group of a few hundred addicts, our everything. A source for industry news and gossip. How-to videos and interviews. Gear reviews, gear swaps. Trip reports. General dickwaving and chest-thumping. And, god bless it, dog pics. I discovered TTips as a lost 20-something, a little fish in the big city of Denver, stuck in a soul-sucking office job. I’d ditched my alpine gear a few years back, but my view of the telemark culture was still from the outside looking in. In the TTips forum I found community. We gave each other advice—ski tuning, trip planning, beer and music selection. Shared in each other’s triumphs, both on and off the hill. Encouraged one another through injuries and recoveries. Moaning about breakups was common. Inside jokes were rampant. We would
all be spancered one day. Each one of us was more fast and danger than the other. And none of us would be caught dead poodling. A decade before smartphone addiction took hold, logging in to TTips was the first step of every cubicle morning, its window forever being refreshed. Who would be the first wise guy to respond TPIWWP* on that trip report? What kind of shenanigans went down at the telemark festival last weekend? Really, what is your thigh circumference? My tenure in the desk job was short, and I found myself doing a brief stint in my midwestern hometown. I penned a thread: “Help! Drifting in a Sea of Rednecks!” and received the encouragement I longed for: It’s okay, kid. You’ll make it through this. The mountains will be here when you’re ready. The “Dog Pics” thread was my place, my home-within-a-home on the forum. When a newby attempted to post a photo and failed, I reached out via private message, walked them through the process. (Sharing an image to a forum was rough back then, folks—it involved servers, URLs, actual coding.) I assisted dozens of members before one decided to strike up a conversation. This AndyL guy admitted he was drifting, too, a couple thousand kilometres away. 41
Direct messages led to emails. A boasting “Look at me, I like to go on adventures!” image or two. Two dirtbag telemark skiers, too far from the mountains, commiserating. When winter hit, we decided we should probably just meet up and go skiing, damn it. Waiting for this guy—not an axe murderer, I assured my friends— to arrive at the airport, I wasn’t positive we’d find one another. Two blurry, distant photos really wasn’t enough. But there he was, emerging from baggage claim. A fresh-faced long-haired guy in Carhartts, ski bag over his shoulder. Clearly too young for me. We’d just be friends.
Amidst the heartfelt congratulations and expressions of surprise, our wedding trip report received proper critiques: Why didn’t you wear your tele boots under your gown? We spent a full month in a Subaru. Two complete strangers, two people who’d known each other forever. Thankfully, the guy could ski (you never know with those internet dudes, eh?) and it turns out he wasn’t quite as young as he looked. Road trip foolishness took over, and we belly-laughed our way through the Rockies, tallying up new friends along the way. I kept a running thread on the forum, updated daily: Tomorrow we’ll be at Loveland, the next day Telluride. Who’s coming out to ski?
People I’d met once—or never—put us up in their guest rooms, on their couches. One handed us the keys to his empty condo. They used their precious vacation days to give us private tours of their home mountains—Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee, Bridger Bowl. We crossed the border, met up with Andrew’s telemark buddies in Golden. Somewhere around Nelson (or was it Fernie?) we decided we might as well get hitched. Jump in for the lifetime road trip. Why not? We made our way back. Snowbird, Alta. On the final day, we were a gang of ten in Winter Park, suffering our way through the icy bumps of what felt like the worst snow year on record. But, assuming these grainy, grinning old photos don’t lie, we were all having the time of our lives. We managed a couple summertime visits before following through on our marriage threat, eight months from that day in the airport. Amidst the heartfelt congratulations and expressions of surprise, our wedding trip report received proper critiques: Why didn’t you wear your tele boots under your gown? You couldn’t kneel in a telemark stance to cut the cake? But it was all in good fun, and par for the course. That post, however off-topic, was full-colour JPEG proof: The TTips community and its dogs managed to bring at least two lost souls together. (And, near as I can tell, we’re still happily married—16 years, two children and five dogs later.)
*This Post Is Worthless Without Pics. Obviously.
Gaggle of telemarkers, Winter Park, Colorado, 2005.
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Finding Motivation, Managing Stress Catching up with alpine snowboarder Megan Farrell
words :: Maddie Johnson Canadian National team member Megan Farrell started shredding as soon as she could walk, determined to keep up with her older siblings. She’s been crushing competitions ever since. Last season, the 29-yearold created some of the most memorable moments in her career, placing fourth in women’s parallel slalom and eighth in giant slalom at the FIS Snowboard World Championships in Slovenia and first in slalom at the Austrian Nationals. Farrell is also one of the only Canadian alpine snowboard athletes to balance competition and university—finishing her degree on the Queen’s University honour roll no less, while being crowned overall NorAm Champion. We caught up with the Richmond Hill-based athlete to find out how she stays motivated and keeps calm when going into races, especially in a year of so much uncertainty. Mountain Life: How did you first get into snowboarding? Megan Farrell: My family belonged to HoliMont Ski Club [in Ellicottville, New York] and as the youngest of three, I was put on skis as soon as possible. I switched to snowboarding at just four years old to keep up with my older siblings and cousins, who had started a snowboard race team at our club. When I was seven, I won my age bracket in my first USASA National Championship. It was so cool. ML: What did the early years of your career look like?
MF: Snowboarding quickly became my life. I was selected for the Ontario team when I was in high school, and by Grade 12 I became a member of the Canadian National Snowboard Team. However, I had other goals outside of sports, and I had also received early acceptance to Queen’s University for Arts and Science. Unfortunately, this did not coincide with Canada Snowboard regulations, and I was taken off the national team. ML: After you graduated, how did you get back into competing at a national level? MF: With alpine snowboarding, you can be older and still be successful. So that was my incentive to go to school… Because snowboarding could kind of wait. I managed to maintain my status over the years by competing whenever my studies allowed. In my fourth year of university, I won the North American circuit, and I was put back on the Canadian National team. Balancing my snowboard and school careers was difficult at times, so it was helpful to refocus and remember: Why am I doing this? Why am I here? ML: What is your “why”? MF: Because I love it. With snowboarding, especially in alpine snowboarding, the expense is huge and what we get out of it is all on us. It’s not like we’re celebrities, and it’s not like I am making a lot
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of money doing this at all—the cost is incredible. You want to go into something with the intention of getting something back. I think what I get out of sport is personal growth and the ability to deal with highly stressful situations, and I can eventually transfer that into the workforce. ML: How do you deal with stress, especially after a year filled with so much uncertainty? MF: This past year, increased expenses and the lack of seeing my family was hard, but the uncertainty was exhilarating in its own way. We have no control, being athletes. The thing that is most exhilarating is that we never know what is going to happen, but it is also the most stressful because we can’t control the outcome. We can train all day and all night, but when race day comes, we don’t know what’s going to happen. So with COVID—it’s not the same but it kind of is. You don’t know what is going to happen, so all you can do is focus on where you are in this moment and try to be the best you can, and then whatever comes in the future will come. ML: Speaking of the future, you’re involved with an organization called Game Plan. Can you tell us about that? MF: Of course I love snowboarding, and I know I will be doing it in some capacity for the rest of my life, but I think it is important for
athletes to have different avenues. Game Plan’s mission is to bridge the gap between athlete life and a more career-focused life. I think with sports, it is extremely important to enjoy the pursuit, not necessarily the results. It’s more about what the entire sport entails and what you get out of it. When you attach yourself to the results, it can be so draining. ML: In terms of your snowboarding career, what is your number one goal? MF: Result-wise, of course I want to come in first at the Olympics. I don’t think you should ever settle for anything less than gold. But outside of that, I’ve always wanted to make sure I entered and left the sport with integrity. I think you compete at your best when you encourage and support others, because there is no better feeling than winning an event when everybody you were competing against was at their best as well. ML: What are you most excited for this winter? MF: The Olympics for sure. But it’s also just the continuation of my journey and making sure I enjoy the pursuit of everything. Like I said, it’s the pursuit of the Olympics more so than the Olympics themselves. So I’m just making sure I enjoy the pursuit—and the highs and lows and stress and excitement along the way.
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SHELTER IN PLACE A long-lost canoe route becomes a place of wintery solace during dark times
words & photos :: Conor Mihell Winter refused to release its grasp on northern Ontario in the spring of 2020, just as Covid-19 tightened its grip on society. Cold, northerly winds were the rule through late March and early April. The snow slowly melted on sunny south-facing slopes but the ice lingered on the inland lakes north of Lake Superior well into May. Stuck at home, the passage of time slowed to standstill. Like so many others, I took solace in escaping into nature. When the confusion of the pandemic’s early days became too much, I packed up my canvas tent, woodstove and toboggan and took to the woods, feeling self-conscious as I drove on deserted streets and
beyond city limits to a secret oasis of backcountry lakes and little-used portage trails located within a 25-minute drive of my house in Sault Ste. Marie. My anxiety disappeared the moment I cinched a weekend’s worth of food and gear to the toboggan and became lost in the crunch-step rhythm of walking on crispy snow. The sensation of freedom was palpable; the weekends never lasted long enough. It’s serendipitous that a friend and I had discovered this forgotten Crown-land canoe route on an early January reconnaissance trip, my first winter outing of the season. In hindsight, it’s almost like we were preparing for the chaos that would force us to stay close to home only a few months later. Like others, the lure of faraway
WITH AN AXE AND SAW WE CUT THROUGH A SNOWSHOE’S WIDTH ON THAT FIRST TRIP, JUST ENOUGH TO ADMIT A TOBOGGAN AND EASE OUR TRAVEL IN THE FUTURE, AND WE LEFT THE ENDS RUGGED TO HIDE OUR EFFORTS.
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BUT HERE, EVEN ON THAT INAUGURAL TRIP, IT SEEMED LIKE WE HAD UNCOVERED A LOST WORLD, JUST AS REMOTE AS MY USUAL ADVENTURE DESTINATIONS IN THE FAR NORTH.
adventure has always been more tantalizing to me than sticking close to home. But here, even on that inaugural trip, it seemed like we had uncovered a lost world, just as remote as my usual adventure destinations in the far north. This feeling of appreciation became more and more prominent as the pandemic dragged into a second winter of stay-at-home orders. Turns out, the Ministry of Natural Resources once kept up this canoe route, but maintenance ended with downsizing and budget cuts several decades ago. Faded blazes and rotting plywood signs on shoreline cedars
revealed portage trailheads, but the paths between lakes inevitably disintegrated into tangles of alder, blowdowns and brush. With an axe and saw we cut through a snowshoe’s width on that first trip, just enough to admit a toboggan and ease our travel in the future, and we left the ends rugged to hide our efforts. Old campsites and an abandoned trapper’s cabin revealed that we weren’t the only people to come here, though we were certainly the first in a long time. We stockpiled firewood at our favourite sites, confident it would be waiting for us when we returned. For three weekends I retreated to what I came to know as my Covid Pond, a small body of water with rocky islands and tall white pine lining the shore. My cozy 8 by 8 A-frame tent became a mobile winter cottage. I set up in a secluded inlet that basked in afternoon sunshine and offered a clear glimpse of the Pleiades in the evening sky. My routine was simple. I fed split cedar into the woodstove and read until late at night. Mornings, I would set off right after breakfast, wandering beyond the white pine and into the hardwood hills atop styrofoam snow. I brought my skate skis on one trip and glided around the frozen lakes, awkwardly stepping my way over the portages in between. Back to the tent by lunch, I tucked into my sleeping bag and napped in the afternoons.
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It felt like someone had pressed pause on the arrival of spring, just like my life at home between trips seemed to pass in slow motion. With each weekend I traced the return of the first migratory birds—geese, cranes, robins, mergansers and hawks—and wondered if they too were flummoxed by the persistent cold. As much as I love winter trips, I was eager for canoe season, too. Watching the snow slowly melt around my campsite confirmed that, eventually, summer was on the way. I knew I would return to my winter haunt last year,
though I never imagined I would still be escaping to find refuge from the ongoing tumult. Life was anything but normal in the rest of the world; however, there was something reassuring about my return. I followed the same trails and stayed at familiar campsites, burning through the previous season’s wood and cutting more. Regardless of what happens this winter, I know I will be back. The pandemic has taught us many things: for me, it was the gift of discovering adventure in my backyard.
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THE UNDERWORLD What’s going on under our skis and snowboards—and how might our winter fun impact nature?
words :: Leslie Anthony On a sunny morning after a glorious early February snowfall, my partner and I were riding a chairlift when we noticed a set of animal tracks cascading through the new snow beneath us. Unlike the tracks we’d often seen in the meadow at the top of the lift, which tended to be from several different creatures crisscrossing the lift line from one forested patch to another, these had a more deliberate feel. From the bottom of the run beneath the lift to almost the top—a considerable distance, I might add—the footfalls went directly from one specific spot to another and stopped, showing evidence of investigation or, in some cases, eager digging. This pattern immediately got my attention. The tracks clearly belonged to an animal on the hunt for another, and sure enough, at two different places where the former had stopped to dig, the snow was stained with the blood of the latter. Fascinating. The tracks were too large and widely spaced to belong to a long-tailed weasel, the perky predator whose summer brown coat shifts to winter white, perfect camouflage for prowling the subnivean (under-snow) world for the voles, mice and shrews that remain active throughout the season. But they were also too small to be a coyote. Fox maybe? American pine marten?
Which animal had made the prints, however, mattered less than what these showed. Each of the spots the animal more or less beelined to before checking it out was a de facto mound of snow—a skier-made mogul. And it was always a mogul, never the compressed troughs
Was there a correlation between the mogulmaking by skiers and snowboarders on this run and a congregation of prey beneath them? between. I can’t attest to whether these mounds harboured clumps of vegetation or stumps or rock piles, but they definitely contained critters. And because the hunter clearly knew something about what was going on beneath certain moguls, I had to wonder: Was this a form of subsidized predation—the term employed when an anthropogenic action or construct directly or indirectly makes it easier for an animal to find its prey? In other words, was there a correlation between the mogulmaking by skiers and snowboarders on this run and a congregation of prey beneath them? If so, it was both interesting and news to me. But maybe not surprising. Ski areas have all sorts of known effects on the ecosystems MAXIME LÉGARÉ-VÉZINA
they spring up in—but probably double that in unknown effects. Only a few weeks prior to that chairlift ride I’d wondered aloud to friends about increased snow compression in the trees and what kind of effect that might have on understory plants, birds and other creatures. That had occurred to me because traffic in off-piste forested areas had increased 100-fold or more in the two decades I’d skied there; whereas skiing the trees once felt like you were a careful interloper in the realm of the forest gods, it now feels like you’re helping pack down a run that just happens to be studded with trees. I wondered if anyone had thought to look into this and, of course, someone had. The wily Swiss, who have many hard-closure areas on their ski hills for alpine ungulates like chamois and ibex that use these forests in winter (a situation we do not have in North America, where large ungulates tend to head to the valleys), conducted a study of stress generated on wildlife by “free-riders” (the pejorative use of this term by scientists was somewhat comical). The premise was that human disturbance probably adds to other negative impact factors affecting vulnerable populations. Evaluating the physiological stress response of radio-monitored black grouse, for instance, they concluded that being actively flushed from their snow burrows by off-piste skiers was indeed stressful to the birds. As far as compaction of snow within regularly skied forest areas, we can take our cues from the several studies of on-piste snow compaction. A large review of the ecological implications of artificial snow and piste-preparation in general found the expected direct impacts related to the compaction of snow cover, namely the induction of soil frost, formation of ice layers, mechanical damage and a delay in plant development. Vegetation also reacts with changes in species composition and a decrease in biodiversity. The use of artificial snow modifies some of these impacts: Soil frost is mitigated due to increased insulation of the snowpack, and mechanical impacts of snow grooming are mitigated due to deeper snow cover. But there is no getting around the delay of vegetation development being enhanced by a considerably postponed snowmelt—solely due to snow compression. In a study in the Australian Alps, the range of indirect impacts on plants from snow compaction was extensive, and included lower soil temperatures, greater depth of soil freezing, depleted soil nutrients and higher pH. This in turn induced changes in soil biota, herbivory, animal activity, predation, insect activity, seed dispersal and the composition of plant communities. Mostly, however, it highlighted that no one is really studying these things. We have no clue how this affects the small critters of the subnivean world and their large role in ecosystem health; the local success of such creatures in any given year is at least partially responsible for regulating populations of everything from owls to weasels to larger predators. There might even be a role for this in climate change. Since up to half the carbon that plants take up in summer is released back into the atmosphere by microbes in winter under normal circumstances, does off-piste snow compaction increase or decrease this? There’s no real point to this column other than the usual ponderings of humans not knowing much about either our surroundings or what we’re doing to them. Though it’s only really food for thought, not knowing what goes on beneath snowy landscapes might be a little like not seeing the forest for the trees.
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EXPOSURE How pro athletes cope with anxiety and pressure words :: Molly Hurford As we head into our second winter in the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions are loosening up but the world is still far from normal. For professional athletes, it’s been especially difficult: How do you train for a season that may not happen? And in sports like alpine racing where stress is already high on competition days, how does the added stress of global shutdowns change their outlook? If you’ve been struggling with heightened stress and anxiety in the past two years, know that you’re not alone. Ali Nullmeyer.
Recently, Colorado-based epidemiology researcher and running coach Megan Roche, M.D., helped lead a study in partnership with Strava and Stanford University looking at stress and anxiety reported by professional athletes during the pandemic. The results were jarring: One in five athletes reported difficulty exercising related to mental health, motivation and COVID-19. Reports of depressed and anxious feelings increased sixfold during the earlier stages of the pandemic. This survey might sound scary, but in some ways it’s positive: It’s showing that athletes are getting more comfortable sharing their mental health struggles. “It’s great to see so many professional athletes talking openly about their struggles with anxiety and stress,” says Krista Chandler, Ph.D., a professor in the Sport and Exercise Psychology Laboratory at Ontario’s University of Windsor. “I think that allows amateur and recreational athletes to realize that it’s okay to have those feelings.”
One in five athletes reported difficulty exercising related to mental health, motivation and COVID-19. Reports of depressed and anxious feelings increased sixfold during the earlier stages of the pandemic. Toronto-born FIS alpine World Cup skier Ali Nullmeyer is no stranger to high-pressure situations as a slalom racer, and she’s also familiar with adversity. After winning the overall 2017 NorAm Cup, a crash in 2018 sidelined her for nearly a year. Now the 23-yearold, who grew up skiing at The Georgian Peaks Club, is preparing for another season that will likely be impacted by restrictions and lockdowns, testing requirements, travel quarantines and delays. But as she takes a break from her economics homework at Middlebury College in Vermont to chat with Mountain Life about handling the anxiety and pressure of even more unknowns, she seems to have a good handle on her mental well-being. Life on the road for much of the year, chasing snow for training and competing, can be stressful, but Nullmeyer has learned the way to deal with anxiety from an overwhelming calendar is to be organized. “I have a day planner and I spend time planning things out in there. If I had a really busy week, I’ll plan everything down to the hour,” she says. While it might seem like balancing school and skiing together would add stress, Nullmeyer believes her stress is better managed because she has different outlets and facets to her life. Similar to how amateur athletes turn to skiing to take their minds off of a tough workday, Nullmeyer turns to school to get a forced mental break from skiing, and vice versa. “Even though it’s busy, school has been a good way for me to handle the pressures of the sport,” she says. “It’s just something for me to get my mind off skiing, where it can be hard not to think about things you could have done better. School is a way for me to decompress from skiing, in a sense.”
Nullmeyer training in the off-season.
SUPPLIED BY ALI NULLMEYER
“We have control over what attitude we come to practice with,” adds Chandler. “There are always going to be stressors in our lives, but an athlete can develop the ability to put those stressors aside and focus on the task at hand. So even if you have stress or anxiety around work, when you step outside for the run, you can stop focusing on those stressors and instead focus on the benefits of getting outside and getting that run in today.” For Nullmeyer, COVID cancelling a season and a half thus far was particularly tough because she had just recovered from an injury. “COVID started during the first year I’d really come back from my injury. It took me longer to get back into the swing of things and back to World Cup level,” she recalls. “But I was starting to ski better. I had just gotten my first World Cup point, and that’s when everything shut down.”
“Now I approach training as if everything is normal, and then if something does happen, I deal with it as it comes.” When she did finally get back to the slopes, it was a different world. “It wasn’t the normal European experience; we were just in condos trying to stay away from people and trying to minimize exposure,” she says. “The worry about testing positive and not being able to race added a whole other component as well.” But while Nullmeyer was less than optimistic about the season, she realized her internal motivation was actually stronger than ever. “At the beginning of last season, I thought the season might be canceled. I started asking Why am I doing this if the season is just going to get canceled? That made me come back to my love of the sport. The fact that we were all still out there training, not knowing if we’re going
to have a season, just proves how much we love ski racing. Now I approach training as if everything is normal, and then if something does happen, I deal with it as it comes.” This time has also taught her the importance of paying attention to how she’s feeling—not physically, but emotionally and mentally— in order to avoid those feelings of being overwhelmed. “The more organized I can be with everything, the easier it is to get to sleep at night,” she says. “If I wake up and start thinking of something I need to do, then I just get up, write it all down and then I can fall asleep way easier because it’s written down and captured.” Chandler is a fan of journaling as well, as a way to tame the anxiety beast within. “You don’t need to make it a precious activity, but take some time to reflect on your workout or your day as a whole,” she says. “Ask things like What did I do today that allowed me to feel so great and how can I recreate that? And conversely, Why did I feel bad, and how can I change that? This helps athletes start to notice patterns.” As with anything, it’s about balance. “For me, what I learned last year is that I definitely need some time alone. And whether that’s watching a show or just being by myself going on a walk or something like that, it’s important,” adds Nullmeyer. “I try to build in times of the day that I can just relax. Otherwise, I think I get a little too overstimulated with everything and that’s when I struggle. It’s all about building in that time to do whatever I want and not have to worry about socializing or this or that.” If you’re struggling with anxiety or just a lot of stress in your life, there’s no one “right” solution. For some, talking to a professional may help ease anxiety or learn ways to manage it. For others, journaling can help work through stressors and find solutions to problems. And for some, simply taking a morning to enjoy some time on the slopes— without thinking about getting faster or stronger—can be the best anxiety buster of them all.
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ENDLESS OPTIONS: WINTER IN THE SOO Words by Colin Field
is a hub of all things outdoors. With more than
kilometres of snowshoe trails and the Crystal
Photos by Sault Ste. Marie Tourism
3,000 acres, Hiawatha Highlands wilderness
Snowshoe Trail will take you right to the bottom
preserve is a mainstay in the local outdoor
of the beautiful falls. They offer snowshoe rent-
scene. Famed in summers for its endless moun-
als, as well.
When it comes to winter, if it’s gonna be cold, then bring on the snow. And if you’re into snow, you can bet your P-Tex, Sault Ste. Marie is gonna get some. Their northerly latitude combines with the lake effect of the mighty Lake Superior contributing to an average snowfall of 320 centimetres. And if you want to get out in that snow, the Soo has you covered. Two destinations that should be high on the snow-lover’s bucket list are Hiawatha Highlands and Stokely Creek Lodge. Just ten minutes from downtown Sault Ste. Marie, Hiawatha Highlands/Kinsmen Park
tain bike trail system, in winters it’s renowned
The relative newbie to the outdoor party
for 50 kilometres of cross-country ski trails.
at Hiawatha, is the fat bike. The Sault Cycling
The Soo Finnish Nordic Ski Club, which was
Club has partnered with Hiawatha and with the
formed in the mid-1900s, maintains the trail
addition of the Farmer Lake trail has 15 kilo-
system complete with groomed tracks for both
metres of maintained fat bike trail this winter.
classic and skate skiers. Three different levels
Groomed by both Ski-Doo and Snowdog, the
of trails cater to anyone from beginner to ex-
cycling culture is strong in the Soo and you can
pert and they also have learn-to-ski packages,
bet the fat bike scene will continue to grow.
rental options and a ski school.
Of course, the pièce de resistance for
If you want to check out the beauty of the
cross country skiing in the Soo, and perhaps
Crystal Falls, snowshoes are a great way to
Ontario, can be found at Stokely Creek Lodge.
do just that. The recreation centre offers 14
About 35 minutes north of the Soo, this is a
cross-country skier’s paradise. USA Today rated
on King’s Mountain; from this 580-metre peak
and a great place to meet other like-minded
Stokely as one of the top five cross-country
you can see all the way to Lake Superior and
people from around the world. Simply put, it’s
ski destinations in North America. Here’s why.
beyond. There are also snowshoe trails and a
a ski trip like no other.
Stokely opened in 1978 and the 8,000-
couple of sledding hills for the kiddos.
While both these locations are top-notch
acre piece of property, a large portion of which
But what really sets Stokely apart is the
destinations for getting out in the snow, it’s the
is generously provided by the Algoma High-
all-inclusive options―that’s right, all-inclusive.
people of the Soo that really make the drive
lands Conservancy, features 100 kilometres of
Not only do they feed you breakfast, lunch and
worth it. They’re friendly, they’re keen and
groomed trails. Which is absolutely massive. A
dinner, you’ll also have full access to their two
they’re more than willing to show off and share
variety of trails suit everyone from beginner to
Scandinavian-style saunas, the waxing room,
their beautiful backyard.
Olympian and they groom for both classic and
recreation room and beyond. They serve deli-
After going to the Soo once, you’ll find a
skate skiers. Six warming huts throughout the
cious, home-cooked, healthy meals, send you
reason to go back every season. The people,
property are great places to meet the locals.
off for the day with a packed lunch and serve
the places and the incredible quality of snow
A trip out to Norm’s Cabin is a classic trip that
coffee, tea and hot chocolate all day long. The
won’t be forgotten. Or head up to the viewpoint
rooms and chalets are cozy and comfortable
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A MIRROR TO NATURE More than cabins in the forest, the mysterious arcana retreat offers nature immersion for the camping-averse
words & photos :: Kristin Schnelten The arcana website is a bit of an enigma. An interactive animation of a shimmering rectangular cube simulates the changing seasons in a southern Ontario woodland. A description of meditative energy is followed by cabin dimensions and amenities. But so many questions remain: Why is this mirrored building—or buildings?—in the middle of the woods? How can I stay there? And, wait, just where the heck is it? “We’re intentionally vague on the site,” says arcana cofounder Jeremy Hill. “The word ‘arcana’ derives from Latin, meaning ‘hidden’ or ‘secret,’ and the mystery is part of the
intrigue. Guests only learn the location after booking, because the experience is about being here completely, not about what attractions are nearby.” There’s no need to know your proximity to the bay or a ski resort, no use for a directory of area activities, says Hill. “We want our guests to come here and immerse themselves in nature, right out their door.” Park the car for a few days, tuck your phone away (there’s no Wi-Fi) and just be. You’re on your own to explore, to experience the property without a prescribed list of trails to follow or features to visit. “Discoveries are here to be made, but we really want to reward the seeker,” Hill says. 77
“The word ‘arcana’ derives from Latin, meaning ‘hidden’ or ‘secret,’ and the mystery is part of the intrigue. Guests only learn the location after booking, because the experience is about being here completely, not about what attractions are nearby.”
Rewarding the seeker. The phrase is repeated—both by my tour guide and in my head—as we crunch through the snowy property. Located down a nondescript, signless lane that could be anyone’s hunting camp, simply making that leap of faith to turn from the road (Is this even the right address?) offers its own reward. Hidden deep within the maples are three polished stainless steel cabins (two available for overnight stays), fully equipped modern tiny homes designed by architect Michael Leckie to reflect and disappear into the surrounding natural world. A European sauna with cold-water plunge is situated along a separate meandering path, one of many leading from the centre pavilion. The sauna, designed with a startling full-glass wall and situated in a darkened copse of towering pines, is one of the few details shared with potential guests. The co-founders are firm believers in the restorative
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Ellen Kalis Sales Representative 416-527-2896 firstname.lastname@example.org ellenkalisrealty
powers of nature for mental, spiritual and physical health, and the sauna-cold water cycle is central to that experience. “We wanted to create a place for city-dwelling professionals who would like to explore nature but to whom camping doesn’t appeal,” says Hill. “There’s so much focus on improving our physical fitness, but spending time outdoors or in meditation both have proven benefits on our mental health, as well.” Just strolling through the 15 kilometres of trails has its own calming effect, but the co-founders nudge visitors further in the direction of meditation with a custom audio recording, accessible only within the walls of each cabin. A collaboration with two New York-based yoga and meditation centres, the “sound journey” is an hour-long guided mindfulness experience with spoken word and soothing chimes. The Little Book of Moments, a palm-sized grounding, exploration, connection and restoration journal, welcomes guests upon arrival and walks the reader through conscious moments in the woods. Providing the framework for an immersive stay involves local collaborations as well, including Bruce Wine Bar meals and Good Grief coffee, available for pre-order and stocked in the cabin kitchens before guests arrive.
Constructed during the pandemic and launched just this past September, arcana first released four months of bookings, and those nights were snatched up in less than 24 hours. Their second release sold out in less than 90 minutes, and a third of those bookings were return visitors. “The forest changes so much from season to season; it’s really our hope that guests return four times a year, to experience those changes first-hand, furthering their reconnection with nature,” says Hill. Striking mirrored exteriors, deep-forest audio journey, painstaking attention to detail—the on-site revelations are a lot to take in. Arcana has smartly set a two-night minimum stay, but I’d argue it should be longer. Creating a relationship with the outdoors takes more than 36 hours, especially when you spend the first 24 awestruck by your surroundings.
To learn slightly more about arcana or add your name to the waitlist, visit their website at findarcana.com or follow their social media accounts @findarcana.
Bodega and Bottle Shop 11:00-8:00
Dining Room and Take Out 5:00-8:30PM – Wood-fired Pizza – – Local & Sustainable Cuisine – – Diverse wines & hand-crafted cocktails –
feed your curiosity Open Tuesday-Saturday 8 Bruce St. S, Thornbury (behind TD bank) brucewinebar.ca / 519.599.1112
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COFFEE , FOOD, BEER & MORE YOUR WINTER AC TIVIT Y APRÈS SPOT
Talk to Todd for a complimentary evaluation! Sotheby’s International Realty, Collingwood
Insanely good coffee. First class bike service. 246-A Hurontario St., Collingwood SummitSocialHouse.com
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POW ’ER UP Five tips to maximize the fresh
words :: Colin Field We’ve all got one of those friends, you know the type: their social media feed is full of waist-deep powder shots every day of the week. When you ask where they’re skiing they’ll respond with vague answers like, “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you.” If you ask what conditions are like, they’ll say, “It’s all tracked out now!” So annoying. It’s the kind of Instagram account you can’t turn away from. It’s a love/hate kinda thing. When it comes to localism, powder-day secrets are top of the list of classified information. But don’t worry, we have you covered. We’ve spent years honing our craft and gearing our lives towards powder day accessibility. And we learned long ago that sharing is caring. So here are our top five tips for scoring an epic powder day.
Greg Sturch knows all the rules for getting freshies at Blue.
“MORE FRIENDS ON A POW DAY” Ever heard the expression, “No friends on a pow day”? Neither have we. We’re pretty sure the expression goes, “More friends on a pow day.” Sharing your passion with friends and loved ones is the best way to take advantage of an Ontario pow day. Got a snowboarder buddy that takes forever to strap in at the top of the hill and often falls over in the lift line? No problem. Bring him along when there’s tons of fresh snow. He’ll have you waiting at the top and the bottom of the hill. Nothing beats sitting at the bottom of the hill watching people whooping with joy as they farm furrows through blower pow, then ski right past you and back onto the chair. Your buddy just hasn’t figured out toe-side turns yet. Be patient.
DON’T RUSH The myth that you have to rush to get freshies on a pow day is just that: a myth. There’s plenty of snow for everyone. Why would you want to be the first one down Elevator Shaft cutting a glorious track right down the middle of an untracked pow field? Boring! Why not do some lollygagging? Stop in the Village for a coffee and a snack, keep your boots in the car to put them on while they’re super stiff and cold and leave your waiver until you go to Blue to grab your 5X7 pass. No problem. Take your time! Locals rarely arrive early and ready to ski on pow days, so why not wait till the crack of noon to get in the lift line? Heck, grab some lunch first. There’s plenty of time for fresh tracks.
EVERY DAY IS A POW DAY, RIGHT?
Got a prior commitment on a pow day? No problem. Tomorrow will also be good. Guaranteed. It snows every day in the winter, right? Once December 21 hits, we’re guaranteed at least 12 inches of snow every single day until March 20. It’s winter in Ontario. Of course there will be fresh snow. Carpe diem? Man, that was written back in 23 BC—it’s old news and totally irrelevant in the age of technology. If you’ve got a Zoom meeting, need to take the dog for a walk or are having a bad hair day, you should probably skip this particular pow day.
SAY CHEESE Let’s face facts here: Skiing pow is actually all about getting likes on Instagram. So if you don’t have photos of your epic ski day, what’s the point? Taking your time to get the perfect shot is important. And remember it doesn’t have to be an action shot; take a shot of you in the parking lot unloading your gear. Maybe a selfie beside a particularly impressive pile of snow? Creativity is king here, so the more impressive your post, the better. Take your time. Why not make a stopmotion video? Without imagery, there’s no glory.
On a serious note, with the end of COVID near (fingers crossed!), everyone and their grandmother is gonna be at the hill this winter. So be smart, plan ahead, be patient and above all, don’t be a pow-day jerk. Make nice with fellow riders and resort staff. We all want to get back to a great season. Oh, and don’t forget to pray for snow!
Brian McElroy (L) and Curtis Eichenberger approaching Lake Huron.
Brian McElroy off Collingwood.
Derek Lanthier, Diamond Lake, Ontario.
Burton Blue Mountain Our newest store is now open. Drop in and shop the new Winter Collection. Blue Mountain Village 152 Jozo Weider Blvd, Unit 1, Blue Mountains, ON
3→ 1. Time to drop in. The SMITH 4D MAG boasts the widest field of view and sharpest optics to give you the best possible read on the terrain, so you can nail your line every time. With quick and easy lens change and all-conditions ChromaPop tech to drop you into a bigger, brighter, sharper world. www.corbetts.com // 2. Made with Georgian Bay apples, SPY MATA HARI APPLE BRANDY is double-distilled, released in small batches and lightly aged in cognac barrels. Notes of toasted oak, burnt caramel and vanilla impart a smooth and spicy flavour with perceptible heat behind it. Purchase online at www.spydistillery.com // 3. The COLUMBIA WILD CARD OMNI-HEAT INFINITY GLOVES feature new heat-reflective tech (combined with 80g insulation) to keep hands warm so you can shred harder. Waterproof-breathable bladder and DWR-treated goat leather palm keep your hands dry. Plus: touch-screen compatible thumb and fingertip. Columbia at Blue www.columbiasportswear.ca // 4. The BURTON EVERGREEN HOODED DOWN JACKET (available in men's or women's) is that rare puffy that breathes while still holding ovenstrength heat. Burton's Living Lining tech boasts breathable "pores" that expand or contract based on temperature. Another bonus is its windproof design, plus bluesign approved materials and responsibly sourced down. www.burton.com // 5. The 3-ply Dermizax shell fabric of the ORAGE MTN-X SPIRE 3L SHELL JACKET makes it one of the most dependably water-resistant jackets available. Field-tested in the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest, the Spire offers an ergonomically engineered jacket that will keep you warm and dry on the days where you need to take a rainy lift ride at lower elevations to access the fresh snow at the peak. www.orage.com // 6. We like jackets that can be used for many different things and the JACK WOLFSKIN ARGO PEAK JACKET ticks a lot of outdoor boxes. This windproof down jacket is warm enough to wear on its own if you’re out snowshoeing on a January day, and breathable enough to wear under a shell. This RDS-certified 800-fill down beauty is also stylish enough to wear on a date night in a mountain town. www.jack-wolfskin.com
7. THE NORTH FACE FREEDOM INSULATED PANT, available in women’s and men’s, boasts Heatseeker Eco insulation (90% recycled poly) and with waterproof, breathable performance and durability as well as all-conditions style. The outer fabric is 100% recycled poly, with non-PFC DWR finish. www.thenorthface.com // 8. If you’re looking into ski touring this season check the new lightweight ARMADA SHIFT MNC 13, which bridges the gap between a tech pin binding and traditional alpine binding. It offers the efficient performance of a pin binding when touring uphill and transitions to an alpine binding when descending for increased safety and power. In-store at Skiis & Biikes Collingwood or free shipping at www.skiisandbiikes.com // 9. The popular HELLY HANSEN WOMEN’S POWDERQUEEN INFINITY JACKET not only looks great and performs in powder, it’s also responsibly made with waterproof/breathable LIFA INFINITY technology. With tons of useful features and a step forward in sustainability, this jacket is a favourite with both seasoned pros and those who have yet to venture beyond the bunny hill. www.hellyhansen.com // 10. Glen Plake’s first signature model, the ELAN RIPSTICK TOUR 104 was designed and tested from the ground up by the Elan ambassador and freeskiing pioneer, and blends the lightweight construction necessary for efficient ascents with his legendary performance and style. www.elanskis.com // 11. The new BLIZZARD THUNDERBIRD R15 WB with its new Trublend Piste wood core and Active Carbon Armor vibration damping system is designed to give you the trust and confidence to carve turns as fast as you dare on any groomed or variable trail. www.blizzard-tecnica.com // 12. The ROSSIGNOL EXPERIENCE 86 BASALT + SPX 12 KONECT GW BINDING blends a lightweight build with a smooth ride for carving across the entire mountain. A paulownia wood core reduces overall weight, while basalt layers absorb vibration for a smooth, quiet feel. An 86 mm waist adds versatility and stability across changing snow conditions. The confidence-boosting control of Rossignol’s Drive Tip design works with the sidecut and full sidewall construction for smooth turn initiation and a powerful edge through the entire turn. www.sportinglife.ca
axed in the village
From the very beginning of AXED, Melissa Herod and her husband, John, had their sights set on Blue Mountain Village. “We’ve always had this exact spot on our vision board, which hangs right in our kitchen,” says Melissa. It took three years, including months of shutdowns and uncertainty, but they ﬁnally made it to their dream location. The new AXED is now oﬃcially open, right in the heart of the village. With the sporadic, jump-inducing WHACK!—and ensuing cheers—fading into the background, Melissa delivers a quick history synopsis of this family-owned business. Keep reading the story online at www.mountainlifemedia.ca/axed
705-293-3000 WWW.AXEDTHROWING.COM 166 Jozo Weider Blvd (Unit 64-B), The Blue Mountains
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14 13. The RAB WOMEN'S INFINITY ALPINE JACKET offers uncompromised protection with excellent warmth in a lightweight package. Combining advanced Interstitch seam construction with GORE-TEX INFINIUM fabrics to protect from the elements during exposed alpine climbs or lines, this technical jacket is loaded with features including a fully adjustable, helmet-compatible down-filled hood with stiffened peak for increased protection, warmth and on-hill comfort. www.rab.equipment/ca // 14. Strap ‘em in and let ‘em ride. INTUITION WRAP STRAPS improve ergonomics and comfort by pulling from both sides in a cinching motion, causing the strap to cradle and evenly disperse compression, eliminating pressure points and improving fit and control. www.intuitionliners.com // 15. SLIPPERY RACER snow sleds and toboggans are ahead of the curve in design, quality and performance. Made with premium high-grade flex plastic and coated with an exclusive IceVex cold-resistant treatment, these sleds are built for the most rugged conditions. Assorted sizes and styles available. www.mindsalive.ca //16. Reign over the entire mountain with the new NORDICA SPEEDMACHINE 3 130 S. Inspired by decades of refinement, this all-mountain boot has been reimagined to meet the needs of the most demanding skiers. Nordica’s 3Force technology maximizes the transmission of energy from the leg and foot to the liner and shell for unrivalled power and control. Liner and shell can readily be customized. www.nordica.com // / 17. Train virtually all winter with 1800 watts of resistance in the comfort of your own home on the WAHOO KICKR CORE SMART TRAINER. Maintain your fitness with thousands of rides from all over the world. www.kamikazebikes.com // 18. The ATLAS TREELINE ELEKTRA for women is packed with features to tackle your fav winter hikes. The responsive energy return of the Spring-Loaded Suspension (SLS), the comfort of the new Wrapp MTN Binding (featuring the Boa Fit System) and the lightweight Reactiv Frame all make for a 'shoe that will take you to the tree line and beyond. www.littleeds.com
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List your home with a trusted RE/MAX at Blue Realty sales representative or broker.
Reasons to list your home with RE/MAX at Blue Realty. 1. NAME RECOGNITION RE/MAX is the No. 1 name in real estate* thanks in part to decades of extensive advertising. At just about every turn, potential clients find RE/MAX ads – across TV, radio, print, outdoor signage, the Web and social media. Chances are, you would have a hard time finding someone who has never heard of “RE/MAX.” 2. UNRIVALLED EXPERTISE Our experienced and knowledgeable agents are the reason RE/MAX is consistently ranked number one in several markets across Canada. We provide our agents with exclusive tools to ensure they have the skills they need to effectively guide
you through the real estate process. Our office motto is Honesty, Knowledge and Goodness. Each RE/MAX at Blue Realty employee, sales representative or broker must live up to those three words. 3. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION The proof of quality service is in repeat customers and in customers who refer RE/MAX at Blue Realty team members to friends. RE/MAX at Blue Realty sales representatives and brokers typically generate a large percentage of their business from past customers and referrals. Our team is trusted and experienced.
4. LOCATION – LOCATION – LOCATION The RE/MAX at Blue Realty office is located in the heart of The Village at Blue Mountain right beside Starbuck’s. More than then two million visitors walk past the office window each year. They don’t drive by at 60 kilometres per hour. They WALK past our window and review the listings prominently displayed. Why not put your home in our window? 5. RE/MAX AT BLUE REALTY WEBSITE Just type “Real Estate in Blue Mountain” or “Blue Mountain Real Estate” in any search engine and the RE/MAX at Blue website consistently appears in the top 2 organic (unpaid) searches. That’s marketing power to help sell your home faster.
Call 705-445-0440 or visit our website
REMAX-BLUEMOUNTAIN.COM or visit our office in... Blue Mountain Village next to Starbucks *Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX ®
PROUDLY SERVING COLLINGWOOD, BLUE MOUNTAIN & THORNBURY
List your home with a trusted RE/MAX at Blue Realty sales representative or broker.
Gerry Wayland Owner/Broker of Record (705) 446-6690 email@example.com
Andrea Newton Sales Representative (705) 351-0905 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Hibbard Sales Representative (705) 994-3272 email@example.com
Nash Cohen Sales Representative (5I9) 223-2220 firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Pearce Sales Representative (905) 334-9484 email@example.com
Heather Stitt Broker (705) 888-1974 firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry McKenzie Broker (519) 673-7822 email@example.com
Joe Palacka Sales Representative (905) 626-4933 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Cain Sales Representative (5I9) 872-1356 email@example.com
Call 705-445-0440 or visit our website
REMAX-BLUEMOUNTAIN.COM or visit our office in... Blue Mountain Village next to Starbucks *Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX ®
Maggie Smyth Sales Representative (705) 734-5046 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Harris Assistant Administrator (705) 445-0440
A BAD CANADIAN’S ODE TO THE BACKYARD RINK I’m not even sure I should write these words down, and once I say the thing I’m about to say I’ll probably find a mob outside my house. But I’m gonna say it anyway: I’m a bad Canadian. Why? Because I’m not that into hockey. I never have been. I’ve heard of the Leafs of course and obviously Bobby Orr. I’ve even seen the house where Orr grew up (bit of a crack den these days). I once dressed up as a soccer hooligan for Halloween and people thought I was Wendel Clark, so I’ve heard of him, too. And of course, living near Collingwood, I know Scott Thornton. But that’s it. I have friends who are also bad Canadians. Hockey never comes up with these guys. We don’t go watch a game at the bar or discuss trades, fantasy leagues or the stick-handling skills of other fully grown men. So far it hasn’t been a problem. I’ve been left out of a few conversations over the years and probably missed a couple career opportunities because I can’t talk the talk, but that’s fine with me. I’m just not that interested.
Every time a friend of mine says they can’t play hockey, the next minute they’re tick-tacking around, man-handling the puck, doing crossovers around corners and shooting at the net. But it’s inevitable that, as a Canadian, every few years I end up on a backyard rink. I’ll wipe the rust off my skates (people think ski boots are uncomfortable?!), dust off my stick (I’m not so treasonous that I don’t own one) and wobble around on the ice, using the stick more like
a walking cane. Once in a while my bad Canadian friends will also show up. They’ll say things like, “Oh I can’t play hockey. I can barely skate.” And you know what’s funny? Every time a friend of mine says they can’t play hockey, the next minute they’re tick-tacking around, man-handling the puck, doing crossovers around corners and shooting at the net. These are guys that weren’t schlepped around from arena to arena as kids, they weren’t on the high school team, nor do they play every week. Somewhere along the line, they just learned the basics of hockey. And I’m the same. I can only speak for myself, but I know where I learned: on the frozen pond at the park across from my childhood home. I don’t remember playing much, but I distinctly remember winding up for a slap shot and smacking the kid behind me in the face. His nose bled all over the place while he screamed at me, “No slap shots!” I never realized that was a rule. Offside cherry picking was another rule I never truly grasped. But I owe all my skills to that pond. Nowadays, these three-on-three games of pickup can get pretty heated. Even though half the players claim they can’t play hockey, they kinda can. Once in a while we’ll even score on the guys who play weekly. That feels good. It’s at these times that I look around at my non-hockey-playing friends and think, Hey, just because we don’t know who got the most RBIs in the third quarter of last night’s game doesn’t mean we’re bad Canadians. We can sort of play. Hey, we’re mediocre Canadians! Give me a stick, some skates and, most importantly, a low-pressure, nothing-but-fun pond to skate on, and for an afternoon at least, I’ll admit: Hockey’s pretty fun. Long live The Great One! – Colin Field
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