Born to Ski

Posted by martin.parnell |

Next Event:

Lacrosse Quest 24


  • Start: 7.00pm Friday April 27th 2012

  • Finish: 7.00pm Saturday April 28th 2012

  • Location:South Fish Creek Recreational Centre, Calgary

  • RTP Fundraising Target: $50,000

  • RTP Fundraising Actual: $6,462

At the age of 16 my life started to go downhill. That's when I learnt to ski. I signed up for a one week school ski trip to the French Alps with my friends Patrick and Malcolm. None of us had skied before and as there are not too many ski resorts in Devon, England we headed over to the Torbay Leisure Centre. There, they had a dry ski slope laid out down the side of a hill. Imagine a carpet with toothbrush bristles sticking up. For six weeks, every Saturday morning, we'd head over to the centre and learn to snow plough. Things we're good if you stayed vertical but if you went down you'd get a nasty burn on your elbows and knees. The best times were after a down pour when you could fly off the end of the "carpet" and keep going for 50m on the wet grass.

Fast forward to Kimberley, B.C. I immigrated to Canada in 1977 and my first job was at the Sullivan mine. Besides the "Happy Hans" cuckoo clock, the best feature of the town was the ski hill. I bought my first set of Lange 211 racing skis, Nordica boots and poles at a ski swap at the hill. Over the following two years I spent most of my winter free time at the hill. My next move was to Yellowknife, NWT. It's flat, no problem, I moved onto Cross County skiing.

In 1985 it was over to Sudbury, Ontario. Again, not a mecca for down hill skiing but the kids learnt at the Lively ski hill and holidays were taken at Searchmont in Sault Ste Marie and Mount St. Louis Moonstone in Barrie. Arriving in Cochrane in 2004 it was time to head out to the mountains. In the winter of 2006, my nephew, Luke came over from England to work at a ski resort. He needed a Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance (CSIA) Level 1 certificate. To keep him company, I joined him on the course. We spent two weekends at Canada Olympic Park and at the end of the program I got my certification.

The biggest thrill I've had in skiing was when I returned to Sudbury in March 2011 and joined my grand daughter Autumn on the slopes.  She was seven years old and had enrolled in the Nancy Greene "learn to ski" program. She wanted to show Papa Martin how it was done and we took the lift up to the top of the hill at Adanac ski centre. It was a little misty and she was off like a bullet. I stuck with her most of the way down but suddenly she seemed to rise in the air and disappear. In the nick of time I realised it was a jump and I swerved to the left. I went around the obstacle and found Autumn in a heap. I asked if she was alright, she just smiled, got up and kept going. That's my girl.

Quote of the Day

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail"
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A powder day at Lake Louise: March 14th 2012

Born to Ski

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