Two weekends ago my husband and I brought my parents up to Collingwood, Ontario for a weekend of XC skiing and snowshoeing. So why did I think this was a good idea? My parents live rather sedentary lifestyles. My brother and I have always urged them both to exercise more frequently. In particular, since they both retired recently, we were worried they might become even less physically active. We were happy when they signed up for tai chi classes and when they started taking walks more frequently, including walking to nearby supermarkets instead of driving.
Neither of my parents, although they have both lived in Canada for over thirty years now, had ever participated in any winter activities other than ice skating. Although my parents originally felt a bit dubious about such an experience they figured they should try it at least once in their lives. So we loaded up the car with our three pairs of skis (two pairs of class XC skis and one pair of skate skis), two pairs of snowshoes (my husband and I both own a pair), snacks in a cooler, various winter clothing, and my parents.
We decided that it would be nice to take my parents to the Scenic Caves in the Blue Mountains, Ontario as we’ve always enjoyed the trails and views there. Although I enjoy skiing, I’m not a big fan of the cold. I’m always happiest once the blood really starts pumping through my body as I’m XC skiing and I finally warm up. Still, the view is certainly lovely! Once I’m warmed up, I love pausing as I make my way along the serene trails to look up at the snow covered branches of the bare trees all around me. It can feel kind of magical, especially when a light dusting of snow begin to fall.
The ski conditions were okay that weekend (a few bare patches along the trails here and there) but we’ve had a winter of bizarre weather conditions so far. The weather has ranged from unseasonably mild (around 12 degrees Celcius) to icy cold (around -27 degrees Celcius factoring in the wind chill). It was relatively mild that Saturday and a bit colder and windier on Sunday.
Upon arriving at Scenic Caves, we purchased trail passes and rented snowshoes for my parents. I was reminded of school ski trips where I’ve helped students put on their skis and as I helped my parents strap on their snowshoes. We made it through the shortest trail with both parents pretty tired by the end of it. My dad was not impressed by the snowshoes and actually took them off as we neared the end of the trail, preferring to carry them and walk the rest of the way in his winter boots. My parents were then ready for a rest so my husband and I decided to do some XC skiing. I embarked on a bit more snowshoeing with my parents later in the afternoon which included checking out the suspension bridge along one of the trails. In the evening, we had a dinner at an amazing restaurant (more on this in the next post) and saw a movie (Zero Dark Thirty).
On Sunday, we had a yummy brunch (more on this in the next post) and then headed to Wasaga Nordic Centre, planning on doing more XC skiing. It was unfortunately closed that day. We speculated that perhaps the heavy overnight winds had knocked some trees down or perhaps the trails were not in the best condition. My husband suggested we try Horseshoe Resort in the Barrie area instead. In the end we had a lot of fun at Horseshoe Resort. My mom decided to relax today and hung out in chalet while my dad, keen on trying out XC skiing for the first time, was a great sport. In spite of falling many times, he declared that XC skiing was much more fun than snowshoeing. I really appreciated how patient and sweet my husband was with helping my dad back on his feet over and over again.
We all had fun in the end and my parents were excited about the idea of sharing stories of their snowshoe and ski adventures with my aunts and uncles. My dad loves his camcorder and, throughout the weekend, collected a wealth of video and photo evidence of his snowshoe and ski experience that I’m sure he will be sharing with anyone who cares to hear about it all. I’m really glad we had that experience together!
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll share the culinary part of our adventure with you all! Everyone who knows me knows that I love to take pictures of the food I enjoy at restaurants! Yum!