A Day In My Backyard #NewSkiAB

Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) and SnowSeekers are proud sponsors of an exciting new initiative that seeks to welcome newcomers to Alberta and promote diversity in winter adventures. You can hear more about this event with an extended coverage on SnowSeekers.

Guest Article Written By Alexandra Camelo R. Pictures by Dan Hudson

As a Colombian the first thing you think when someone says Canada is SNOW. Winter means subzero temperatures, powerful winds, endless snow, crazy jackets, and all sorts of accessories to protect your extremities from freezing. The though of extreme weather conditions sounds like an epic adventure to me, it drew me to Calgary, and it made me fall in love with winter in Alberta. I now celebrate my 7th winter with the Rocky Mountains as my backyard.

The magic carpet ride to a day full of fun and learning.

I believe that as an immigrant I should embrace what my new home has to offer, which is tons of snow as well as endless opportunities for adventure and growth, personal and professionally. One of the ways to embrace Canada is to learn how to enjoy the winter and make the most of it. In Alberta we are lucky have Nakiska, Calgary’s closest mountain, just a 45-minute drive away where you can hit the slopes, snowshoe, go tubing or just kickback in the lodge and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.

Learning how to balance yourself on skis is easier said than done.

On Tuesday, February 4th, the partnership between Head Skis, Nakiska and Snow Seekers Media, gave me and 3 more first time skiers the opportunity to enjoy a full day of learning and building great memories. I have snowboarded before with no proper lesson and wrong size gear, my friends sent me down the hill and my stubborn self ended up with lots of bruises. This time was different, and I was glad, we started with proper gear fitting and Tim Maynard as our instructor for the day. Having an instructor as patient, encouraging and focused on safety and proper form made my experience extremely pleasant and memorable.

Pizza is the way… to stop!

Tim adapted to each one of us in terms of our abilities, struggles and fears, encouraging us every step of the way until we gained enough control and speed to graduate the bunny hill and hit the Bronze Chair lift. That is the magic of learning a new sport, you not only gain confidence is your abilities to perform the task at hand but it makes you step out of your comfort zone, it challenges your fears and I believe this has an impact way beyond the hill.

As we shared our experience over a delicious lunch and a hot drink at the end of the day, we all agreed on how much fun and excitement this new activity had added to our life and how we will definitely do it again. We encouraged each other during the day being complete strangers and we finished by celebrating our accomplishments and building new connections. That is the beauty of winter in Alberta if you decide to step outside and embrace the snow, you could end up taking on a new sport, connecting with great people, and challenging yourself in ways that strengthen your love for Canada.

If you want to hear more about this story, check out Lisa Monforton's article over on SnowSeekers.