Just seven years ago, Genie Wong had never even tried snowboarding. Flash forward to the present, and you’ll find her out on the slopes – which is her home away from home, or in her own words, her “habitat.”
Moving from Macau, China to Calgary as a teenager, she was living with an aunt and uncle who encouraged her to get outside and enjoy winter in Canada. She now says it’s her favourite season – because it means getting in as much snowboard time as possible.
You’ll find her shredding the bowls at Lake Louise – in particular Larch Bowl. But her latest achievement was tackling Boomerang Bowl, to challenge herself, with a private instructor.
“This (was) my first time at the back bowl, and I was so amazed by how great it looked - definitely a million-dollar view and it has LOTS of powder because not many people go,” Wong said.
During the lesson, she also had the chance to challenge herself with a little snow hiking. “This was my first time and the view that comes afterward is worth the sweat and energy. You see a view of Lake Louise that not very many people get to see.”
How did she get the confidence to go from the green to the black runs? The 25-year-old kinesiology graduate made a study out of snowboarding, spending hours checking out YouTube videos that would show her tips and techniques that would improve her snowboarding skills.
Wong is philosophical about her love of snowboarding; it’s taught her some important life skills, like resiliency. “When you’re skiing or snowboarding you just keep trying and every time you fall, you get back up and ride.”
“It’s not just about snowboarding but everything that extends from it. Snowboarding leads me to places I’ve never been in life. It’s a great way to explore the world and stay in touch with nature.
Eventually, she plans to become a snowboard instructor, using her kinesiology knowledge to teach people how to snowboard.
But in the meantime, she’s happy to encourage people to just continue shredding. Her best advice? “Keep trying!”
Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC), Head Skis and SnowSeekers are proud sponsors of #NewSKiAB - to welcome newcomers to Alberta and promote diversity in winter adventures.
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