As much as Joyce Ou loves to ski and snowboard in winter, the bonus is that it’s a chance to hang out with her friends for the day – or make new ones on the slopes.
“We drive out together, we ski together. It’s so much more fun with people that I know,” says Ou.
Ou, 30, now a permanent Canadian resident, moved to Canada from an area of China that never saw winter, to attend university in Calgary. Initially, she didn’t love snowy, cold days, but learning how to ski and board completely shifted her attitude.
These days, this is what Ou has to say about winter: “I love when it’s snowing. I say, ‘Yay! It’s, snowing again, I can go skiing!’ ”
This year she decided to shake up her ski schedule, at the encouragement of her friend Coco Yuen, and take a lesson, since she’d purchased a Nakiska season’s pass. Her goal? To learn how to ski more than green runs – and maybe even progress to a black run.
Her instructor, Luca Jelley, who has been teaching for three seasons, helped Ou do just that all in one day. “Because I have been skiing for a long time, I thought I can just have some refreshers and go from green to blue - but I made it to black!”
That day the snow was coming down in buckets, so when she did fall it didn’t hurt at all, she says laughing.
Luca’s instruction was just what she needed, helping her step by step to attempt a steeper slope. “He’s a good instructor,” Ou says. “I was super happy about it. He is quite patient, and he demonstrates a lot of examples and we followed along.”
“Joyce did amazingly well in our lesson,” said Jelley. “The progress we made was very significant, starting from short green runs on the easiest chair, to heading up the mountain into the experts only area and skiing one of our hardest black runs.”
Jelley says Ou just needs to keep practising and keep pushing herself outside her comfort zone like she did during her lesson.
She’s determined to keep getting better. “Yeah definitely, we’re going to practice more and I’m hoping I can (ski through) trees and moguls.”
Anyone who’s thinking about taking up snowboarding or skiing, just has to heed Ou’s words: “Pick a powder day so when you fall you don’t get hurt.”
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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