Travel that transforms comes in many packages, from the surprise trip that triggers a mind-blowing realisation, to the huge stand-out moments in your life. My trip to Canada was the latter.
There was no way a ski trip to Banff wasn’t going to be transformative for me. My boyfriend of 13 years is a superb snowboarder and I tried to join him in the sport back in 2008. I failed spectacularly. This was at a time where my mental and physical strength were lacking and I just couldn’t hack it.
Fast forward to now, on the plane home from a ski trip to Canada feeling as high as this 787 and achier than I ever have been in my entire life.
The thought of going on a snowsports holiday had long been a source of anxiety for me. I’d failed before but desperately wanted to try again. It took me ten whole years to muster the courage to try and it was at a time of stress in my life that caused a massive anxiety relapse.
When I get stressed about little things, I go all out.
I didn’t pinpoint the source of this anxiety until it subsided. The better I got at skiing (specifically two keystone lessons at Snozone in Milton Keynes), the better I felt. I finally came off a short dose of anti-depressants and steeled myself for the trip to Canada.
I don’t think I was really prepared for six days of skiing. I had all these expectations, all these plans and everything was so vastly different.
Banff was the perfect setting for this trip, we chose it because there’s so much to do in the area if, for whatever reason, I couldn’t ski. I didn’t expect the town to be so beautiful and fulfilling. It’s surrounded by three ski resorts and the first we chose was the largest, Lake Louise.
The steep, tree-lined runs were a baptism by fire that I absolutely do not regret. I understand myself quite well these days and I know throwing myself in the deep end is the best way for me to get over a fear.
It was difficult. I struggled. I panicked. But I did it. It took a long time to complete two runs but I’d skied and I’d enjoyed it. Dinner that night at Grizzly Steakhouse was the best reward I could’ve asked for.
The next two days we spent at the smaller resort of Mount Norquay where we’d heard the runs were shorter and more beginner friendly. This is where I found my ski legs and I had the pleasure of doing it in knee-deep powder.
I found my flow, something that’s so important in all walks of life. I pushed myself well beyond my mental limit and only had one small panic. I enjoyed playing in the snow, refined my technical abilities and pushed past the insane aches and pains from day one.
A calm set in from here because I truly believed I wouldn’t be able to hack more than a few days. I’d completed three days of skiing!
Already I felt proud of myself.
Then came Sunshine Village, the place that changed my life and taught me so much about how god damn strong I am.
Powder, tree-lined runs, difficult terrain, tiny jumps, plenty of falls and lots of gorgeous scenery. Everything that I came up against that I thought I couldn’t handle, I did. I nailed it.
This has honestly changed my life. I’ve done more skiing than I ever thought I’d be able to and probably more than most people expected me to.
If you get the chance to go to Canada skiing, you should absolutely do it, even if you’re nervous about the whole thing. I would definitely suggest you start at Mount Norquay near Banff and get lessons so you can build your confidence.
I now have hard proof that I am stronger both mentally and physically than I ever thought. Never has there been better motivation for me to push myself.