Winter’s Not So Bad
Welcome to another Scriptorium team Q&A or #AskScriptoriumAnything. We live in a winter climate—not just winter, a long winter which can last for 6 months. The nights are cold and dark, but our days can be bright and sparkly. We love that instead of hibernating away the greater Edmonton area is working hard to embrace the winter with festivals and lights and community events. So now that the festive season is over and we are settling in for the long haul of January winter, we’re thinking about what gets us outside when hibernating starts making us grizzly.
I really want to say skiing. For a long time, my husband Nick and I spent so much time out in our mountains backcountry skiing and camping. And I loved it. It made me look forward to winter. There is nothing more glorious than that blue-sky day on your telemark skis with friends and that perfect winter Rocky Mountain scene. Whether it was tromping up with your climbing skins or skiing down over an untouched slope, it was perfection. Once I learned to ski with a full backpack on and we’d invested in the warmest sleeping bag that was cozy on the coldest nights, skiing was our thing all winter long.
I can’t really say that skiing gets us out right now. Life, running two businesses, and my husband’s chronic illness left us with less time and less energy to get out on our skis. At all. So, while I might fondly recollect our peak ski days, I can’t claim that they get me outside now. With life now hitting a more even pace, if there is enough snow, we are going to drag out the cross-country skis or snowshoes and explore Elk Island Park. And one of these days, we will get out to our mountains again. At least once in a while.
But realistically. these days it is walking that gets me out. Slip-on snow cleats are my friend. Our river valley can be so beautiful in the winter and while we can’t get away for a whole weekend, we can get out for a walk in our neighbourhood or our city. All the better if it is for one of our Winter Festival events. With Christmas Markets and flying canoes, hot chocolate and ice skating, there’s a lot to do once I started looking. I recently went on a cold but delicious food and Instagrammable walk through the McCauley and Chinatown area with Linda Hoang. Our winter is too long to sit inside allll the time.
I’m more of an indoor cat. I have all the beautiful gear for enjoying Canadian winters but at the heart of it, I prefer to observe the winter through a frost-covered pane of glass. I love to watch giant snowflakes fall in the moonlight. To see the sparkle and glitter of sunshine bouncing off the snowdrifts in my yard.
Of course, I do take the children to skate or play hockey on the outdoor rinks. I love skiing and try to get my family to the mountains at least once a year. We go tobogganing in the river valley and there is always shovelling snow to force me out of doors.
My favourite is how the snow covers everything in a fresh coat of paint and I love to watch it all from my cozy couch with a hot cup of tea.
Is it a Canadian cliché to say one of my favourite outdoor winter activities involves skates and hockey jerseys pulled over hoodies?
Despite being good at other sports, I’m a lost cause on ice. When Seth was three, we went weekly to Moms and Tots Skate in my hometown. All I had to do was not fall off my skates when I was picking him back up onto his. When he was Timbits age, he designed his own Mom Power Skating classes. He would recreate the drills he learned in his hockey practices for me to try. Logan replaced the figure skates I had been using since the 8th grade with brand new hockey skates, heated and moulded to fit my feet. They didn’t improve my skating, but they were a lot more comfortable so I lasted longer on the ice. This was his goal.
Together, the two of them bought me my own hockey stick. Since I bat and golf right-handed, they decided on a right-handed blade. The fact that they had to discuss this said a lot about my skill level. They cut it so that the end reached my nose off skates and my chin on skates. After several years of being a hockey mom, I had taped my fair share of hockey sticks, but they completed the surprise by doing this for me as well.
I may not be a great skater, but I love going to the outdoor rinks. I humour those two by shooting some pucks and playing variations of hockey with rules slanted in my favour. Then usually I opt to be the Zamboni, skating with a shovel to clear the snow off the ice. I love the sound of their blades carving the ice and their joking taunts and cheers. I love the exercise and way my body aches and tingles when we go back inside to warm up. I love that it’s something we can all do together year after year.
#AskScriptoriumAnything Once in a while, we’re each going to answer the same question from our own perspective, experience, and interests so you can get to know more about us and what we do. Have a question for us? Send it via our social media or email.