Category Archives: Editorials

10 things you can do to keep our winters cool

Our logo turned green this month as a sign of our commitment and absolute resolve to make a difference in the fight against global pollution and climate change. Here is the first of our articles aimed at raising awareness.

In late 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released it’s latest findings. It was not good news. We have precisely 12 months to limit temperature increases to less than 1.5 degrees C, or face damning consequences, including catastrophic sea level rise, extreme heatwaves, mass extinctions and the death of coral reefs.

“There’s one issue that will define the contours of the century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate”

Barack Obama

The authors of the IPCC report say it’s still possible to prevent the world from warming more than 1.5 degrees C, but to achieve that, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 compared to what they were in 2010, then reduce gas emissions to zero by 2050. But to do this requires an immediate, massive, and coordinated transformation of the global economic system – especially the energy system, said the IPCC.

The future if we don’t limit temperature increases to less than 1.5 degrees C

As skiers and boarders, we have a ‘vested’ interest to take action or face losing our sport and the environment which will be relegated to the history books of ‘something mum and dad used to do’ (yes, mum and dad, not grandma and granddad – its happening that fast).

“In a world of more than 7 billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.”

Professor David Suzuki

Because we at SRA have given up on government to do anything about the climate change and its causes, we are calling on you as individuals to take up the slack. This is our call to action.

It ‘s no longer a government responsibility, but our individual responsibility to act – and not only act, but urge others to do the same.

This week we thought we’d start with an excellent piece written by Professor David Suzuki – scientist and passionate climate change mitigation advocate. In 2018, David’s team published an article ‘Top 10 things you can do about climate change‘.

With permission, we are excited to reproduce David’s key actions below – all of which are achievable by the average person.

1. Get charged up with renewables

The global push for cleaner, healthier energy is on. With costs dropping every day, renewable energy is the best choice for the environment and the economy. Start by sending a message to government leaders to get charged up with renewables now.

2. Green your commute

Transportation accounts for about 25% of climate-poluting emissions, a close second to the oil and gas industry. The many ways to reduce your transportation emissions will also make you healthier, happier and save you a few bucks. Whenever and wherever you can:

  • Take public transit.
  • Ride a bike.
  • Car-share.
  • Switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle.
  • Fly less (if you ski internationally, make sure you offset your emissions).

3. Use energy wisely

By getting more energy efficient, you’ll pollute less and save money. The small changes you make add up:

  • Change to energy-efficient light bulbs.
  • Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you’re not using them.
  • Wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water.
  • Dryers are energy hogs, so hang dry when you can and use dryer balls when you can’t.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
  • Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances.
  • Winterize your home to prevent heat from escaping.
  • Get a home or workplace energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains.

4. Eat for a climate-stable planet

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”~ Michael Pollan

Here are four simple changes you can make to your diet to reduce its climate impact.

  • Eat meat-free meals.
  • Buy organic and local whenever possible.
  • Don’t waste food.
  • Grow your own.

Get more info on how to eat for the climate and how eating less meat will reduce Earth’s heat. P.S. You can also help save the planet by eating insects!

5. Consume less, waste less, enjoy life

We use too much, too much of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.” ~ The Story of Stuff

Focusing on life’s simple pleasures — spending time in nature, being with loved ones and/or making a difference to others — provides more purpose, belonging and happiness than buying and consuming. Sharing, making, fixing, upcycling, repurposing and composting are all good places to start.

6. Divest from fossil fuels

Let industry know you care about climate change by making sure any investments you and your university, workplace or pension fund make do not include fossil fuels. Meet with your bank or investment adviser and/or join a divestment campaign at your university.

Fossil fuels are a sunset industry. They’re a risk for investors and the planet. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged.”

Learn more about why it’s important to divest from damage and invest in a healthier future.

7. Invest in renewables

Even if you can’t install solar panels or a wind turbine, you can still be a part of the clean-energy economy. Search online for local renewable energy co-ops to join. By becoming a co-op member you will own a slice of its renewable energy projects and can get a return on your investment. You can also speak to your financial adviser about clean energy/technology investments.

8. Help put a price on carbon

Putting a price on carbon is one of the most important pillars of any strong climate policy. Carbon pricing sounds boring, but it helps makes polluting activities more expensive and green solutions relatively more affordable, allowing your energy-efficient business and/or household to save money!

Most market economists agree that pricing carbon is an efficient and business-friendly way to reduce emissions. The federal government is working with the provinces and territories to put a national price on carbon, but they need your support.

9. Vote

All levels of government, from municipal to federal, can have a big effect on our ability to lower emissions, prepare and adapt to climate change and shift to a clean-energy economy.

Make sure you are registered to vote and then get informed for all elections — not just the federal ones that get most of the media attention. Research the party, ask questions about climate change at town halls or debates and let your candidates know you are voting for the climate. Candidates often hold a wide range of positions on climate change, so your vote really matters.

If you are too young to vote, encourage your class or school to join a Student Vote program, a parallel election for students under voting age that provides the opportunity to experience participation in the election process.

The first step is registering to vote. You can start with that now by following the links above.

10. Tell your story, listen to others

A healthy planet and stable climate aren’t political issues. It’s all about families, communities, energy systems and humanity’s future. It’s important to get everyone on board, working toward climate solutions.

People are more often influenced by friends than by experts, so make sure to talk about climate change with friends and family. Tell your stories — about changes you’ve seen where you live, how climate change has affected you, and the changes you’re making to lessen your impact. Encourage friends and family to explore the top 10 things they can do about climate change.

Join David and his team on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to share ideas and articles, write comments and help get the word out. Or, write your own letter to the editor about climate action in your local paper.

Aldi snow gear, 2019: what’s new, how much does it cost and does it stack up?

Aldi’s range of low-cost snow gear will again hit our Aussie stores on the 18 May. Yep, that’s the same day as our Federal election.  So time to grab bargain, possibly get in a fist-fight and celebrate our democracy with a sausage sizzle at you nearest election booth (what could be more Australian than that?). High fives all round.

With the anticipation and excitement building, I can hear you asking: What will it look like, how much will it cost and most importantly, will it do the job? All reasonable questions my friends…

Well….*drum roll*…..This year we are really excited because SRA has for the first time been granted unprecedented early access to the catalogue material.

Like previous years, Aldi will in 2019 offer a range of jackets, pants, mid and thermal layers, helmets, gloves, socks, boots, neck warmers and goggles. There will even be a range of toboggans. So let’s take a closer look at its value, quality, durability and style.

Aldi gear is so much fun….
Overwhelmingly, people feel that the Aldi range of children’s gear is good value for money

Value

Let us start with the price.  The good news is, the prices haven’t changed in three years.  Aldi will again offer jackets and pants starting at $AUD59.99 and $AUD49.99 respectively for the low-end garments, and $AUD119.99 and $AUD99.99 respectively, for the high-end garments.  So that’s a saving straightaway. How many retailers have been able to freeze their prices for 1 year, let alone 3.

So that’s a big tick for prices.  But what about quality?

Styling…!

Quality

First of all, how do you tell a quality garment from a cheap and nasty garment? Without getting too technical it just depends on what you want to do.  Quality garments prevent water from getting in, while allowing water vapor (i.e. sweat) to escape, with the quality garments doing it better than inferior garments.

If you ride a few hours a day and rarely break a sweat, then water proofing of 10,000 mm and breathability 10,000 g/m2/24hr is probably going to be fine.  If however, you ride irrespective of the weather, ride hard or like to earn your turns (i.e. hike), then garments of 20,000 mm and 15,000+ g/m2/24hr are more for you.

Adult range

Aldi offer two lines of product.  Aldi’s high-end Inoc range offers a surprisingly high level of water resistance and breathability at 20,000 mm and 20,000 g/m2/24hr respectively; numbers which are equivalent to the top brands.  And at less than $AUD120 they are a steal when you can easily pay between $AUD400 to $AUD1,000 for the same level of water resistance and breathability in name brands. 

This year the outer wear is insulated with Dopont ‘Sarona’ wadding, a 100% renewable and sustainably sourced fiber with very good breathability and insulative qualities.  They come with fully taped seams and a 3-layer laminate construction. Sounds fancy! Another nice new feature this year is the addition of a ski pass pocket on the bottom left hand sleeve. 

Their low-end Crane range has stepped down a notch this year, offering water resistance to 8,000 mm and breathability to 8,000 g/m2/24hr. Last years range was higher at 12,000 mm and 10,000 g/m2/24hr respectively. The low-end range also features built-in Dopont ‘Saraona’ thermal wadding.   In terms of warmth, water resistance and breathability, the low-end range is probably OK in average Australian conditions (to minus 5 degrees C) but not in persistent rain, or for folks who like to hike the back country.

So if you can afford the high-end range, it represents great value and with the specs on offer, it will probably get you through the worst winter can throw at you.

In terms of gloves, Aldi are again offering a good quality glove suitable for skiing, snowboarding or snow play, for just $34.99. The range is breathable to 10,000 g/m2/24hr and comes with soft, durable goatskin leather on the palm, fingers and thumb. They are also keeping up with the times by offering touchscreen friendly finger tips. Nice!

Kids range

The Aldi kid’s range is attractive to the eye and super competitive at just $39.99 for jackets and $29.99 for pants. But what about quality? Kids love rolling around in the snow, and nothing spoils your day faster than a cold, wet and miserable littlin’. Aldi has stepped up again this year offering a high quality product with a 12,000 mm and a 10,000 g/m2/24hr water and breathability rating, respectively. Not bad when you consider that brand products in 2018 were 3 times the price while offering only small improvements in specs (15k/15k) or none at all (10k/10k).

For kids, nothing is more important than a good quality glove. Little fingers get cold quickly and can become painful. The Aldi range of children’s gloves also specs out at 12,000 mm and 10,000 g/m2/24hr, which is not too bad. They are actually more water resistant than the adult range, so it shows Aldi have done their homework. If in doubt, always buy a set of inners (not available at Aldi) so your kids fingers are double insulated. But at $11.99 a pair, the kids gloves are also a steal.

Durability

Anecdotally the gear stacks up. Plenty of trusted folk close to us have purchased and used Aldi’s gear in Australia, Japan and other overseas destinations, without complaints – in fact, some even rave about its quality.  Nonetheless, the Aldi range of snow gear very much polarises the skiing and snowboarding community; you either love it or hate, with little room in between.

As any of us – and particularly those of us with kids – know, it’s the qualities of the zips and seams, quality of the stitching, the insulation and the amount of stretch in the fabric that ultimately determine how durable your jacket is and how long it will last (and just as importantly, how cold and wet you and your kids will be at the end of the day!). There’s also the attention to detail, like the quality of the pocket zips and the zip toggles (quality toggles make it easy to zip and unzip your jacket while wearing gloves).

Personally, we haven’t used the Aldi range, but 2 years ago took the time to interview people at the Mirrabooka store in Perth, Western Australia (yes, Mirrabooka is a place!).  We asked why the chose to purchase the range and what they thought.  The responses were overwhelming. Most people were shopping for their children.  Most felt that Aldi offered fantastic value for children and refused to pay high prices for ‘brand’ gear, when their children would likely grow out of it in one to two seasons.  David of Joondalup stated:

“we are here shopping for our kids who are really tough on their gear, which makes resale a bit of an issue. Happy to buy the Aldi range which has worked really well for our friends on previous trips”

Others were shopping for themselves in preparation for their upcoming trip to the Aussie or the New Zealand ski fields. As entry level skiers and snowboarders, they lamented the cost of snow sports generally, and added that the Aldi range offered an effective means for saving just a little bit of cash – cash which could be used to either fund the rest of the trip, or be spent on other items (i.e. resort food – which as we know is not the cheapest grub going around).  Peter of Duncraig adds:

“we’ve never been snowboarding before and don’t have any gear at all. We are heading to Perisher this year so my wife sent me down to pick up some jackets, gloves and pants”

Style

As for style, we at SRA are not qualified to comment on what’s hot or not on the slopes this year – but one thing we have noticed is the general improvement in aesthetics over the years. What once screamed “I’m wearing Aldi”, is now more subtle, even slightly stylish.  How does it stack up against well known fashionista brands, Mocler, Lacroix and Spyder? Well, we’ll leave that up to you.

Would you be caught dead in the Aldi range? If it was us, the answer is probably yes.  Leave us a comment if you agree.

Aldi’s snow gear sale starts on the 18 May 2019, and will continue until sold out

5 ways to keep your children warm and dry on the slopes this year

If taking your kids to the snow for the first time this year, memorise this simple formula: warm kids = happy kids = happy parents.

For Australians, a visit to the snow for the first time can be daunting at the best, terrifying on average. Throw in a rugrat or two, and the concept for some becomes overwhelming, almost untenable.  That’s where we come in – we’ve done it a few times now; we know what works, and what doesn’t.  We also know it’s totally worth it.

And….contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your kids warm and comfortable in the snow. Intrigued. We knew you would be.  Here’s a few simple tricks and tips.

Warm heads are happy heads

And that means beanies for snow play and helmets when skiing or snow boarding.  Beanies are easy. They’re readily available and inexpensive, and let’s face it, granny would probably jump at the chance to knit a few for you.  Children’s helmets are compulsory in most resorts these days (or should be at least), and luckily they’re readily available through most hire outlets. A good fit is more important that style.  Helmets are very warm, and as an added bonus the kids don’t mid wearing them – I think they actually like the idea (my 6 and 8 years think they look hardcore in helmets).

The only other consideration is to ensure your child’s helmet is compatible with their googles. Nothing like having a huge ‘gaper gap’ between the helmet and the googles to encourage a  frostbite or sunburnt fore-head.  Truth be told, my kids wear adult googles which seem to fit perfectly with many hire helmets (no gap).  Nothing wrong with oversized lenses, as long as you can adjust the strap to fit. They wear their goggles big these days anyway.

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Layering is king

Kids get hot and sweaty before you’ve even left the drying room! (as do parents). Having layers so that they can unzip a jacket without the risk of hypothermia is kinda important, because they will unzip – even in a blizzard (trust me). My kids typically wear a thermal base layer under an insulated, highly water resistant jacket. When we’ve skied in Japan they wear an additional microfiber mid layer over the base layer. Mid-layers need not be expensive either; mid layers can pretty much consist of anything; old skivvies, jumpers, cheap fleece material (available from Target or K Mart).

Having said that we swear by high quality merino fibre base layers; they’re warm even when wet, and they breath like you not even wearing anything.  They are also super comfortable. Our kids tend to wear their merino thermals morning, noon (while on the snow) and night (around the lodge and even to restaurants). As an added bonus, they tend not to smell even after days and days of skiing.  So one garment per child is typically enough. So, if you are going to spend money, invest in good thermals.

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Sock, socks and more socks

Appropriate ski socks will be essential to ensure a comfortable day in ski boots. Make sure you don’t just use thick winter socks. They bunch up and may cause boot pain, despite the illusion of cushioning. Thermal socks with appropriate length will keep your mini me’s toes snugly warm and ensure there’s no nasty digging in. Just ensure the top of the sock extends well past the top of the boot for maximum comfort.

Don’t skimp on outer wear

Outer wear is always a controversial subject when buying for kids. Kids a closer to the ground and consequently spend a lot of time on or in the snow.  So some level of water resistance is important.  Here it’s important to understand that there is no such thing as water proof, unless your talking about plastic raincoats.  The downside of plastic is that it doesn’t breath, so after sweating for an hours you end up wet on the inside anyway.

Water resistance is measured in units of 1,000’s as is breathability.  For Australian and New Zealand conditions (i.e. slightly warmer in average than some northern hemisphere destinations), we recommend you dress your kids in outer wear with water resistance and breathability ratings of a least 10,000-15,000 (for both).  In dryer, colder climates like Japan, you could even get away with less.  In really cold climate (with little change of ran or thaw) its probably more important that you focus on warmth, and that means lots of layering (see above).  No need to spend a fortune on the latest European brands.  Shop around and if you can, try and support local brands, like XTM Performance, Rojo and Rip Curl.

High quality gloves – the piece de resistance

Age will be a big factor in the gloves vs mittens debate in your house. Little snow grommets just can’t manage the finger thingies and your sanity will be saved by mittens. Older kids generally like the flexibility and freedom gloves offer. In my opinion gloves are something you shouldn’t scrimp on. Shop around, but ensure they are appropriately lined and have a waterproof outer. Gloves with wrist straps are great as when the gloves are taken off (always when it’s a blizzard and your about to kick off – guaranteed) they won’t fall into the snow. If no wrist straps, do what Nanna did and sew a piece of elastic to each glove and thread it through the jacket sleeve – those gloves are never far from those frozen pinkies and you wont have to go rummaging around in the lost property bin at ski school! Cold fingers means guaranteed whingeing so it’s worth splashing out on gloves to ensure they are really toasty.

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Other cheats

If it’s raining – then all bets are off. Even the most expensive outerwear with the highest  water proofing ratings will leak EVENTUALLY, especially if your kids are rolling around the wet snow.  If you have to ride in those conditions, proper rain coats over the ski jacket will do the trick as will plastic garbage bags with holes cut out sleeves and the heads may not win any fashion contests, but it will keep the kids 100% dry, guaranteed.

Snow Riders Xplore Column Ad_1115x902

 

 

 

Don’t be a bogan in Japan this winter

Bogan, n. An unfashionable, uncouth, or unsophisticated person, esp. regarded as being of low social status (Oxford English Dictionary).

Ok, so maybe ‘bogan’ is a bit strong. But with increasing levels of ill-feeling toward Australians abroad, and a noticeable increase in the Aussie ‘bogan’ element in some of the Japanese ski fields, we thought we’d do our civil service and offer a few tips on how to conduct your self when visiting Japan.

Continue reading Don’t be a bogan in Japan this winter

Thredbo: “It’s dumping and there’s no sign of it letting up yet”

Skiers and snowboarders at Thredbo Alpine Resort were greeted with fun powder turns this morning, with every run delivering smiles for miles and great coverage across the entire mountain. The Powder Bowl and Bushranger were the pick of the morning, offering deep turns and lots of fun natural features to play with. The fresh flakes on Friday Flat ensured for plenty of family fun including snowball fights and snowman building.

Conditions are still fresh and dry up top, with plenty of pow stashes to be found. The village is looking like a winter wonderland, perfect for a post ski or board lunch and hot chocolate.

It’s still currently snowing, with experts claiming another 10cm+ to fall, making for another awesome day of fresh turns tomorrow.

This snow storm will set up a sensational week of riding, with the sun expected to make a reappearance around Tuesday. Between the amazing weather and conditions across the mountain, it’s going to be another awesome week of school holidays with heaps of fun activities and entertainment for all families to enjoy.


Perisher to open 32 lifts this weekend!

The 2019 season has started with a bang!  The first winter storm of the season has been relentless, bringing with it 82cm of new snow since last Wednesday..

And it’s not stopping there either.  Pete the Frog Taylor from Snowatch is predicting another 10 cm over the next 10 days.

Perisher_Social_JM_June 15, 2018_2.jpg

Joss McAlpin, Perisher, reports ‘six days of freezing temperatures, heavy snowfalls and strong winds have provided sensational early season conditions. So much so, that this weekend we are opening 32 lifts, across all four ski areas.

  • Thursday – Blue Cow open for the season featuring the Ridge and Summit Quad Chairlifts
  • Friday –  Mt Perisher open for the season with the Mt Perisher Triple and Double Chairlifts
  • Saturday –  Guthega opening including  the Freedom Quad Chairlift”

Perisher’s Chief Operating Officer, Peter Brulisauer, echoed Joss’ comments, indicating “the early season conditions are the best he’s seen since 2000”.

Perisher_Media_JM_June 17, 2018_1

All images courtesy Perisher.

Facebook, why do you hate us so much?

We’ve had it up to our eyeballs! Why? Well, as you might be aware, social media juggernaut, Facebook, recently changed the way it decides whether a post SHOULD or SHOULD NOT appear in your news feed. Yep, they decide, not you.

We just can’t keep up. First Facebook decided it liked photos, then it changed it’s mind and gave preferences to videos until that went out of style. Then it got all excited about live posts until that too became passé. Finally, they’ve decided anything is OK, but if you want to reach your followers you’d better be prepared to pay.

cartoon-pulling-hair-out-1258915
*Scream!* We’ve had enough!

It is all part of Facebook’s new social responsibility thingy, or if we were more cynical, their efforts to restore some modicum of credibility after stealing your data for years before (most likely) selling it to the Russians. Only kidding Mark Z! Honest!

Facebook has gone all warm and fuzzy as it tries to restore the love between friends, lovers, family and neighbours. What that means for YOU is your news feed will now be filled with posts from friends and family (which is cool), and advertising (not cool) from companies that can afford to pay.  So, prepare to be inundated with posts from your Aunt Berril and the likes of Coca Cola and Pepsi.

While the latter is what’s really getting our goat (we like Aunt Berril, really!), we also reckon plenty of you would still (albeit occasionally) like to hear from us, a poor volunteer organisation, just trying to bring you the latest snow industry news, and the occasional rad video clip of skiiers and snowboarders hucking cliffs and riding neck deep powder.

Are we right?

If so, there’s something you can do. Simply go to our Facebook page, click on ‘follow’, then change the ‘default’ setting to the ‘see first’ setting. Ignore what it’d says. You wont see evening we publish at the top of your news feed. No – Facebook would never allow that.

What it does mean though is that our post will now have a snowflakes chance in hell (pun intended) of appearing somewhere on your page, from time to time. And we reckon that’s OK.

FBhack

At SRA our team of volunteers work hard to bring you this stuff. We don’t get paid, so it would be great if you could at least see the results of our efforts, from time to time, or even at all.

Lifts are spinning at Perisher

Good afternoon from Perisher, where the lifts have started spinning for the 2018 winter season!

The mountain operations team fired up the Village 8 Express chairlift at 1pm to allow skiers and snowboarders their first runs and turns for the season.

A Perisher spokesperson said he and his team are excited to celebrate the arrival of the June long weekend, which will see the Village 8 Express chair and a ski conveyer on offer, providing skiing and snowboarding to beginner and intermediate terrain,whilst Perisher’s Snowsports School will offer lessons.

The June long weekend is a celebration to welcome winter with plenty of activities for the whole family; including the “Rail Rampage” rail jam in the Perisher Terrain Park, massive fireworks display and the PEAK music festival.

Images courtesy of Perisher.

Finding the Line – A Film by Nat and Anna Segal: Review

By Hamish Macphee

‘Finding the Line’ is not a ski movie. It is not a hero’s quest with suspense and a grand finale. But it still had me on the edge of my seat.

Nat and Anna Segal allow us to get a bit personal as they help each other to navigate the next stage of life after competitive skiing.

Based in Chamonix, Nat’s 6 years on the Freeride and Freeskiing World Tours included winning at Telluride in 2014.

Anna calls Whistler home and with a freestyle slopestyle career including Winter X-Games Gold in 2009, has turned her talents to freeskiing and adventuring.

The sisters strive to learn from each other to push beyond their mental barriers and find the line to progression.

For Anna, her fear of failure is blocking her from skiing to her potential. For Nat, the lack of faith in her own abilities is preventing her from pushing the limits.

A tour of some of the world’s biggest and most iconic ski locations bring challenges aplenty as the sisters are forced to look inside when illness and injury split the team apart.

We get an insight into the power of the mountains and dangers involved when exploring high-risk terrain like in Chamonix and Alaska. Sometimes risks are just too high…and that’s the way it goes.

Above all this film is honest. Yes there are awe-inspiring descents and a backflip or two, but we really get a sense of the hard slog it takes to find these amazing locations. And crash…a lot!

Also check out Nat’ ‘Shifting Ice and Changing Tides’ from her webpage nataliesegal.com

Anna’s webpage is annasegal.com
#TheNorthFace #BolleAustralia

How to deal with a partner that doesn’t ski?

I can hear the sighs form here. Yep, turns out your dream partner doesn’t ski or snowboard after all. So much for the famous speed dating meme huh…

skidating2
Despite your best efforts, he/she doesn’t share the same passion.

However, I am here to tell you it’s not the end of the world. I’ve taken my wife skiing a few times. She didn’t hate it, nor did she love it – she’s just not a snow loving maniac like I am.

After doing three successive boy’s trips in as many years, I asked my wife if she join me on a trip to Japan, along with our two children. The whole experience – as it turned out – was pretty amazing. I went skiing with he boys, and she enjoyed a well deserved break. A win-win, so to speak.

When we returned, she asked if she could pen a few words about her most recent experience; what she enjoyed about the trip and her recommendations for other non-skiing partners. This is what she said:

“I couldn’t go on a ski holiday, I don’t ski, what would I do?”

Many of my friends have said this to me in the past. As for me, I like skiing and I’m ok at it, but it isn’t a passion for me like it is for my husband. You see, I married into the hobby. I knew before we got married that he skied. We went on a few skiing holidays early on in our relationship but I didn’t realise how much it would feature in our lives.

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Ahh, solitude

Fast forward quite a few years and a couple of kids later. The family ski holiday my husband had been dreaming of was upon us. We packed the family onto a couple of planes, trains and a bus, and headed off for the ski fields of Japan, Madarao to be exact.

Madarao is a smaller ski village, which is fast growing. There are hotels, places to eat (traditional Japanese food and Western), a few small bars, a convenience store and all things ski related (hire, instructors etc).

Most people have different definitions of a good holiday – some are ‘action people’, some are ‘relax by the pool enjoying a cocktail and reading a book kind of people’, and then there are the ‘in between’ people. I am an in between person who loves to relax with a bit of sightseeing thrown in. If you are too, then a ski holiday could also work for you.

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The kids faces were priceless

How do you enjoy a ski holiday, share the joy with your family but also enjoy yourself doing other things?

My day would begin skiing with my kids and husband, when I needed a break I would wonder back to our hotel. Along the way I enjoyed the environment around me and loved taking photos. Not necessarily professional quality photos but fun photos. With the solitude and the head space, I found myself really looking at the things around me (I just don’t get time at home). I’d then head back to the accommodation to read my book and write.

Next to me was a window through which was a most breathtaking scene of white mountains and trees, looking at it was just blissful. I’d sit at that window and feel quite inspired. I could imagine other people sitting, reflecting, painting, doing a craft, jigsaw puzzle, anything really….. gazing out over that view.

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The view from my window

At lunchtime I enjoyed walking along the snow covered cat tracks to meet up at a restaurant with my family. Along the way I really enjoyed taking photographs and just loved the solitude and serenity of my environment. When the kids and my husband finished up for the day, we’d all go to dinner together, share in the adventures of the day whilst enjoying a drink or two. The kids would then be happily occupied with the in-house pool table, fuse ball table, darts and PS4 (thanks Active Life Madarao).

Prior to Japan, I also visited larger resorts. There I also enjoyed going to the day spas, visiting book and clothing shops (mostly winter, ski related clothes). I didn’t miss the day spa or shops on this holiday, I found the quieter environment uplifting and soul filling. I loved seeing the smiling faces on my children at the end of the day as they mastered the skill of skiing. But, mostly I felt happy seeing my husband have his dream fulfilled.

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