Monday, 1 January 2007

the drawing potential of snow

I love snow in Vancouver. We don't get a whole lot in the city. Generally, one needs to venture into the mountains to have a decent experience. There have been some notable exceptions though....

One needn't travel two hours to Whistler to enjoy a spot of skiing, although Whistler is regarded as THE place to go.
Vancouverites can enjoy a spot of winter sport and fun in one of three mountians, all within 30 minutes of the city: Mount Seymour; Grouse Mountain, which requires one to journey to the summit via gondola (excellent, but quite pricey); and Cypress mountain.
What I enjoy about snow in Vancouver, is its apparent ability to recapture ones youth and draw out the inner child, even when no snow was ever present in our pasts. I find that quite an incredible phenomenon.
Yesterday was a nice clear day; the best weather day forecast for the entire long weekend. Consequently, we decided to bundle up the kids and head for Mount Seymour.
On the way we stopped into Canadian Tire to scoop up a couple of the few remaining "toboggans" of the season. Yep, winter has just begun, but we have learnt that winter accessories really need to be purchased in early November. Nevertheless, the toboggan, though basic, worked as well as anything else, so who cares!
No one in our family has ever tobogganed before - remember we are Aussies and come from Adelaide, a place where the locals shudder and shiver if the thermostat hovers in the low teens CELSIUS.
We began our day by experimenting on a piddly patch of snow with an inclination of about 10 degrees. It helped us all gain confidence. It was fun. Much laughter was interwoven with screams of exhileration and glee. And as I looked around at other participants on the mountain yesterday, I noticed a majority of happy, shining, smiling faces and hundreds of families enjoying time together.
This vision of adults and children laughing and playing, made me realise the gift that snow is.
Many family experts and discussion boards speak of the importance of quality family time and play, and snow appears to offer the perfect opportunity to get out there, spend time together and let loose.
I saw a mother and her 13 year old son tandem tobogganing. They were travelling rapidly down the more thrilling slope, we eventually graduated ourselves to. At the bottom, they crashed hard into a snow wall barrier and fell into a heap of tangled arms and legs. After a brief moment, they gathered themselves together, looked into each others eyes with a surprised expression and then collapsed into a roared of laughter. "That was the BEST ride of the day, WOOOO!" said the mother. Her son agreed, and they began their ascent toward the top for another slide down...another joyful experience.
We also had a lot of fun. Our 4-year old, is normally quite a timid fellow, but by the end, he was very willing to slide down by himself, running back to us each time, enthusing,"did you see me, did you see that!" Of course we did.
I took our 2-year old down. Once, my hat fell over my eyes obstructing my vision. I felt us travel up the curved snow wall barrier at the end. I was holding her....we stopped motionless.....then we tipped and rolled. I landed on my side, and lifted my hat up so I could see. Our 2-year old was face down in the snow. When I picked her up, she appeared to be covered in little frozen diamonds. Her face was red from the cold, but her eyes twinkled and she wore an expression of sheer delight, which prompted a big hug from me. "Was that fun? I asked, knowing the answer. Big nods of the head followed before she ran off to repeat the experience.
I know you don't need snow to enjoy time with family, but there is something magical about the snow, and it could be my lack of experience talking, because we are rarely inconvenienced by it, unlike other communities.
Even still, whatever fate shall bring me, and however long my life, I reckon these snowy family experiences will shine out in memory like lanterns on a bleak night.


Pendullum said...

Yes they will...
I love the winter wonderland moments with my daughter... and it can also transport me as a wee girl back with my mom and dad and my siblings!
Let it snow! Let It snow! Let It Snow!

Anonymous said...

shelley strauss? is that you?

strauss said...

No, but I am related.

shishyboo said...

wow small world. I remember Shelley from first year uni, o'camp I think. I doubt she would remember me (Trish de Laine).
Have read your blog with interest & will visit again.
Shish (formerly anonymous :-)

strauss said...

I will certainly pass your name on to her and direct her to your blog. Certainly is a small world. Thanks for dropping by.

Heather said...

Oh this post brings back memories. Things I haven't thought about in so long....

Sledding down our long driveway.
Making snowmen.
Snowball fights.

My kids are dying to see the snow. Don't be surprised if we end up on your doorstep next winter. :)

Catherine said...

With four kids, two of which are two and under, we haven't braved a trip to anyplace with a slope. Maybe next year... meanwhile, our memories are overloaded with snowball fights and lopsided snowmen and women. It's true... snow is a very good memory-maker.