Winter of our discontent

The Road Less Travelled

By Terri Windover, Connect Columnist

Curling is one of the winter activities on Con- nect Weekly columnist Terri Windover’s ‘Must Try’ list. Learn more in this week’s Road Less Travelled. File photo

Curling is one of the winter activities on Connect Weekly columnist Terri Windover’s ‘Must Try’ list. Learn more in this week’s Road Less Travelled. File photo

As my friends know, I am usually in the midst of planning one epic adventure after another. Road trips to California, wiggling thru tiny holes a kilometer underground in the cave system in Canmore or hiking/climbing thousands of feet in Tombstone Park in the Yukon.

Since the fire I have spent a lot more time at home. I find I cherish my moments with my family and friends far more and have less of an urge to “go” somewhere. That’s not necessarily a good thing for someone like me. I have always been the person that wants to see “what’s over there”. I thrive on new sights, people, tastes and ideas. It’s who I am.

While I am enjoying my down time, it is not who I am deep inside. I am going to be more vigilante of this homing instinct I have to ensure it doesn’t take too deep a hold on me. It was in my nature to be fearful of what might happen pre-fire, and I am not going to become fearful post fire. I thought that I could mesh the two things together this winter by trying new things in my own back yard so to speak. So, I started researching some wonderful and sometimes whacky ideas to put on my “must try” list.

Snow Kayaking:
Most people put their kayak away when the rivers and lakes freeze over. This may be the solution for paddling addicts who are experiencing water withdrawal. Running a kayak on snow works by using gravity as your friend and using a hill or mountain slope instead of a current. Just make sure to avoid snow-laden trees, which can really hurt if you decide to embrace them at top speed.

Polar Bear Dip:
For those of you who have a high cold tolerance, or just like to self abuse, you might want to search out one of these goose bump inspiring events or do one with a group of like minded (crazy) friends. Just please, video tape that for the rest of us. If you do take a polar bear plunge or swim, no one will ever have the right to call you “wimpy” again. This is definitely one for the brave/crazy, as well as people with a little extra evac fat on them, which can act as insulation against the cold.

Curling is a bit like billiards combined with bowling and sweeping –– on ice. If you’ve ever played shuffleboard, you might be pretty good at this. It takes, strength, balance and flexibility to curl, and the ability to hold your beer. As Canadians, this is a must. We have an amazing curling club here in Fort McMurray. Visit their website at for more information.

Igloo Building:
We are supposed to see some serious snow this winter (fingers crossed). Why not take part in an igloo building competition? If you can’t find one who says you can’t get your neighbours and friends together and start a tradition of your own? Igloo building is tons of fun and both adults and kids can play. If you’re new to the whole process, you can find plenty of detailed igloo building guides online. Google rocks and without it I would sink into a pit of despair personally.

This is mushing behind a couple of dogs across the snow while the musher rides on a pair of skis. The name skijoring is Norwegian. And yes, horse skijoring also exists. You don’t ride the horse, but get dragged behind it. You could also be pulled behind a skidoo but… I’m pretty sure you don’t want to actually die during this game so that may not be a great idea. I however am not promising that I will not attempt this covered in Go Pro cameras this winter. It seems some people, (me) will go to great lengths these days in search of some fun.

If you do decide to attempt a new activity this winter please ensure that you do so as safely as possible, or in the event that you don’t go the safe route at least bring along a well stocked first aid kit and a fully charged cell phone.

– Connect Weekly –