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Helena Artmann has a bachelor degree in Communications with a vast experience in PR and the online world. Before moving to Canada in 2005, Helena published a variety of articles in Brazilian magazines and websites, mostly about travel, adventure, outdoor, gear, environment and her favourite activities, mountaineer and hot air ballooning. This is her website: http://artmanncommunications.com

Learning a New Sport Late in Life


At Lake Louise

Almost nine years ago I moved to Canada with Ricardo, when I was 35 years old. My first year here I was working at MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) and learned a good deal about technical equipment, including be trained on how to sell shoes! MEC has skis for rental and as a staff member I could borrow them for free. The catch? They didn’t have my size and I ended up using longer skis for my first year on the slopes of C.O.P. (Canada Olympic Park).

I was far from a good skier, if a skier at all. And it was too expensive for my new life in a new country. For the next four years or so, we went cross-country skiing. Much cheaper and done in free trails, we spent a good amount of hours gliding the ‘train’ set in astonishing mountain setting. Ian’s first years was spent inside a chariot pulled by a ski in the Winter – or a bike in the Summer.

Three years ago, when Ian was just four, I bought our first ski season pass, for Nakiska – a resort 40 min from Canmore, in Kananaskis, created for the Winter Olympic Games in 1988. Wide and long groomed runs were the perfect terrain for our first ‘steps’ into this new sport. Ian ended up enrolled on a ski race program called Nasa that made all the difference for him and in February he was skiing black runs.

I got some tips here and there from Nick, and that was all my instruction that year but Nakiska saw me more than 50 times that season. Yes, I did improve, but still so much to do! Next season, Nakiska again. This was last year, Ricardo was sick and we just started skiing in January, but we still went more than 25 times to Nakiska and did a ski trip to BC, skiing for three days at Kimberley. In Kimberley, I realized that I was finally comfortable in blue runs, no matter where I was skiing. I said comfortable. Style is a whole other thing…

My old Dynastar skis...

My old Dynastar skis…

In May, I spent two hours in Lake Louise, skiing there for the first time to decide if I was going to buy a pass or not. The one-hour drive didn’t scare me that much if the reward was such a good hill and in June I bought the Lake Louise Ski Pass for the 2013/2014 season, the one we are currently in. Ian had three full days of lessons already and is getting better on his parallel turns. Last Saturday was his last lesson and the resort was having an event, with a few famous brands doing demos. I thought why not? It is free and I will get to try some brand new skis. I had no idea if my level of skiing was going to let me feel any difference.

How wrong I was! A K2 Superfree and a Rossignol Temptation 82 gave me the taste I needed. Much better skis than my super-used old ones, lighter and such a difference to make turns that I couldn’t believe. I decided to search for similar skis for me/my level – a weird one, by the way, as in my head I am a beginner and skiing is anything but natural. But, apparently, I am an intermediate.

The Rossignol Temptation

The Rossignol Temptation

Today, I had a daunting and very pleasurable task: try two new pair of skis, a Volkl Yumi 154 cm and a Fischer KOA 84 150 cm. I used many pieces of gear during my active outdoor life. I tried different things and do have my preferences. But a ski? I didn’t even know how to start looking for differences! The skis showed me the way and the Fischer KOA got my heart. A smaller and stiffer ski, the Fischer was a pleasure to control and make turns. So, Santa, what are you waiting for? 😉

Volkl on the left, Fischer on the right

Volkl on the left, Fischer on the right

Update: Santa came earlier to our home and brought two skis, one for me and one for Ian. Today we tried them for the first time and we both love them! Ian is using a Techno Pro, a good 20 cm bigger than his previous one. I am using the Fischer KOA 84, the one I tried and loved. A day on the hills will never be the same from now on… 😉

Fischer and Techno Pro

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