A Canadian rite of passage

When my little sister announced she was moving back to the Philippines for good, I thought I must get her to try skiing before she leaves. Since arriving in Canada in 2000, she hasn’t tried skiing or snowboarding, not even once and hasn’t felt the need to do it either.
I mentioned it offhandedly to her one time. Neither of us had made snow angels before either. This was the perfect opportunity to try skiing, I reasoned, as we can take photos of each other for “documentation”. Surprisingly, she agreed.
I ended up taking not only my sister to Sun Peaks but also our friend Suzette who had never been the resort before. After making a quick stop at Timmie’s, we drove to Sun Peaks with Colbie Caillat’s music as background to our non-stop chatter.
There couldn’t have been a better day to go out skiing. The sun wore a smile bigger than the three of us combined. When I finally drove up to my place, both Aileen and Suzette let out excited cheers upon seeing the pristine white snow that blanketed the landscape. I sometimes forget the fact that I do live in winter wonderland up here.
One thing that keeps people from skiing is the cost. Even the most die-hard ski addicts will admit that a ski pass isn’t cheap. But thanks to the Discover Ski and Snowboard program, people can actually try skiing for a very good price. With the program, I signed up my sister for a ski lesson, equipment rental and beginner lift ticket for under $60 (excluding tax).
My sister’s ski group was made up of three other beginner skiers and their instructor Megan. Watching Aileen on her very first ski lesson was amusing, to say the least. The helplessness after being strapped to her skis and the slightly unsure facial expression and then her wanting to go faster after mastering the basic skills—they all looked very familiar to me.
Suzette and I shadowed Aileen’s group to the Gentle Giant, her on a snowboard and me on my skis, snapping photos along the way. Then the two of us headed to the Sunburst Express Chairlift to go down the 5 Mile. Somewhere in the middle of the run, we found ourselves alone in the vast sea of white and with a picturesque view of the mountains in the distance, it was like an image from a postcard, except it was real.
We met up with Aileen at the bottom of the hill and did a short tour of the village. Famished after skipping lunch, we searched for food. We all agreed that Japanese sounded good, so while waiting for Chopstixx to open, we made a detour to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. After a few bites of cheesecake bomb and caramel marshmallows, we headed back to Chopstixx to feast on katsudon, udon, spicy tuna rolls, and finally green tea ice cream for dessert. We probably gained back whatever calories we burned that day, but it was all worth it. Hey, you only live once.
Skiing, check. That was one thing off of Aileen’s bucket list. We didn’t get to make snow angels, but that’s our next project.

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