Recently, during my annual cross country trek from Ontario to Nelson with my trusty travelling companion, Phoenix, I couldn’t help but notice the number of tiny ski hills along the route. Names like Mt St Louis Moonstone, north of Toronto, where you “ski above the trees” (they used landfill to raise the hill 60 feet). Or the iconic Big Powderhorn Mountain in Upper Michigan with a vertical drop of 622 feet. A fire destroyed the lodge in January 2011 yet the hill opened for skiing the next day. And what skier doesn’t remember all 230 vertical feet of Mt. Brighton from the classic 1993 film, Aspen Extreme?
What drives skiers to brave the bone chilling temps of the east to slide around on 500 feet of boiler plate ice? Having been an Ontario skier for 35 years before trading my VR27 215 Super Gs for Armada JJs, the answer is quite simple. I remember skiing one day with my son, Liam, when he was around 12. He asked me why we always skied until the lifts closed to which I replied, “Skiing makes me happy.” So whether you’re railing an edge on the blue ice of Ontario, ripping a big mountain spine in Alaska or shredding the perfect pow at Selkirk Snowcat Skiing, take a moment to stop and contemplate the simple joy of skiing.