On Your Father's Side  

Wee kids out-skiing dad

My friend, neighbour and poker buddy, Scott, blows up all my theories about Prairie boys not being able to ski.

Scott is from Manitoba, and he can rip up any trail B.C. has to offer.


Up until a few years ago, I was sure Manitoba was a government conspiracy.

Since I’d never met anyone from there and I’d only drive into Manitoba so I could ask for directions on how to get out of Manitoba, it seemed obvious it was where Mounties hid alien skeletons and crashed UFOs.

In my defence, it’s what they taught us growing up in Saskatchewan.

But Scott has proven to me Saskatoon is no excuse for not skiing.

And, I get it; there are hundreds of you out there born on the flatlands who grew up skiing.

That wasn’t my family. I skied once between age nine and 19.

Fast-forward 30-odd years and now I’m in Kelowna, smack dab between two incredible ski areas less than an hour from my front door.

Not only that, my wife grew up in Kelowna.

Not only that, my kids are in school with other kids who ski.

I’m toast!

OK, it’s not all grim. My roommates in college did a decent job teaching me.

While at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, we skied Sunshine and Norquay a little.

From there, I moved to Thunder Bay, Ont., and skied Loch Lomond a couple of times.

No, it’s not the best place to ski.

But, for what it’s worth, people from Manitoba take ski vacations in Thunder Bay (allegedly).

My wife says I don’t look out of place on the slopes.

It doesn’t feel that way.

My knees hurt. My back hurts. My legs burn.

Something tells me it isn’t that stressful for experienced skiers.

Would I have skied if I’d never had kids? Likely not much.

Does my wife have a five-year plan to groom our children into Olympic-calibre Lil’ Rippers?


Does that mean I’m on the same five-year plan?


But it’s not without reservations.

I guess my hesitations come from the cost (I’m a writer, after all) and the worry I’m going to sail off a cliff (once my knees and back finally give out).

Plus, skiing with three little kids is hard.

Perhaps you spotted us last Saturday at Silver Star.

I was the guy huddled in the corner of the lunchroom covered by parkas and ski bags snoring like a PistenBully.

It probably looked like I’d spent a thrilling, exhausting day on the slopes, except it was 8:35 a.m.

Those tiny skis might as well be iron girders to a three-, five- and six-year-old little girl.

Then, they have to carry them wearing ski boots through a slushy, slippery parking lot.

It’d be more pathetic if it wasn’t so hilarious.

By about noon, however, I’ve normally stopped laughing.

I’m not nearly confident enough to ski with them down the bunny hill. I can make it down OK, but entrusting me with the life of a toddler on skis is not a good idea.

With my wife skiing next to one child, and our oldest snow-plowing on her own, I will run alongside the third.

Of course, they find it hilarious to watch me rag doll next to them, arms and legs spinning wildly as I shout, “Pizza! Pizza!”

They’re taking to it fabulously and will be out-skiing me in a matter of days next season.

It’s a good thing skiing is so damn healthy.

You would be hard-pressed to find a family activity that benefits mental and physical health quite like it.

Sure, skiing is a great sport to get your heart pumping and your legs strong.

Skiing through deep woods atop beautiful mountains will help your mental health, too.

But it goes beyond that.

Dr. Josef Niebauer, director of sports medicine at Paracelsus Medical University in Austria, told Time magazine this year it can also help fight a raft of diseases.

His research has found skiing helps improve how our bodies use insulin and glucose while also lowering blood pressure.

Most strikingly, however, skiing (like rowing and cycling) helps fight heart disease and dementia.

“We saw positive effects on arterial stiffness, which is a sign of rejuvenating arteries,” Niebauer told Time.

When you ski, you burn fat and improve your balance. You improve your heart and your mind.

If it could reverse the wear and tear of raising a screaming toddler, I’d be hooked for life.


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About the Author

David Trifunov is a proud father, humble author and recovering journalist.

Trifunov and his wife, Erin, are raising three little girls in Kelowna and enjoying every second of the trials, triumphs and tribulations.

As a humble author, he has written three middle-grade books for publisher Formac-Lorimer.

To pay the bills so he can raise those kids and write those books, Trifunov is a journalist with 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor.

His parenting column will appear regularly. davidtrifunov.ca

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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