Outdoor winter activities are commonplace here in Ottawa and skiing is one of them. We used to do a fair amount of family skiing annually prior to our kids’ minor hockey careers taking shape. Though we still get out several times a season – an advantage of living in the Ottawa area and its proximity to numerous ski hills – the trips are now tinged with a small amount of guilt.
The hockey season is all-consuming. When the snow finally falls, I beseech the calendar for a free Saturday or Sunday when we can hop in the car with the gear and head for the hills. There are never any free Saturdays or Sundays during hockey season. So I try for the next best thing: a half day skiing. If we have a 4 to 5-hour window of opportunity during which it is possible to catch a few hours of skiing at one of the hills that offer half day or hourly passes, just maybe we can take advantage of it. Yet recently I have found this practice of mixing hockey and skiing increasingly more difficult for a couple of reasons.
There is some amount of guilt I feel when I bring one of my kids to the hockey arena for a late afternoon hockey game or practice after an afternoon of snowboarding. “…Looks a little worn out today…”. Um, possibly. Don’t make eye contact.
Secondly, I’m getting old. I’m just plain old too tired to combine a day of skiing and hockey (even though the later only involves chauffeuring and spectatorship!). Knowing one of the weekend days involves the usual mundane household tasks of grocery shopping, mountains of laundry and cleaning, I am in need of some quiet time at some point. There is some amount of guilt I feel for choosing this over my kids’ recreation.
As with all ages and stages of raising kids, I know the time is coming when I can just drop them all off at the ski hill. I will soon be blissfully sitting in the lodge reading my book, sipping coffee or perhaps penning my great novel! Maybe I’ll catch a couple of runs on the slope. I already see glimpses of this future as my boys now occasionally hitch rides with other parents, and we pick them all up (or vice versa). Their only need of me is for money. My youngest will soon join this league of independents but not quite yet.
On the other hand, I’m sure that despite my vision of latte and book bliss, instead I’ll be racing around to multiple hills as one wants to hook up with friends at Cascades while the other is expected to join the gang at Edelweiss and the third wants to be up the valley at Pakenham. As always, there will be compromises!