Although most of us are feeling a little disgruntled with the lack of summer we’ve had, I sit with my kids, nephews and friends, hoping that not only will the snow Gods bless us with the powder we look forward to every winter, but more importantly, that our little winter paradise, Shames Mountain, opens for another season.
I’m sure many of you have heard that Shames Mountain is up for sale and that My Mountain Co-op has been trying to raise money through membership sales, donations and fund raisers, to buy Shames.
I know not everyone sees Shames’ significance, therefore, I’d like to share with you what Shames means to my family.
I was never a “winter person”, let alone a skier. Born and raised in Kitimat, I enjoyed tobogganing as a kid, but never skied.
And when I did try skiing, I never progressed past the snow plowing or ‘pizza phase’ and honestly, it was just too much work and not enough fun…so I didn’t pursue it.
I dreaded the short, dark days of winter that seemed to drag on forever, month after month. (We all know that it’s not uncommon to have up to six months of winter here!)
Then I had kids! My eldest son, who just turned 12, started skiing at Shames when he was six. I remember that first day – I reluctantly let him go secretly hoping, and fully expecting he’d come back exhausted and frustrated, never wanting to go again.
I couldn’t have been more wrong! A passion was ignited within him that day, something I haven’t seen in many other kids.
Over the next couple of years, I gave skiing a decent shot. I’d do my duty and go to the hill, awkwardly ski a few runs, but mainly I sat in the lodge with my youngest son, chatting with all the new friends I was making.
When my youngest son turned four he joined his brother and cousins and learned to ski. Now we needed two sets of hands on the hill.
Well, I learned to ski pretty quickly – chasing a 4-year-old down the hill is a fast way to develop your abilities.
Over the next few years, we became fixtures at the hill. My husband and I, our two boys, my sister and her two boys, and along the way friends and family joined in, even if it was just to watch from the bottom of the hill and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.
A couple of years ago, the kids became involved in the Northwest Freeriders and us Moms became the “Park Moms”, hanging out in the terrain park, being the unofficial team photographers, cheering the kids on, helping them up when they bailed, learning the lingo (much to their embarrassment), and even sometimes tagging along on runs that were a little bit challenging for us.
The kids have made friendships at Shames that will last a lifetime and have coaches that are not only their ski and boarding coaches, but have become like family to them.
For us, as parents, Shames has given us the opportunity to get to know our kids even better!
We are not sitting on the sidelines, we are participating with them! We ride the chairlift with them and have the quiet time to chat with them. Or we can just sit in silence and enjoy the amazing views – plus they need us to get there!
It is one of my greatest joys, being on that mountain with my kids, watching their passions grow along with their skills.
I can’t imagine our lives without Shames. I can’t imagine not getting up every weekend to drive from Kitimat to Shames – we do it both days, every weekend.
My kids don’t play hockey, they don’t play indoor soccer, they aren’t in the swim club, they are skiers, and proud of it.
And I’m even prouder!
Kids that ski and snowboard deserve the same opportunities to enjoy their sport and to pursue their dreams and without Shames, those opportunities are gone.
Can you imagine if the hockey arenas in Kitimat and Terrace were to close and the closest arena was in Smithers?
Please check out www.friendsofshames.ca for lots of great information and to see how you can help save Shames Mountain.
Skiers, boarders and those that love them, please buy your memberships. It’s risk free.
Can you imagine a winter without Shames? I can’t.