The first time I tried to ski I was only three years old. I had just learned how to walk and talk, but skiing was not too difficult to me – at least this is what my parents say. Later, at around 6 years old, my brother and I joined the local ski club in the city of Gjakove in Kosovo. I was a member of the club for five consecutive years, during this time I even participated in a few kids ski races. I loved skiing – the spectacular view, the fresh air, and the rush of adrenaline.
Due to several reasons like travelling and studying abroad, I stopped skiing for many years. However, last year, for the first time in many years, I went skiing with my brother and dad in a ski resort called Sugar Bowl, which is located just North of Lake Tahoe in California. It was such a beautiful day – filled with lots of skiing, sunshine, and laughter – which reminded me one more time why I enjoyed this sport so much in the first place. I just went back a read a blog that I wrote about this trip, where I mentioned that I would really like to go to Whistler one day. Funny how this is exactly what I did yesterday.
Community Day is a very important day for Quest, since it is a day where there are no classes and students have the options of signing up for different activities during the day. This year’s focus was on the importance between finding a balance between work (school, work, assignments) and play (fun, sports). As a results, our lovely Student Affairs team, with the help of the whole campus community, organized several events from different workshops, cooking classes, to snowshoeing and skiing in Whistler, amongst others. I was in limbo for a few days trying to decide which activity to sign up for, but after having a conversation with my mom, I decided that skiing was the one for me!
A few other students, myself, and our two ski instructors – Lotte and Isabella – met in the morning, all full of smiles and excitement for our day of adventure in Whistler. We were all set with our skis, helmets, and passes. Luckily, my host parents, Jim and Claire, let me borrow a pair of skis they they own, which meant that I did not have to rent them. We made it to Whistler quite quickly since there was not much traffic on the highway. When we arrived in Whistler and I looked up towards the mountain, I started to get a little bit scared. The slopes looked quite challenging and I was not sure if I could make through some of them.
We started to ski immediately upon arrival. At the beginning I felt tense, scared, and constantly doubting myself. I mean, I have been skiing for as long as I remember, but maybe because this was a new terrain for me and I had not skied for quite some were the reasons why I felt nervous. However, upon starting to ski, I quickly learned that I still new how to ski and I loved it just as much as I did when I was a kid.
After skiing for a while, Lotte recommended that we go on a specific slope where you ski in a glacier and hopefully find an ice cave. The terrain was not well maintained and I was getting scared at times, but then we found a treasure – an enormous ice cave! We decided to go inside, check it out, and of course take some pictures to keep as a memory. I had never seen something as spectacular, which definitely made the short hike and bad terrain worth it.
Afterwards, we decided to take the Peak 2 Peak gondola, which took us to Whistler Mountain. This is the first lift to join the two side-by-side mountains, and holds world record for the longest free span between ropeway towers – 3.03 km and the highest point above ground – 436 m. This gondola was built in 2007 at a cost of CDN$51 million! The view was spectacular, and allowed us to see the surrounding area from such an amazing point of view. I am really happy that I got to experience the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, and also got to ski in the Whistler Mountain as well. What a wonderful experience.
The six of us skied for 6 hours and did more than eight runs! Such a busy day – but filled with so much adrenaline, beautiful mountains, amazing weather, and good company – what more could you ask for!
Community Day was an amazing day for me, which would have not happened without Lotte volunteering to take us there, Isabella to help with ski instructions, my host parents for lending me the skies, and Quest University Canada for organizing this activity. I feel very thankful to have had the opportunity to go skiing in Whistler, which is something that I have dreamed about for quite some time now.