Posted by: Waheeda Harris | February 4, 2015

The local girl – thank you British Columbia

Whistler - Valley trail My parents didn’t grow up with winter that meant snow, ice and extreme cold. Their view of winter was rain and the occasional time it would drop below 15C. But immigrating to Canada changed them and had me dealing with winter every year.

I owe a lot to my parents – as an only child, I know that my life has been made much easier thanks to my parents, but I owe my winter smarts to my home province: British Columbia.

My view of winter was gentle snowfalls, sunshine and lots of opportunities to learn winter sports. I learned to ski downhill and cross country, to skate, to snowshoe and to krazy karpet like the best of them at school.

We would make trails in the school fields, have an ice rink created on outdoor ball court and have a designated hill to bring our karpets, saucers and toboggans. We made forts and threw snowballs and made snow angels and hoped to escape having our faces washed with snow before the bell went to signal the end of recess or lunch.

I learned to shovel and to use sand on the pathways and driveway, and only use salt where absolutely necessary. I also knew that layers was the key to being outside – and that if I kept moving I would withstand the cold a lot better.

My hometown taught me how to handle winter – pushing me get those felt liners for my boots and hardwarmers for my mittens and to deal with bad hair days and forever remembering the damp scent of wool and sweatshirts and polar fleece. I still dislike turtlenecks (and refuse to wear them) although they were a key to winter style back in the day for me.

Living in a much bigger city, winter isn’t the same. People are mad at the weather, the snow turns to dirty slush and the joy of playing with snow is pushed aside. But whenever I see a large patch of untouched snow, I smile, remembering my friends and I and how we would jump and run and play in the snow.


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