In collabs across the country and beyond, amazing women gather to have epic adventures, build new friendships and create lasting memories. Inspiring us this month with weekly (nighttime!) cross-country skiing events: the Western Canada AMI Collab.
Bonnie Presser, organizer of these epic meetups, talks about getting back into cross-country skiing after kids and how that goal eventually became a weekly event each winter for the past two years. Every Tuesday night, a group meets at a local golf course for skiing, fun and a really great workout. Read on about how the events got started and what Bonnie loves most about them.
Tell me a little bit about this event and how it got started?
I had already been a leader for kids events in the Calgary Outdoor Playgroup Community for a year or so, and it was time to get back to doing more things for myself. Last year, after many years off from cross-country skiing, I rented gear and went out to try it again. I was hooked. I went out and bought my own gear and resolved to use it as much as I could to get my money's worth. I knew the only way to do that was to ski in town and at night, as I work four days a week and my kiddo was only three at the time. I decided since it was so easy to organize the kid's events, why not try some parent events in the hopes that I wouldn't have to ski by myself. Last year, I started organizing in early February when I bought my gear and off we went. Some nights it was only me and one other mama. Other nights, up to five ladies joined me. This year has had an even better turn out with as many as nine ladies on any given Tuesday night. It's been really great to see a lot of moms, and sometimes dads, come out after different lengths of a hiatus from skiing and get back into it. Many are brand-new and are looking for their ski tribe. I ski a lot, but I have only had one lesson and still have so much to learn. It’s fun to practice with other like-minded people who enjoy getting out and getting some good exercise in the snow.
How often do you meet?
We ski weekly in Calgary, mostly at Confederation Park Golf Course and sometimes at Shaganappi Point Golf Course. Both are within 20 minutes of my house and are groomed and maintained by local ski associations, which run cross-country ski programs for youth and adults. With all the other commitments families have, once a week is a good balance. Also, the weather can mess with the schedule. Each winter, I choose the ski day based on a poll in our Facebook groups to see which days have more people available and that works with my schedule. It’s kind of a "stars aligning" exercise.
What about these events do you look forward to?
I look forward to three main things:
- Getting out of the house to go do my own thing while my husband puts the kid to bed
- Exercising outdoors at an adult pace
- Meeting new people, being part of the journey for other mom’s that are getting back into a sport and just chatting about random stuff
“I loved meeting with like-minded women for after dark cross-country ski tours in our local golf course. A big thank you to Bonnie Presser for organizing, and to Tara Matheron for spreading the word.”
Carolyn Fisher, participant
What advice do you have to a new mama that’s been eyeing events like this but hasn’t come yet?
Just do it and know that we are all parents who know the ups and downs. We all have different levels of fitness and we are all there to support each other. That's a huge benefit to cross-country skiing. No one is really the same speed, so you can just go along at your own pace and we all meet up at intervals. You don't need to catch up or overdo it. Just show up and do what you can. You will be amazed at how you progress. For people new to the sport, we suggest you walk down the first and only big hill at our main location. No sense hurting yourself to impress other moms. We have had people come out one time and decide that night skiing by headlamp wasn't their thing, so now they look for my daytime cross-country events that I sometimes do out in the mountains when I have days off from work to burn. It’s whatever you are comfortable with. You won't know until you try.