Monthly Archives: January 2010

Skiing is a passion

Skiing is one of Susie's passions. Here she is at Silver Star Mountain Resort

Susie at Silver Star Ski Resort in British Columbia, Canada

Sometimes there are things that you absolutely love for no other reason than you do. Skiing is mine. I love the freedom, the exhilaration of skiing fast down a run, of silently gliding through powder snow, and I love that it is something that I can always improve. There is no finality of expertise. And each skier finds their own level of where they want to get to. So far, for me, double blacks and jumping off cliffs are off the radar.

Everything else I’m willing to give a go. Bill and I are right into glade skiing this year. We are based in Vernon, British Columbia and skiing our favourite mountain, Silver Star. Other mountains on the agenda this year are Revelstoke (the locals call it Revie – how cute!) and Kicking Horse which I am led to believe has some very steep terrain so I’ll be sticking to the green, blue and a couple of black runs.

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Approaching success at 56

Perhaps the cliche is right that you are never too old to learn. A passion of mine is skiing. I started late – at about 32. Try to learn to ride a bike at 32! But I fell deeply in love with the whole skiing thing. I even found out that I’m a cold weather person!

I am currently on one of my skiing adventures. Yesterday, I was told by my skiing instructor that ‘I could be a very good skier!’. I know that skiing is not a perfect art and there is always room for improvement, but, hey, that made my day. I intend to ski until I am at least 85 years old. I have been told that Paddy Pallin, who started the adventure sports shops, started skiing (cross country skiing I think) at 50 and skied until he was 100 years old. How good is that! And what a role model (no more exclamation marks). Paddy Pallin is right. Skiing is worth the effort. Should I still be here when I am 100, I may well be a very good skier.

I now have some websites devoted to skiing, www.ski-biz.info and www.ski-the-world.info but that’s another story.

One sleep to go!

Packing for a trip to Canada must have Vegemite, a pair of thongs (flip flops to the rest of the world), a good book and some decent Twinings tea.

Stuff to take on a trip overseas must include Vegemite, a good book and flip flops

Travel is one of the great joys in life. The older we get, the more time we seem to have to do some of the things that were difficult when we have young families and large mortgages to pay – doing stuff like travelling.

Skiing is a passion and it has become a business for me too with my new skiing website, http://www.ski-the-world.info which will work with my skiing blog, http://www.ski-biz.info to inform and entertain the skiing (and snowboarding) fraternity around the world.

Tomorrow Bill and I are off to Canada to look at some well-loved and new ski fields, write some articles about the best and not so good resorts and to cover the Vancouver Olympics.

Work should be pleasurable and building websites that are about one of my great passions in life makes work fun.

We fly Air Canada direct to Vancouver – only 14 hours which is great for a trip from Sydney Australia. Then we fly on with Air Canada domestic into Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley to start a ski adventure.

There are some must-haves in the stuff we take. Minimal clothing as our ski gear resides in Canada with friends. Vegemite is essential and it’s always fun feeding it to the Canadians on Australia Day. A good book – essential and flip flops for the hot tub (getting to and from so our wet feet don’t freeze to the floor).

That’s it. Next news will be from Canada.

Seven things that matter in life

Skiing is a passion for Bill and Susie. It's something they love doing together and they find time to ski every year.

Bill and Susie on a mountain somewhere in Canada

‘The difference between how people live and how they dream to live is a vast ocean’ – quote from the celebrated Australian TV series, SeaChange.

My Bill says,’There are only two things in life: love and fear. Choose love.’ (I think someone else said it before him!)

These are important messages that get lost in the fast pace of living in the 21st century. Some people don’t stop to think about what they are doing and why. My motto is ‘work to live not live to work’. It’s the reason Bill and I go to Canada each year to explore Canadian ski fields.

So how do we dare to live differently, boldly, with passion? I’m going with changes to the most important things in life – the way we respond to the people we love rather than changing ‘things’ in our lives. So here’s my list.

  1. Be kind to your loved ones. Think about how they feel rather than focusing on your own feelings. It’s not about how everyone else fits in with you (that’s what kids think).
  2. Have good thoughts about the people in your life. Look for the best in people and let them know. Sometimes the things that really piss us off just disappear.
  3. Don’t sweat the little stuff. Hey, don’t we all sometimes. But it just isn’t worth it. Anger is hurtful to ourselves and the people we love.
  4. Don’t shout – at anyone. Not the shop assistant who is ignoring you, not the person from your telco (oops), not your partner, not your kids. Speak calmly and say nice things. Even when someone is a bit rude, be calm and kind and you’ll find they become calm too.  If we shout, it gives the other person permission to continue being rude.
  5. Here’s another thing – give up meaningless stuff. Live simply, live calmly, love the people you care about and care about the planet we live on.
  6. On yes, and if you have a passion, follow it. If you have two, follow both.
  7. And keep laughing – and that vast ocean between how people live and how they dream to live will disappear.

Images of Balmain Sydney

Ewenton House in East Balmain Sydney

Ewenton House, East Balmain

Darling Street is the main street in Balmain running from the Wharf at East Balmain to Victoria Road in Rozelle

Street scene in Balmain Sydney looking down Darling Street towards East Balmain

Iconic Balmain image is the Post Office and Clock Tower

Balmain Post Office and Clock Tower on Darling Street

Town Hall Hotel is a meeting place for many Sydneysiders

The famous Balmain Town Hall Hotel on Darling Street

Darling Street Balmain with the Sydney CBD in the background

Darling Street Balmain has some great views of the Sydney CBD

Ewenton Park East Balmain in the heart of Sydney provides some traquility for visitors

Ewenton Park at East Balmain Sydney

Community vegetable garden in Balmain

A community vegetable garden grows on a footpath in East Balmain, Sydney

An experimental community garden in East Balmain, Sydney Australia

On an early evening walk the other day, Bill and I happened across an ‘experimental community garden’ which had all manner of organic vegetables growing. There it was on a footpath – three small hand-built planter boxes growning spinach, herbs and tomatoes.

The sign simply said:

Experimental Community Garden: you are welcome to pick what you need for your next meal … all of the seedlings are ‘heirloom variety available from www.diggers.com. Anyone can contribute. Water is mostly recycled while the soil is mostly organic garden compost which is topped up periodically. No herbicides have been used.

I’m not sure whether this is part of a community garden project or just something that the local community has started. We have parkland near us at East Balmain that is rarely used, some of which could be turned into another community garden. Bill and I have been talking about it for some time so the wonder of finding one in Balmain already has spurred us on to talk to our local councillor about getting our community garden going.

Love to hear if others are starting their own community gardens or if you belong to a network like www.communitygarden.org.au