A Senior Skier Reflects On The Thinking Part of The Sport.

Since I was five I’ve been on a voyage of self discovery through skiing that started at the ski areas of the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, Canada and grew to be an integral part of my life the older I became. Initially learning to ski on riverbank in Winnipeg wasn’t the most auspicious start to any skier’s career but the passion for the sport of those around me left an indelible impression. Certainly I picked this up from my father, a local and eventually nationally recognised builder of the sport in Canada. It probably meant that skiing and not hockey would become the central sport of my life but I was under no pressure to do this. Instead I was attracted for its own merits to this activity that rewarded individual effort yet was always way more fun in the company of others. And then there was the connection with nature and the fact that skill wasn’t just about the size or sex of the participant. It appealed to me on an intellectual level too. The best skiers always seemed to me to be aware and afterwards reflective of what they were trying to accomplish yet in the moment of performance instinctively connected to the snow. They were and are my inspiration.

As I gained more experience it became obvious to me that I would want to pass this joy on to others so at the age of 14 I became an instructor. I also realised that one of the best ways to understand the sport that was rewarding in so many ways was to never stop trying to learn yourself. In 1986 a close friend invited me to enter the sport from a different angle and coach. Along the way I made a career in the retail sporting goods field and still strive to learn everything I can about the impact of equipment on performance as a professional boot fitter, technician and ski shop manager since 1974. All of which led to jumping off points in my life which I was completely oblivious to at the time. It was never just the destination but the journey that with hind sight mattered most. Like having a great run where sometimes a moment of reflection at the end when you realise what you just accomplished. Now I’m not saying that skiing is somehow always a metaphor for life but it was for me.

So here I am 55 years later from that little boy in Montreal and still learning and pushing the envelope. It’s a fascinating period of time in the evolution of the sport for any of us that have experienced the full range of changes in the last 60 years. Thanks to this website for allowing me to share some of the ride.

Contributor Glenn Allen is an “employee athlete” at Sport Chek, Canada’s largest retail chain of sports equipment.  Thanks for letting us use the video clip.

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