Skiing is a Made-in-the-Yukon Experience

It’s Wednesday and I’m feeling listless. The kids are at school, my wife is at work and it’s a day off from college classes for me. I want to go for a ski.

I look out the window … it’s still dark. I drag myself to the front door and open it cautiously. To my surprise it is actually quite nice; a little windy, yes, but otherwise unusually warm and pleasant. It will get brighter and, in spite of the warm weather, I layer on the clothing just in case. Jeans, a T-shirt, a sweater over that, a fleece over that and my trusty old English wool coat on top. I can’t forget my Canadian rabbit-skin hat, the one that says, “Made in China” on the tag. Then there’s my made-for-the-north but made-in-China Kombi mitts. Finally, my big pair of winter moon boots finishes the picture.

The hill to Granger isn’t steep … but it’s long. Patches pulls me up the hill but I’m puffing by the time we get to the top. I’m also feeling a little warm and sweaty in my many layers of “quality outdoor clothing”. Turning left at Hamilton Boulevard, I head to the end of the road to begin my circuitous route around the Logan/Copper Ridge area. It’s a great walk because there is always something different to see.

I remember the trails that wound through this area before the roads came. My wife and I would bundle our then-baby son in his snowsuit, put him on a sled and walk back through here every weekend. Now, no matter how often you pass through, there is either a new house under construction, a road being levelled, a new shade of vinyl siding to notice, or some other fresh human contribution to the ever-changing landscape.

I’m feeling really hot, so I take off a layer of clothing while Patches sits on the snow looking up. That’s a problem with Yukon weather, it’s often difficult to know how much clothing to wear. We carry on. Soon the road begins to head downhill and, despite the slog, I begin to cool down. We stop and I put my coat back on. I’m beginning to feel refreshed.

We turn off Falcon Drive and onto the road that runs past the Copper Ridge Place senior’s complex. There, in front of me, looming out of the snow like a monstrous apparition, is a city of Whitehorse bus shelter. On the side is a big Batman poster with the words, “Holy Blockbuster”. I stop, and stand dead still in my English coat, Chinese boots, hat and mitts, with my Canadian dog. Patches looks at me like I’m nuts. Overhead there are three big old ravens circling amidst the falling flakes while Batman peers out from the poster. I’m suddenly caught up in the absurdity of it all.

I’m glad to be a Yukoner. There are people around the world who would kill for the chance to enjoy the quiet streets that we take for granted here. They might not dream of Gotham City with all its villains and heroes or, perhaps, they are living in one. I’m wearing clothing made half a world away, and every snowflake that falls contains a grain of dirt that may have originated anywhere else on this planet, but I am standing in the Yukon. What a lucky man. Patches and I head home.

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