Winter joys

Whether we like it or not, winter is a part of us. The most enthusiastic will make the most of it and go skiing, skating or tobogganing, while the others will lock themselves indoors and complain about the crazily cold weather.

When I was a kid, I loved winter! I made snow forts in front of my house, went sledding on my crazy carpet, ate snow (not the yellow one!), skied every weekend, watched my dad use the snowblower and followed him to pick up what was left behind with my little shovel. One year, my dad even made us an ice rink in the backyard! I spent my entire time outside and came back in at the end of the day with “pretty red cheeks”, as my father still says. My mom prepared tasty meals, and we all ate together, as a family. Ah, the good old days! Yes, that time when I put on a hat without even wondering if my hair would all be messed up when I took it off, and when my big purple Sorel boots were THE reference in terms of winter fashion! Although it does look like Sorel is making a huge comeback this year...

In recent years, I’ve started not liking winter so much. In the city, snowbanks are tiny, so we can forget about building snow forts. Although doing so by myself at 29 years old might be a bit strange. Moving on. As far as skiing is concerned, let’s just say that my passion for the sport is inversely proportionate to the evolution of the price for a lift ticket... Paying $ 60 to wait in line for an hour just to get on the lift? Isn’t that a buck an hour? Thank you very much, but I’ll pass.

What I’m realizing as I get older is that winter has become a product, a business like everything else. To really enjoy it, you have to spend money. At least for most activities. I prefer – or at least choose – to stay in the city and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on television for the thousandth time. And as for the ice rink in the backyard, it’s not really an option anymore. I don’t even have a backyard!

What made me lose some of my winter enthusiasm was moving to the city (although I love the city in itself). In Montreal, snow is a burden. The gusts of icy wind, the poorly plowed streets, it's nothing to make our lives more enjoyable. In the streets, it’s not snow, it's slush. On sidewalks, it’s ice. In January, it’s ice storms. On our faces, it’s frostbites. Around cars, it’s cement blocks. On the highway, it’s black ice. As you can see, there’s not much “real snow” left. Let’s be honest: snow is not welcomed in big cities. It interferes with traffic and makes pedestrians curse like sailors.

By reading this, you must think I hate winter. However, I recently rediscovered some of its charms thanks to my 4 year-old nephew. In his eyes, everything is fascinating, including winter. He likes snow, he likes to be pulled on the sleigh, he likes to help us shovel. He laughs when he falls because of ice. He is fascinated by the snow on trees. He doesn’t care about ski resorts ripping us off, dry skin cracking because it’s dehydrated, slush ruining our new boots or snowploughs only passing two weeks after a snowstorm. He likes winter because he only sees its beauty.

So to all of you who, like me, are sometimes depressed and frustrated by winter, remember that there is always a little something we like about the cold season. You just have to take a few minutes to find your child’s heart again… And let’s admit it, after all that overtime at the office, we all need a bit of fresh air to get those famous « pretty red cheeks »…On a pale green complexion, the effect is striking!

Image de Stéphanie Auclair

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