It's the silence that is most striking. My breathing and the crunching of the snow under my feet are the only sounds I hear. Running along a snow laden bridle trail in a ski resort in British Columbia, Canada is a truly magical experience, and if I can begin when it is still dark, the beauty of the sun slowly rising over the Monashee Mountains distracts me from the physical exertion of running through the densely packed snow.
We've travelled to this part of Canada for three years now. It's quite an effort, both financially and logistically – it means over thirty hours of car and plane travel and I can't even think about the cost. Yet, the fact that we keep returning is testament to our enjoyment of it and the lasting impact it has on our lives. Three weeks was the duration of our recent stay, which is enough time to make the jetlag and expense of getting there worth it, yet like most great holidays we left reluctantly wishing we could do it all again.
The resort we go to is small and very low key. It's full of Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders, which as expats living in Singapore, I think we appreciate more than if we were living back at home. We all ski, mainly downhill, but this year my husband Craig and I tried cross-country because the trails in Silverstar are so extensive and it is a sport we would like to be able to do more of as we get older. The kids were not interested, preferring to spend their time on the steeper terrain. Cross-country was harder than we had imagined, both physically and technically, and because the conditions for downhill were so good we didn't progress very much. I did a little bit of snow shoeing too, which is another way to appreciate the beauty of the area, but once I'd mapped out my run I was pretty committed to it.
Our eldest daughter laughed at me when I proudly showed her my snow running shoes I had bought online. But if we were to spend three weeks in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Canada, I was determined to find a way to stay running fit outside of a gym. We all have our own reasons for loving the place. The older kids really like the freedom of being able to meet up and ski with their friends without too many restrictions or obligations. The younger kids are eager skiers too, but they also love the hot chocolates, a hot tub in the afternoon and hanging out with Mum and Dad. Craig loves the skiing and snowshoeing, and we all delight in the vibrancy of the cold and dry weather, which is such a contrast to the stifling heat and humidity of Singapore.
Our ski trip is the one time in the year when we all really connect as a family. The pressures and distractions of everyday life fade with the jetlag and we ease into a very relaxed and simple routine. The sheer beauty of the location and the incredible sensation of being physically active in the fresh mountain air are so powerful that all other intrusions are blocked. The delight of doing something together as a family alongside the comfort and familiarity of the resort, combine to make our ski trip our most special holiday of the year.