I was recently faced with my fear of heights when I tried my hand at ziplining in Mont Tremblant. No, I didn’t bother to try a small zipline tour first, no! I dove right in to one of the highest and scariest courses.

Now living in Canada, we suffer through months of cold and snow. Although it’s tempting to want to hibernate for the entire duration of winter, it isn’t ideal with two children who are active and love the snow. We’ve learned we need to embrace the reality of our long winters. The boys (10 and 12) both play competitive hockey, so our evenings and weekends are already booked.

But on off days, why not pick up skiing – an activity that we could all do as a family? So, off we went to ski at Hockley Valley Resort in Orangeville, about 45 minutes from where we live and over and hour from Toronto.

Learning to ski at the youthful age of 40-something raised a few flags: I’m not a fan of the cold, and I have never downhill skied. I didn’t think I’d be the most promising candidate for midlife ski lessons; my balance isn’t the greatest, I already have muscle pains, and I’m not coordinated.

Like riding a bicycle or skating, if you don’t learn to ski in your youth, it is challenging when you’re an adult. Plus there is the added worry about breaking a hip or spraining a knee.

I tried cross-country skiing when I was in middle school. I still have fond memories of the school three-night trip we took to Camp Kearney just north of Huntsville, where students learned how to snowshoe and cross country ski.

But it’s cross country skiing = it’s easier. Cross-country skis are narrower and lighter than downhill skiis, and only the toe of your boot is attached to the ski, which is more comfortable than having the entire boot strapped to it.

Skiing for the First Time with the Family at Hockley

Skiing for the First Time with the Family at Hockley

First time skiing with the family

First time skiing with the family at Hockley Valley

To prepare for our first time skiing, we took semi-private lessons at Hockley; the boys went with one instructor, and my husband and I went with another… us old folks would need a little more specific guidance I assumed?!

The boys learned so quickly. I’m assuming their skating skills helped because they knew how to edge and stop. My husband also picked it up fast too; in no time, he was skiing down the Teddy Bear hills!

I on the other hand did not! My balance isn’t the greatest and my fear of speed also caused me to wipe out every time I attempted to go down the hill. It was quite the gong show for me as the magic carpet ride lady made sure to thank me for the amusing entertainment I provided!

I kept trying to remember the ski instructors tips to position your skis so they are facing across the slope of the hill, not down it. Also, I needed to remember to edge my skis inward as I’d make turns, and also to stop!

Learning to Ski as a Family at Hockley Valley Resort

First time skiing at Hockley Valley

Learning to Ski at Hockley Valley

First time skiing with the family at Hockley Valley

Learning to Ski in your 40s

After about two hours, my legs and butt were hurting and my knee was throbbing. When I took another wipeout going down the hill, I twisted my knee. Let’s just say my body was quite sore the next two days!

Will I try skiing again? The boys definitely want to go again… I would like to try again but need to get over the fear and focus on the proper techniques so I don’t break any bones!

Thank you to Hockley Valley Resort for hosting us!

Learning to Ski with the family at Hockley Valley Resort | amotherworld | www.amotherworld.com


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.


  1. I’ve skied since I was a kid, but I taught my husband how to ski at age 30, and I felt so bad for him. It’s so much harder to learn as an adult! (Big people do have further to fall 🙂 ) . I made him take some lessons, and it definitely helped (my instructions were lacking the descriptive direction he needed). I hope you stick with it; my husband loves skiing now, probably more than me! He’s still not the best skier, but he doesn’t care – he’s having fun!

  2. So nice, I remember the first time I learned to skii at whistler, was so fun

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