Although Bromont is just 53 miles outside of Montreal, this was my first venture outside of the city since arriving in late October. While I should have been trying to remember how to ski, my inner-American-college-student was too busy laughing at the thought of conquering "Bro Mountain".
We arrived early afternoon to temps around 14 degrees fahrenheit. I never thought I'd see the day when I would consider these acceptable conditions for spending several hours outside with no respite. Oh, how things change. *laughs mockingly at NYC friends making a fuss over a blizzard dubbed Snowzilla*
I have skied a handful of times in the mountains of North Carolina and once in Vermont. I never took lessons, but I've always been an athlete and a fast learner. The first time I tried skiing in middle school, I adapted right away and it was smooth sailing. Each time I returned to the slopes, it was like riding bicycle. This time, it felt more like trying out a motorcycle; I was pretty excited yet acutely aware of my mortality. Another note to self: a blue run in Canada is not the same as a blue run in North Carolina.
The snow covered scenery in Bromont was impressive. I vastly prefer living in busy cities, but I need to see some land and greenery once in a while to maintain my sanity. I love that this little town is only 45 minutes away, yet it feels so far from reality.
Here we are, starting our day on the mountain. I am brimming with joy and overconfidence.
Frankly, the first slope of the day was terrifying. It was nothing like I had remembered it. I didn't know what to expect and I paid no mind to where we were going, just followed the pack. I gained some confidence after conquering the first steep hill, only to be met with another steeper, bumpier, icier hill. This was the most frustrating thing.
If I sound cynical, don't get me wrong. I had so. much. fun. I have always loved the sport even if I wasn't an avid skier. I love the thrill of speeding down the mountain and, in a weird way, I love the solitude, even if I hope to always have a friend nearby to make sure I don't fall off the mountain. On this particular day I was lucky to have my boyfriend keeping tabs and a great group to grab a beer with afterwards.
Bromont by night is quite beautiful and the slopes stay open until 10pm. A friend told me that he and some friends had made a tradition of driving out from Montreal after work on Fridays, hitting the slopes around 6 and staying until close. This is starkly different from my margarita happy hour tradition in NYC.
Naturally, we followed up our day on the mountain with a drink at the bar.
Every time someone asks me if I'm enjoying Montreal, I respond with an emphatic YES and cite the amazing winter culture. Although it's a futile endeavor like comparing apples and oranges, I can't help but compare Montreal with New York, and winter here has New York beat by a landslide. Before I get accused of NY-bashing, I will say this: the fact that I and so many others are willing to endure Winter in NYC (and pay rent there) is a testament to how truly amazing and fun it is to live there. But winter in New York is about enduring it and making it to spring. It is a tunnel and spring is the light at the end. Winter activities mostly involve Netflix and drinking, going to a bar and drinking, or going to brunch and drinking, at least for actual residents/non-tourists. No New Yorker wants to wait 2 hours in line to skate in a tiny rink in front of a big building, iconic as it may be.
In Montreal, winter is anticipated with excitement and embraced. This is unsurprising given the proximity to skiing in Bromont and other winter activities, but even in the city, life is spirited; in the parks, the attractions, and especially the rinks. With the exception of my post-birthday hangover, I have spent every weekend outside and loving every minute of it. This short ski trip was no exception and in a way confirmed what I already knew: winter in Montreal is pretty cool.