For the past few months, I haven’t had the motivation to go outside much. I do go on the occasional walk, but it is not unusual for me to spend an entire week indoors. In order to fix this slump I’ve found myself into, I decided to partake in my favourite winter sports this week, including skating, cross-country skiing, and sledding. I discovered that the sole act of deciding to do these activities actually gave me the motivation to do them. It was hard to get myself to go outside, but after I did take that initial step, I found myself having lots of fun. I would like to tell you guys about my experience.

A kilometre away or so from my home is a soccer field surrounded by a running track. During the winter, the track is transformed into a very large skating rink. There are speakers and lights placed along the rink, which light the area at night and play music throughout the day. And so, on February 8th I went skating for the first time in two years. I left my home at around 3:15 pm, and even the five-minute walk to the rink was exciting. I haven’t set a goal for myself in a while. The fact that I had somewhere to go and something to do was exhilarating, especially since I haven’t had much to do in a while. The experience of skating itself was a lot of fun. I was surprised that I was still able to stand and move myself forward. As I glided along the ice, I could feel the cold wind against my cheeks and hear the crackling of the ice beneath me. My legs hurt as I pushed myself along the rink. I had fun skating as quickly as possible, then stopping, and letting my momentum take me forward. I tried to skate backwards and in circles, but that was too much for me.

While I do enjoy skating, I do find it monotonous at times and my mind sometimes wanders elsewhere (usually to negative thoughts). I used this time skating to practice staying in the present moment by focusing on my body movements, the sound of my skates on the ice, and the scenery around me including the snow, ice, trees, sky, buildings, and people. It felt nice to finally move my body after months of inactivity. I definitely recommend it (although I would suggest bringing lots of tissues, which I, unfortunately, did not). If you guys want to check out this rink, it is located at 5300 Boulevard Robert, Saint-Léonard next to the Saint-Leonard library and the Martin Brodeur skating arena. If you are not from Saint-Leonard, and would like to find a skating rink closer to your area, you can find a list of all outdoor skating rinks using this link: https://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=5977,94954214&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Some parks that offer skate rentals include:

On February 10th, I went cross-country skiing at Maisonneuve Park for around 40 minutes. The sight of the park covered in snow was lovely. There were skiing tracks throughout the park that extend into the botanical gardens. As with skating, I haven’t been skiing in almost 2 years. I also never had any professional cross-country skiing lessons, so I had no idea what I was doing. Still, I had a lot of fun that day. I tried to copy the other skiers I saw, pushing my skis forward and digging my poles into the snow in the same way as the others. It was hard to coordinate my legs and arms so that I could properly ski. I was a bit embarrassed by my lack of skill, but I pushed on. The park itself was beautiful. I had chosen such a nice and sunny day to ski. The skiing paths were set up nicely throughout the park. There were multiple routes a person can take. It made me feel as though I was going on an adventure and in control of my own destiny. There were some small downhill sections, which were fun. I loved skiing quickly down them. Although, this experience was much more exhausting than skating. I used much more of my muscles. At the same time, using my body made me feel more alive. It made me feel more connected to myself. Weirdly, as I was so focused on the activity itself, I actually completely forgot about the pandemic and Covid-19 for that brief time. It felt like a nice escape from my daily fear. Only when I passed a family wearing masks was I reminded. If you have cross-country skis, I highly recommend going out this winter. You might be reluctant to (I sure was), but I know you will not regret it. Going outside this week has made me want to go out more often. I can’t fully describe this experience; you will need to experience it yourself to fully understand. A complete list of parks that allow cross-country skiing can be found at this link: https://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=5977,94954226&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

And you can rent cross-country skis at the following parks:

And finally, later on in the day, I went sledding at Park Pierre-de-Coubertin. It seemed like other sledders had created bumps on the hill, which were hard to navigate through. If you hit a bump too quick, you can fly off your sled. I noticed a few families sledding alongside me. I was a bit self-conscious about my age (I’m 24), but it was still fun to quickly slide down the hill. Some places you can go sledding in Montreal can be found at this link: https://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=5977,94953630&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

You can also rent sleds/tubes at :

In the end, I encourage you all to take some time to have a snow adventure this winter. I hope you all have some fun!

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