dream come true

There has been a lot going on in the city of Edmonton regarding winter fun. We have a gazillion festivals to help keep you active throughout the year and two weeks ago was the Winter City Shake Up conference where I learned cool/depressing facts like:

Edmonton has 151 days of winter = 40% of the year
The average temperature in Edmonton is -10 degrees Celsius (-14 Fahrenheit)
Edmonton has 325 days of sun = 90% of the year

I also I learned at the conference that a group of people recently installed a lock up rack for skis at the Century Park LRT Station which is beyond amazing because that meant I could ski to work! Century Park Station is the closest LRT stop from my house (a 10 – 15 min drive).  The group that created the lock up rack calls themselves Ski2LRT. Usually I don’t take the LRT from Century Park because the free parking lot fills up before 6:45 am. I have a hard enough time leaving the house before the sun rises (at 8 am) so I never considered the option. But the lock up rack at the LRT station provided a plausible solution as I despise walking long distances but love x-country skiing. I heard of people skiing to work in countries like Norway when I was younger so the idea has always been a distant dream.

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Since I live in the suburbs driving to work this time of year is excruciating. The All-Season tires that I purchased for my car in LA feel like a One-Season tire (aka Summer-Only) here in Edmonton. Up till now I have reasoned driving to work because of the amount of meetings I go to afterwards. But like any excuse I give myself, it can only last for so long before the convenience feels inconvenient to my mental health. It can take up to an hour to drive to work or back home with winter driving conditions which is the same amount of time it takes to ride the bus/LRT to work or to bike to work in the summer.

So if I drive close to the station (a 5 min drive through a ravine), X-Country Ski to the LRT (10-15 min), take the LRT to work (25 min), then walk to work (3 min) I get exercise, walk around the city (instead of being bundled up in my car/detached from my surroundings) and I save money from not parking down town and my work gives out bus passes for free. It sounds like a no brainer. So I decided that in February (typically the coldest month of the year in Edmonton) I would take public transportation as much as possible to get away from driving. Here is how it has gone thus far:

Week 1

  • Mon, Feb 2: Drove to work.
  • Tues, Feb 3: Drove to work.
  • Wed, Feb 4: Drove to Century Park Station (parked two blocks away where it was free) and checked out the x-country ski trails along the way to make sure it was a legit thing and then hopped onto the LRT to work.
  • Thurs, Feb 5: Drove to work because I had meetings/errands to run later in the evening. On this day heaps of snow fell from the sky and I was unable to drive up the steep ramp in the parking lot at my work. I was stuck in the lot because of my One-Season California tires – and I refuse to buy winter tires as there is only two months of drastic weather left. With Levi’s help later in the evening, three amazing homeless men from Dwayne’s Home (a shelter next door to my work), and some kitty litter that I happened to have in my car we were able to push the car up the parking ramp to the street. I saw this as a sign to commit to public transportation, a vow that I had yet to comply to.
  • Fri, Feb 6: Levi drove me to work. I kind of cheated.

Week 2

  • Mon, Feb 9:   Parked close to Century Park Station and then ski’d to the LRT! Locked up my skis and took the LRT to work.
  • Tues, Feb 10: Parked close to Century Park Station and then ski’d to the LRT again! Took the LRT to work again!
  • Wed, Feb 11:  Parked a little further away from the Station so I could get more ski time. Took the LRT to work! This is actually happening!
  • Thurs, Feb 12: I had an event with my niece in the evening so I drove to work. I can’t win every day.

The trails near the station are self-made so the second day was much easier. On the third day snow had blown over my trail so I had to make new ones again. It’s not completely easy because the trails are not yet maintained but this activity is something I can get behind because not only do I love skiing in any form I think it will help me through the winter blues. I’ve tried to be optimistic but ever since I came back from LA getting up in the morning when it is pitch black until 8 am has been tougher than I remember. I think it is also because I park in a garage that is attached to my townhouse and the condo association shovels the walks for us. While those things sound like perks it means I do not interact with the weather on a regular basis which I kind of miss. In fact I think it makes me more hesitant to go outside. Could this be seasonal depression? If so I’m glad for some activity (saunas, hot yoga and x-country skiing) to help relieve the lack of motivation I feel right now. I’m half way through February and it’s already looking brighter.

Next up, I’m patiently waiting for the arrival of my newly ordered wake up light!