Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
CBC logo
Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 12.16.02
Quebec City


No winter sport, moi

As any one who knows me realizes, I'm not big on winter.

I don't play old-boy hockey. I don't curl. As far as I'm concerned, snowshoes are nothing more than an impediment to walking.

And I definitely don't ski.

Now, I'm also rational enough to realize that a lot of people do take enjoyment out of these various activities.

So, I've made a concerted effort in the past few years to try and temper my foul winter mood.

Let me also point out that I'm not the kind of person who would, willy nilly, condemn any of these activities without giving them a try.

I played hockey as a kid. I've got the scars and the missing tooth to show for it.

I've tried curling and come to the conclusion the only thing I really like about it is the tradition of buying the opposition a drink afterwards.

I won't even talk about snow showing.

And skiing? Well I tried skiing.

You have to realize I was born and raised in the Niagara Peninsula.

The nearest hill -- not counting the Niagara escarpment which is a straight, vertical drop of about 200 feet -- is probably in Collingwood, Ontario.

Skiing is not a big thing there.

It wasn't until I came to Quebec that I actually hit the slopes.

When it was suggested that I might actually enjoy fastening a pair of polished barrel staves onto my feet and hurtle down a mountain I naturally demurred.

Nevertheless, in a fit of youthful enthusiasm, I found myself on a t-bar with rented equipment.

Naturally, at the top of the hill I did what every novice skier does.

I fell off the bar face first.

Which meant the next twenty-seven people on the tow skied right over me.

By the time I was rescued by my friends I looked like a bad case of winter roadkill.

And that was the easy part.

We started down the hill with my friends attempting to demonstrate the snowplow.

It didn't work. Nor could I turn. The one thing I found I could do with gay abandon was go straight ahead.

Faster and faster.

In hindsight, I like to think I foreshadowed the great success the Canadian national ski team was to have in the late sixties and seventies.

And I truly believe the crazy Canucks would have found in me a kindred spirit.

The reality, however, was that I found myself hurtling towards the chalet at the bottom of Owl's Head directly at about one hundred sets of skis and polls left there by those who had abandoned the hill for the comfort of the bar.

My choice was simple:

Hurtle into about five thousand dollars worth of equipment and spend the rest of my university career paying for it or bail out.

I bailed out.

They found one of my poles about a hundred yards from the base of the hill.

A mitten another fifteen yards on.

My hat and my glasses were almost side by side at the fifty yard mark.

One boot had come loose shortly after I lost the ski. They recovered that about twenty yards out.

My scarf came loose just before I rolled to a stop. And for some reason the other ski pole lodged in my thigh.

Those who witnessed the event from the bar were in agreement.

Not since Wide World of Sports had anyone witnessed such a spectacular crash.

So bear with me. And when I mope and complain -- and I try not to -- have a little compassion for someone who doesn't look at winter as an opportunity, but a challenge.