In February of 2018, I was invited by a friend of a friend to attend a girls ski weekend in Fernie. I knew a couple of the women who were to attend this trip, but the other 9 attendees were strangers to me. I learned that this girls trip had been running for several years and they professed themselves as the Ladies of Leisure. They only had two rules, no cooking and no responsibilities.
The weekend arrived and we were off. I carpooled with the two women I knew, plus their best friend. On the drive down to Fernie, I learned that these women had formed incredible bonds year after year on these trips. They told stories of epic wipeouts, well-timed snowfalls, and colossal hangovers that were inevitably cured with skiing (for the formidable ones) and hair of the dog.
I’ll admit, on the drive down I felt intimidated by the women in my cohort. They were all insanely badass in their own rights, from being powerful professionals to managing motherhood, they seemed to have “it” nailed. Not to mention they had looks that would make Clark Griswold drive his station wagon off the road.
What really broke the ice between the newbie (me) and the seasoned veterans (them) was their endless senses of good humor. We laughed at ourselves, we laughed at each other, we laughed at the world. Thankfully all vehicles stayed on the road during this drive and we reached Wally World, I mean, Fernie safely.
After copious amounts of Pinot Noir, hours in the hot tub, and Indian takeout (and absolutely no other organic substances whatsoever, none.) we hit the sack at a fairly reasonable hour. It’s important to note that I have always been the first one to bed on these trips, these women really do savour and enjoy every minute of these trips fighting bedtime as if they were kids again.
The next morning we rose at various times, sipped coffee and baileys, made our way to the ski hill with the obligatory stop at Big Bang Bagels, promising ourselves it would soak up the booze and help us ski better.
We naturally organized ourselves into groups of similar skiing strengths and set out to make our turns. I followed these women as they fearlessly searched for fresh tracks and stashes of pow. This was not a difficult endeavor as Ullr smiled upon us and gifted Fernie with over 40cm of the new stuff. I vividly recall being awestruck by how amazing these skiers were (and for the record-still are!), hard-charging, strong, inspired. We pushed each other to ski harder and faster. We watched, cheering each other on when one of us hit a feature, no matter how big or small.
The day wrapped up and we made our way back to the condo for some hot tubbing and apres ski before dinner. If you’ve ever been to Fernie in February, you know how difficult it is to get a dinner reservation. Now try getting a table for 12. Impossible! One restaurant in town that could accommodate our group size and we ended up eating there both nights. After dinner, some of us would make a half-assed attempts to go dancing while others threw in the towel and made their way back to bed.
After two days of hard skiing and three nights of hard partying, Sunday arrived and it was time to go home. Like any great family vacation we went home exhausted, a little bruised and deliriously happy…planning the next adventure.
The weekend was more than a ski trip, it was therapy. It gave us a chance to check our stresses at the door and just be ourselves. It gave us connection, release, confidence, sisterhood. These women have become some of my best friends and I now proudly call myself a Lady of Leisure.