Hello, I’m Steve Podborski

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That’s what I said to my beautiful wife when I I got to the bottom of the hill on Saturday.

This hill.

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Trixie, don’t mess up Aaron’s nice grooming job, and don’t try to eat his lunch.

Without falling.

That’s Williston Lake, and off to the left is the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. They are both pretty huge. The shack at the bottom is the power shed for the tow.

This is our ski hill.

This is from the other side.

This is from the other side of The Dam Run. Pretty clever, huh.

When we moved here, we heard about the volunteer-run ski hill. There is all kinds of stuff to keep yourself occupied in the summer around here, but the winter can get pretty dreary, so we decided to go to the AGM for the ski hill and see if we could help out.

Turns out we could.

Hello, my name is Chris, and I'll be your handle on the bum specialist today.

Hello, my name is Chris, and I’ll be your handle on the bum specialist today.

I know I have mentioned before how much I love this town that we live in, but I feel like I have to sing it’s praises a bit more. I have never lived anywhere with such community spirit and involvement. It’s a place that you just want to help out in. I look around all the time at people putting their heart into projects that benefit the whole community, and it makes me proud and happy to be here.

It’s a lot of responsibility to ensure that your community has a safe, fun place to spend their wintry weekends, so we were glad to be able to help out the amazing group of people that were running this club so smoothly.

Then we didn’t get any snow, and we lost hope. Oh, and Jenny is leaving, so that makes us sad too.

This is the last part of the beginner hill.

This is the last part of the hill that we named Darryl’s Elbow. Get it? I guess I should mention that without Darryl, this would not be here. Any of it.

Then, last week it snowed, and there was much celebration. Darryl, Aaron, and I went up to see a few inches of new powder on the hill, so we tuned up the lift and got it ready to open for the weekend. I was finally going to get to do some work at the hill when it was running. It was pretty spectacular.

This made everything worth it.

This made everything worth it.

At one point, we had seven kids going up the lift at one time, and I nearly wept with happiness. I’m almost crying now as I think about it. It’s hard for me to explain, but I think that being around people that give so much of themselves to a remote community really wears off on me. It’s a pretty amazing feeling when you are around them, and it’s not just the ski club. The town is full of groups that are trying to make a better place for themselves, and for the kids. Hockey, rec badminton, Rod and Gun Club, Book clubs, The Friends of Hudson’s Hope, Curling, and figure skating are a few that come to mind, but there are many more.

That’s pretty phenomenal for a town of around 1000 people that’s an hour from anywhere. I think these folks all deserve a pat on the back and a round of applause for their efforts, because in the end they are what brought us here, and also who make it easy to stay.

Here are a few of them. Notice they don't pose for photos properly. That's because they make the rules, not follow them.

Here are a few of them. Notice they don’t pose for photos properly. That’s because they make the rules, not follow them.

Now back to the title of this post.

At the end of Saturday, I strapped on the first set of skis to touch my feet in twenty years. I took three trips down the hill, and I didn’t fall once. Gerri was waiting for me at the bottom of the hill and told me that I looked like a natural, Steve Podborski was who came to mind. I guess because he was quite relevant the last time I was skiing.

When I first learned to ski, at Camborne Ski Club in the early 80s, I absolutely loved it. It was a little bigger than this is now, but it had the same, small town feel to it. The quiet, electric tow at our hill is much smoother than Kent Harper running the old rope tow in Camborne, but there was a charm to an old vehicle chassis with a makeshift wheel running a huge rope loop up a hill, that you don’t get nowadays. What with all the safety BS that’s around. I remember that if you didn’t grab fast enough, you could easily wear a pair of ski gloves out in a weekend. If you don’t believe me, or even if you do, check out This blog post that I found while researching.

Anyhow, over the next few years, we got a family membership to the Oshawa Ski Club, but I lost my love after Camborne shut down. By the time I hit high school, smoking and drinking took the place of everything else I loved as a kid. Sometimes I blame my dad for making us go all of the time, but in the end I’m sure I would have fell out of love with skiing on my own. Just like I did with hockey.

I'm afraid to go down The Energizer, even though the hydro poles have pads. Maybe next time.

I’m afraid to go down The Energizer, even though the hydro poles have pads. Maybe next time.

I’m falling back in love with it. Thank you, Hudson’s Hope.

Maybe hockey is next year. If I can find some old skates at the thrift store.

Birdman

P.S. Jenny is still leaving, so we are still sad. Our hopes are that she will miss us so much that her heart forces her to come back. At gunpoint, if need be.

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2 thoughts on “Hello, I’m Steve Podborski

  1. It was fun reading about Camborne. I remember skiing there as a teen, and I remember the rope tow and the worn out gloves. We used mitt protectors-leather covers that you buckled over the palms of your mitts/gloves. Remember those? I used to enjoy night skiing during the week. It was organized by Burnham School and it felt cool to be out there on a week night. As for global warming, the hill faced the wrong way, so the sun melted the snow. This was why the ski club wasn’t sustainable. Remember the river jump? I sure do. I also remember the rope swing over the little pond at the bottom of the hill-what a hoot! I went on to race for the Oshawa Ski Club. Podborski showed up one Saturday to take part in one of our practices and mentor us-no kidding! One last thing-do you remember the attractive young girl who worked at the general store in the late 80’s? We didn’t know her name so Travis “D” and I used to call her Jenny Story (see what we did there?) Cheers!

    • Yeah, I do remember the mitt protectors, but I don’t think I ever used them. The jump across the creek was the greatest thing at that time. Well, until I learned that I could ski down the hill at my dad’s place and jump off the six foot high wall into the patio. That gave me the courage to hit the jump at Kirby. I don’t remember the girl at the store, but that could be because you are a couple years older than me. 😉 Thanks for the comments. I always enjoy your perspective and great memory.

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