Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympic Dreams

Molly Smith wanted to be an Olympic downhill skier. She was raised in the mountains, close to some of the best skiing in the world. Her parents owned an adventure vacation store and guide business: she grew up skiing, hiking, kayaking, and worked as wilderness guide.  

… growing up in the house at the edge of the bush, her first memories of coming to work with her mom, playing with ski equipment and hiking gear as other children played with toy trucks or Lego. Her dad teaching her and her brother to be guides, exploring the remote mountains and hidden valleys at his side.”

Molly was a good skier, very good, but not good enough to make the Olympics. So she quit competition.
But she still loves to ski, calls it the best thing in the world, and hits the slopes at Blue Sky, near the town of Trafalgar, every chance she gets.

“This, racing with Tony, reminded her of when she’d competed. Pushing herself, testing the limits of her mind and body. She’d quit competition when she’d realized she was never going to be good enough to make the Olympics or even a national or provincial team. Maybe, she thought now, gasping to recover her breath, laughing at the snow on Tony’s face, she shouldn’t have been so quick to give it up.”

A lot of the action in Winter of Secrets, the third book in the series, and next year’s A Cold White Sun take place on the slopes.

Me, I don’t ski. I’ve never been too fond of heights and the idea of steaming downhill at full speed has never really appealed.  Sort of like Sergeant John Winters of the Trafalgar City Police who thinks, “Personally, he didn’t see the attraction. Plunging down the side of a mountain at the speed of a freight train and getting freezing cold to boot? No thanks.”

I absolutely love watching it though. I can never get over how fast they go, and how easy they make it look.  Downhill skiing is my favourite of all the Olympic sports.

I wrote Winterof Secrets over the winter I spent in Nelson, B.C. I went to Whitewater, the ski resort there, several times to soak up the atmosphere, check it all out, watch what everyone was doing.   They all seemed to be having fun.

But when it came time to write the scenes where people are actually skiing I was sort of at a loss. So here I am, the Canadian, needing help with the skiing scenes.  I called on two friends –one in Hawaii, and one in Sante Fe.

How’s that for Olympic sized irony?


Meredith Cole said...

Everyone keeps telling me I should try cross-country skiing, because downhill skiing is a little fast for me as well, Vicki! But most of the time we don't get enough snow in Virginia to make either an option...

Vicki Delany said...

I've done a lot of cross-county, Meredith, and really enjoy it. But you do need the snow.