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Gear manufacturers have realised that lots of women like the outdoors and they're different shapes from men. Here's what's out there, and where you can buy it.

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Listed here are some links to resources from all over the world that cater to women who love surfing.

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Women can (and have) achieved incredible things in climbing. Listed in this section are a collection of climbing and moutaineering resources that are useful and inspiring for all climbers.

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Cross Country Skiing With Champions in Canmore

Canmore Nordic CentreIn 1988, Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics.  I was only 7 years old but I remember it well because my uncle Dave gave my brother and I a teddy bear each - the mascots from the Calgary Games.  Mine was the girl and she was called Heidi, and my brother’s was the boy and he was called Howdy.  Heidi came with me everywhere I went and there’s a picture of me holding her at the 1988 Tall Ships Race in Hobart, and it’s for these reasons that I will always remember that the 1988 Winter Olympics were held in Calgary.


Calgary, being flat and basically a big prairie, had to build a fair bit of infrastructure to cater for all the ski jumping and luge and so on.  Some of this went in at Olympic Park, just north of Calgary, where you can drive by and visit the ski jumps, luge and bobsled tracks and the snowboard/ski bowl.  They built the cross country skiing course in Canmore, which is about 130km from Calgary, and to my great delight the centre was still open for the season when we were passing through.  Better still, it was only $20 to hire gear for 24 hours, and because it was late in the season the course fees were waived.  They light some of the trails so you can ski until 9pm if you want, and you can go out at whatever time of the morning you wish.


For Dave and I this was great news.  At 9am on the dot we were standing outside the ski rental place waiting for it to open, and by 9.20am we had our skis.  They weren’t due back for 24 hours!  This meant we could ski all day long, until the lights went out at 9pm (or even longer if we had our head lamps), then we could get up first thing the next morning and ski until 9.19am when the skis had to be returned.  Fantastic news!  Filled with enthusiasm and energy, we hit the trails.


Canmore Nordic Centre 3
They say that the fittest athletes around are the cross country skiers.  You can expect to hit your peak in the sport at around 35 years old, after you’ve been training and working on your endurance for the past 20 years.  After a long race, athletes can be foaming at the mouth thanks to all the exertion.  There are two types of skiing - Classic, which is where the skis stay in line, and Skate where you slide outwards on your skis one after another making a herringbone type pattern in the snow.  We had Classic skis which meant we stuck to the slot car type tracks that were groomed into the snow; Skate skiers would whizz past on the flat section of the groomed track.  Skate skiing was the most popular in Canmore in the icy conditions (and it’s also a bit faster) but you need a bit less skill to do Classic and I think the girl in the rental shop heard our Aussie accents (and probably our plans for the day) and gave us the Classic ski package.  This was cool with us.


Today the Canmore Nordic Centre (which is also a Provincial Park) trains up a lot of top class athletes, either in Cross Country Skiing or Biathlon (which involves skiing around a course and stopping periodically to shoot at targets).  There were a lot of fit looking people out there skiing around the course in fancy skin tight suits - sometimes we would get a glimpse of them skiing the difficult black tracks from our lightly undulating easy green tracks.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many tall, lean, super-fit looking people in my life.


Map reading at Canmore NC
So back to Dave and I, setting out for our day of skiing.  The Canmore Nordic Centre has a huge network of trails including lots of beginner ones so off we went.  We skied and skied and skied.  The snow was not really perfect because it was a bit icy, but this was fine for us, it just meant that it was a little harder work going up the hills.  We went out as far as we could go on the trails, then added in a big loop to get back to the centre for our lunch.  After a quick bite to eat, off we went again - a different loop this time, all the way back out to the end of the park then back over a big hill. 

We skied and skied and skied, but when we found ourselves back at the centre after what felt like a big day’s skiing, it was only 3.00 in the afternoon.  Exhausted, we looked at each other - perhaps we were a little enthusiastic about our plans when we created them that morning.  What else was there to do but go back into beautiful Canmore, eat a lot of food and drink some more beer?  Definitely the best way to rest up for an early morning ski the next day!  What a tough life we’re leading at the moment - unemployed, homeless and having a ball!

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