I love to ski. To me, there’s no greater thrill than flying down a mountain at high speeds, weaving in and out of the trees, dipping and diving as your heart rate picks up while you forget about the temperature, speed, wind, and the potential danger that surrounds you.

My wife, however, hates to ski. To her, there’s no greater terror than flying down a mountain at high speeds, trying not to collide with a tree because how they heck do you turn in these things, dropping and falling so your panicked heart rate can somehow slow down, never forgetting the temperature, speed, wind, and how psychotic it is that people choose to barrel down a mountain on a couple of…sticks.

If you’re anything like my wife, the idea of a ski trip with your family or friends is sure to induce more panic than excitement. But luckily for you, I brought my terrified partner on a trip to Asessippi last month to see if a ski trip can actually be fun for someone who doesn’t think skiing is fun.

The experiment worked. So here are 5 things to do at Asessippi if you’re terrified of skiing - certified by my previously fearful wife who said she actually had an “amazing weekend” and “would definitely go again.”

Try lessons

This is not going to be popular advice for those of you who are scared of the slopes. I hold no judgement towards anyone who is anxious about skiing, but like a lot of things in life I think it’s important to find out for yourself if the monster inside your closet is actually a monster, or if it’s just a stuffed animal. 

Lessons are the perfect way to do just that that. I’ve been skiing for years, but I have no idea how to teach it. There’s nothing worse than starting your first run with me yelling “turn” and “pizza” and “snow plow” at my poor wife as she loses more and more control. And my lack of understanding and patience is not going to help curb a fear that’s been eating at her for the whole 4-hour drive to the resort. So we didn’t do that. Instead, we took advantage of the excellent ski and snowboard lessons Asessippi offers to help give you a base knowledge and answer any questions to set you up for success once your chair lift reaches the top of the hill.

Sebastian, our instructor, was patient, kind, funny, and very informative. After a couple trips down the bunny hill, and some guided and strategic routes down the big slopes, our whole group of beginners were ready and prepared to take on a full day of skiing. A couple folks in our group even tried a small jump at the end…which was TOTALLY OPTIONAL (sorry…mentioning ski jumps probably isn’t going to help anyone get over any fear - let’s move on).

Go tubing

Lessons are great, and starting off on the right foot will give you a much better chance to succeed on the slopes, physically and mentally. But skiing is definitely not for everyone. If you’re not down to ski, and you’re still looking for some controlled chaos in your life, then you’ve got to try out the tubing course at Asessippi. 

Grab a tube, hop on the magic carpet to the top of the hill, and fly down one of their four tube runs to see if you can make it down before your friends. Sometimes you’re spinning, sometimes you’re backwards, but it’s always fast, fun, and requires absolutely no skill or experience. 

Snow shoe where skis can’t take you

Hot take: Snowshoeing is the most underrated winter activity we have. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and you can go anywhere - the world is your playground. Not only is Asessippi a cool ski hill, but it’s also a beautiful provincial park with lovely views, peaceful creeks and valleys, and plenty of picturesque spots to post up for your Instagram. A lot of these spots aren’t accessible on skis, so I highly recommend renting some snowshoes at the pro shop, and heading down one of the many snowshoe trails available at Asessippi. 

As an added bonus, snowshoeing is an amazing workout despite requiring very little skill at all. When you’re done, you will have totally earned the right to take advantage of the fantastic food and drink offered at the resort. Which leads us to our next activity:

Read and relax

One of the best parts about enjoying winter activities is the peaceful comfort you get from cozying up to a fire with some food, a drink and a good book once you’re done. As your friends are flying down the hill, there are plenty of places to sit back, relax, and enjoy the indoors at Asessippi’s renovated resort. 

My wife’s favourite spot was the Powder Keg Pub, which had a seemingly endless menu ranging from pub favourites to stir fry dishes to pastas and classic entrees, along with a drink menu featuring one of my favourite local beers, Farmery, on tap. Grab a spot by the window, and see if you can see anyone you recognize ripping down Easy Street as you enjoy what was one of my favourite chicken fingers and fries baskets I had in 2018 (and honestly, I've had a LOT...I may or may not have the palate of an eight-year-old) 

Strap on some sled dogs

I’ll admit, if flying down a hill at high speeds isn’t your thing, then trying on some sled dogs probably won’t be your thing either…UNLESS, you are a good ice skater. If that’s the case, I strongly recommend trying out one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in sled-dogging. 

Sled dogs are basically a pair of ski boots that you can skate down a mountain with. If you can skate, you can sled dog, and as an experienced skater it was basically plug-and-play to get going on these things. You can turn, hockey-stop, cross-over, and do basically anything you can do on skates, but with the added thrill of doing it all downhill. Personally, I think these are significantly less terrifying than skis. You don’t have to worry about crossed skis or not knowing how to stand up or slow down. If you fall, you’re not going to twist your leg because you’ve got a 5-foot stick on your foot - you just stand right back up, and keep going. 

I never knew these existed, but I tried them, and they were one of the highlights of my weekend. You can buy them at the Asessippi gift shop, or rent them for the day at the rental shop downstairs. 

The verdict

Overall, if you like getting out of the house, enjoying winter, and hanging out with your friends and family, Asessippi really is for everybody. 

I never thought I’d see my wife wearing skis at the top of a hill like this, but she did it, and I’m proud of her. She’s still scared of skiing, but it “wasn’t as bad as she thought,” and there were times where “skiing was kind of fun.” With everything else there is to do at Asessippi, we’ll definitely be back - even if this is the last picture you’ll ever see of her on the top of a ski hill.