Snowsports Saved My Life

When I was just three years old, my father took me up to the top of the Lake Louise Ski Resort. I can still remember that moment even now, seventeen seasons later. That was the moment my life truly began. I did not have the easiest upbringing, to say the least. I suffered from extreme bullying, emotional abuse, and verbal abuse consistently and for roughly a decade. This resulted in the development of several disorders, including severe anxiety, OCD, depression, and more. But all of that went away the second I strapped on a pair of skis; it was like there was nothing else in the world.
Thus, skiing was my saving grace and escape for the vast majority of my childhood and youth. It provided me with confidence, problem solving abilities, and amazing friends who finally understood me. I felt accepted, loved, and accomplished whenever I was skiing- which was a feeling I found nowhere else. Through skiing, I was able to develop the skills and the confidence to better handle myself and these disorders in daily life. I honestly don't know where I would be, if not for this community.
Ten years after I strapped on my first pair of skis, I became an Apprentice Ski Instructor at just thirteen years old. Graduating to a fully independent Instructor as I turned fourteen. This opened up a whole new world to me. Not only was skiing my joy & escape, but it was also now my very first form of revenue. I found myself looking forward to work every day and getting to share my passion and knowledge of the sport with others, when previously I had assumed I would be forced into years of stressful and strenuous University just to be rewarded with a monotonous 9-5 job.
That was not a future that motivated or inspired me, but a future skiing? Sign me up! Skiing gave me the motivation to keep going, even in the times I didn't want to. Through this job I met lifelong friends I still speak to today, and the career I began at just thirteen years of age became my career path forever.
Through sharing my passion with others, my hard work became recognized and at just eighteen years of age I ran a Snow School. This Snow School meant the absolute world to me, and although I am sadly no longer a part of it, it still does. I joined that Snow School when I was at a very dark period in my life, fresh out of an extremely emotionally abusive relationship. The friends I made during this time saved me and allowed me the safe space to supportively heal. Each and every single person at that job site absolutely LOVED their job, and it was infectious. People loved coming to work, and so did I.
Our guests were equally as passionate about the hill, and it was such a vibrant little community which included both patrons and staff members. The community at this small hill was absolutely astounding, just to see how many people a simple sport could bring together. These people became my best friends, and they still are. I will forever be grateful to them, and to the amazing Snowsports community for the lifelong support it has provided me. It's aided me in all aspects of my life. Genuinely almost everything I have can be accredited to this community. It has provided me with mental health support, a means to financially support myself, lifelong connections, and it keeps me healthy + fit. What more could I ask for?
The Snowsports community has provided me with many different sources of income and made many career avenues available to me that typically would not be made possible for someone of my young age of twenty years old. So for any of you out there who don't believe you can get paid for your passion- I urge you to take me as an example and pursue what fills your heart with joy.
As they say, you never work a day in your life if you love what you're doing, and I absolutely do! I aspire each day to give back to this vibrant community of amazing individuals, and I would love it if you joined us. New to Snowsports? No problem! There's no judgement here, only positive vibes and good days. So with that being said, if you see me at any events in the future feel free to come up to me and ask some questions- or come ride with me! Looking forward to meeting more of you amazing humans in the years to come. Keep Rockin'!
 - Maranda Minogue, Ski Instructor, Freeride Athlete.

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