I’ve learned early in the game to try not to get caught as a kook.
You might be wondering what a kook is, or if you know me and don’t know surf-lingo, you might already think I am one. The type I’m talking about here is the euphemism in surf culture for those posing as surfers. They can talk the talk, but can’t walk the walk (or in this case - surf).
My love for sport and adventure, and trying new things lends itself to very kooky behaviour. I pore over articles, how-to-guides, websites and books gleaning as much information on my next endeavour as possible, without once trying the sport. If I took it one step further and then broadcasted my new knowledge as if it were first hand, well, that would be a class one kook. Luckily, I have a little secret for you. It is possible to seamlessly jump into new activities (even the ones that take quite a bit of gear, preparation and knowledge) without having you sit on the sidelines for years before slowly learning your new craft. You don’t have to pretend you know anything to enmesh in the culture of your chosen activity.
Hire an expert. It really is that simple.
Let me explain.
My husband lived on and off in Florida as a waterski-bum for a few years and lived a short drive to the ocean. He (a watermen through and through) spent his days off from the lake at the coast learning to surf. Nick was a strong swimmer and a trained athlete in a sport that also had you balancing precariously above the water, yet surfing didn’t click. It was still fun, and he kept at it, but without a whole lot of luck.
A few years later, the two of us decided to wed somewhere we could spend some time surfing. Although Nick was no expert surfer, and I had never tried before, we thought it sounded like a very fun, and practical way to celebrate our marriage. Where he was an expert in the water, and a powerful swimmer, I resembled more of a scrawny salamander wiggling about in the water. Despite this, I’m proud to say the first day we went surfing I was the one popping up gracefully on the board catching wave after wave.
I did this even with my salamander-like moves in the water.
The difference? I got a lesson that very first time on a board.
I learned within an hour how to duck-dive and paddle out without getting beat down (entirely) by waves, proper body position, how to read the wave and the perfect point to pop up on the board. Without an expert’s opinion, I daresay I’d still be out there flapping my skinny arms around these eleven years later.
Here in the Canadian Rockies based out of Canmore, Alberta, Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has been guiding ice climbing, backcountry skiing, hiking, mountaineering, and trekking experiences for more than forty years, hosting thousands of clients making them the go-to place for all your mountain adventures.
Their guides are fully certified with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, and receive staff training and mentorship. This in-house training goes well beyond the technicalities of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides standards and helps them develop the attributes that make them standout as the people you want leading you on your adventure - patient, empathetic coaches that have a great sense of humour. Not only will they meet you where you’re at in your trek, they’ll help you make great gains and will be the first to celebrate your wins with you.
Trying new sports, especially ones that have you scaling giant frozen waterfalls can be a bit unnerving. That slight feel of unease can be the incredible adrenaline rush that has you begging for more though, and not full panic when you know you are in the care of people that have your safety at their utmost concern.
At Yamnuska, they understand that your best day is only going to happen if it’s also a safe day. They keep up to date on the latest research regarding this and have implemented an entire, “culture of safety” that is not only a small part of their service, but integral to every aspect.
Understanding that the enjoyment of these beautiful places is possible only if they remain unscathed by those accessing them, they are also committed to leaving no trace. Guides “act as custodians of our mountain parks and protected areas” as they help you earn your turns with self propelled mountain experiences. They are committed to not only aiding people in enjoying the mountains today, but for generations to come.
As much fun as it is being a kook, reading the books and talking the talk, maybe next time go ahead and give these guys a call. I know I will.
You can learn more for yourself at https://yamnuska.com/