Category Archives: Sport

A hike in the atlas mountains is both challenging and rewarding

Challenging

I secretly described my first day of hiking in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco as the “death march.” Unacclimatized for a starting altitude of 8,500 feet at Oukaimeden, Morocco’s only ski resort, but with the ski lift nonfunctioning, we climbed another 1,100 feet to the pass called Tizi n’Edal, near the highest peak in the Atlas: the Toubkal Mountain region. There followed a descent of nearly 3,000 feet on the worst scree my weary hiking feet have ever encountered. But no matter, I have good, strong knees, about the only competent part of my ancient anatomy, and there at the bottom was a lovely, lush green meadow. Foolishly jubilant, I thought it would surely be our campsite. Wrong. Another two miles of traverse followed, then a final 300-foot climb to a “picturesque” site dotted with our tents. That last 300 feet felt like climbing Mount Everest.

Moroccans call mountain passes tizi. With my somewhat jaundiced outlook on that particular day, I thought the word must be misspelled, that in fact, you would get into a dizzy tizzy when you passed through them. Continue reading A hike in the atlas mountains is both challenging and rewarding

Mountain mania: ski hills give way to a new breed on the boards

Snow Boarding

The sport of freestyle snowboarding is becoming increasingly popular among young people, but some older skiers resent the snowboarders because of the potential for accidents. Some ski resorts welcome the snowboarders, while other resorts ban the snowboarders.

His yellow-and-black snowboard makes scraping, scratching noises over the tightly packed snow as 13-year-old Jay Magis manoeuvres into position atop Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park. Clad in baggy Gore-Tex pants, a padded purplish jacket and a woollen tuque, Magis noses down into the ski slope’s “half-pipe,” a 100-m-long, groomed snow run that looks like a wide bobsled track. With both his boots strapped onto his board, he surfs across the flatter mid-section of the pipe, gathering speed as he heads up the curve, flying over the edge, turning in midair and gliding back down. This is freestyle snowboarding – a fresh Continue reading Mountain mania: ski hills give way to a new breed on the boards