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Blue Mountains Journal: How Immigrants Become Truly Canadian: On the Ski Slopes

“Skiing is a part of Canadian life and culture,” said Rosemary Kanickaraj, 39, an Indian immigrant, upon completing her first ski lessons. “If you plan to stay, you should adapt.”

In recent years, nearly 30 percent of new immigrants have settled in greater Toronto, making Canada’s largest city the top destination for arrivals, according to the 2016 census. Almost half of Toronto’s residents are foreign-born, the highest proportion of any major urban center in Canada.

That makes Blue Mountain a good choice for many to learn the most Canadian-of-hobbies, aided perhaps by the fact that the mountain here is really just a 720-foot-high rocky escarpment and is much gentler on learners, than, say, the 7,160-foot-high peaks of British Columbia’s Whistler or even the 2,871-foot-high slopes of Tremblant, near Montreal.

In a reflection of the region’s dizzying diversity, Blue Mountain employs ski and snowboard instructors who speak 19 languages, among them Dutch, Korean, Polish, Romanian and Greek. Inside the resort’s rental center, Chinese characters were emblazoned on a “ski pickup” sign, and a cacophony of Hindi, Mandarin and English resounded among the jostling crowd.

Xi Feng, 32, a native of China’s temperate Jiangsu Province who moved to Canada in 2015, was seated nearby, tugging furiously on a rented ski boot. Clad in a blinding yellow ski jacket, Ms. Xi looked like a pro, but she had skied only twice before, outside Beijing, the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Source: NYT > World

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