Happy Belated New Year to all and if you've already broken your resolutions, just remember, you can't spell "resolve" without "loser".

My family contingent and I had a Calgarific time for the holidays this year with certain parts bordering on Banfftastic.

One of the highlights was Syd's initiation to skiing. She was, shall we say, leery at first complaining, "But Daddy, I'm going to fall!" And I reassured her that yes, she would fall which now that I think about it wasn't all that reassuring but skiing's hard enough without giving the kid an overinflated sense of confidence.

Anyway, the best way to highlight the day would be to describe her last run down the bunny hill after finishing a lesson. She headed down the slope forgetting everything she had just been told (gets it from her dad) and ended up sliding most of the way on her skis and butt screaming all the way down. When she stopped, I saw her chest heaving up and down in a familiar albeit inconclusive manner. When I reached her, she was laughing her head off and looked up and me and said, "That was fanTAStic!" One more convert to the ski cult.

We followed it up with another trip a few days later. The idea for that one actually came the night before when we were watching a show on National Geographic about extreme quests where people attempt to cheat death by hurling themselves out of airplanes, off cliffs, into shark-infested waters, at Anna Nicole Smith, and other "bording on stupid" hazards. Personally, if I want to dance with the devil, I'll submit an income tax form with "please audit me" written across the top in crayon. Much cheaper way to go though admittedly, a lot bloodier.

Anyway, we were watching the show and at some point Syd asked something to the effect of, "Why are these people doing this?" I responded with, "Well, kiddo, some people think the idea of purposely throwing themselves into thin air and falling to their doom is the only way to 'feel alive'. Don't see much sense in it myself. Personally, I think all these people are a might low on the Darwinian scale." She considered this for a second then said, "Can we go skiing again tomorrow?"

So we made our way to Canada Olympic Park and got her a lesson with, and I'm not kidding here, an instructor who wasn't from Australia. I wasn't sure if that was a good omen or a bad one but I didn't totally trust his non-Outback accent. Plus, unlike the last instructor, he didn't even bat an eye when we told him his pupil's name was Sydney.

But our fears were unfounded and as usual, Syd was a star pupil for the entire length of the lesson and as soon it was over, she pointed her skis straight down and the search party we sent after her reported that she was halfway to Cochrane before they finally caught up.

Next up: The Build-A-Bear Conspiracy