Sledding my woes away on the mountain

How I discovered that snow days are good for the soul.

If you know me personally, you’d know I’m not an outdoor girlie. My dad, on the other hand, is the king of the outdoors. Whenever he wants to go for a walk, I always pass. Little did I know, fresh wintery air would do me good—both physically and mentally.

The last couple of months haven’t been the best. I’ve never been one to complain about every single detail in my life, but when things pile up, my anxiety shoots straight through the roof. 

Once 2024 hit, I was excited to start the year off fresh. I was prepared to leave behind all the dark thoughts related to my surgery in 2023. But one week into 2024, my car decided to give me a nice little welcome gift: the “check engine” light. Not only that, but my brakes were squeaking like mad. 

When my boyfriend and I dropped off Jukey (my beloved Nissan) at the mechanic, I was praying that this wasn’t going to cost me more than $500. I was shaking like a leaf as we drove off. 

The following day, the mechanic dropped a big one on me—the whole job would cost me $1,700. My heart fell out of my chest and anger bubbled inside of me. I told the mechanic to go through with the job. I couldn’t afford it, but I had no other choice.

In these scenarios, my anxiety jumps to the worst situations. I started thinking that I wouldn’t be able to save towards my goals for the year. I wouldn’t be moving along how I’d planned. I had a bit of a breakdown.

Luckily, my boyfriend was there to help me get through this time. My anxiety still loomed over my head but at least I had something positive to look forward to: snow tubing with my friends and boyfriend.

I think a bit of fresh air was just what I needed. According to the Ontario Parks website, we should be aiming to move our bodies 20 to 30 minutes per day outdoors during the winter time. By doing so, we’d immediately feel calmer mentally and our blood pressure would go down.

The day of the activity, I was looking forward to a change in scenery and getting some fresh air. We opted to get the full experience package at the mountain near Saint-Sauveur that included an option to bobsled.

Bobsledding for the first time was the most exhilarating thing that I’ve done in a while. I felt like I was in the Olympics, and I’d never felt such an adrenaline rush. I opted for my boyfriend to be the one to push the sled and jump in as we went down. Knowing me, my clumsy self would probably fall to the side or hurt myself.

Going down the mountain at lightning speed, I was so focused on the feeling of being so happy with wintery air gliding against my face. For the couple of hours that we spent at the mountain, I wasn’t focused on my anxiety. I only had positive thoughts and a really good time. I screamed it out, laughed it out, and most importantly, made memories that I’ll cherish for a long time.

If I can recommend anything to anyone going through a tough time right now, this is it. Get outside and get some air—it’ll feed your mind and soul.


Three unique VR activities to try out over the weekend in Montreal

Bring a few friends and venture into a realistic sci-fi adventure or get a “bird’s eye view” of a new and innovative flight simulator experience.

When you think of Montreal and its surrounding regions, a booming virtual reality (VR) scene is likely not what comes to mind. Despite this, it may be surprising to discover that Montreal has some of the most established VR experiences in all of Canada, and a slew of unique activities for those who seek them out. 

Join The Concordian in trying out three VR activities spread out around the downtown area.

  1. Réalité Virtuelle Zero Latency Montréal

Zero Latency Montreal is definitely a top contender for being one of the most innovative, advanced and unique VR experiences in Montreal. 

With experienced game masters guiding you through every portion of the game and a multitude of different free-roam experiences to choose from (a facet of VR in which you are given an entire room, with friends, to fully immerse yourself in the VR world with the aid of a VR headset and, at times, VR weaponry), it is no surprise that Forbes’ review of the place included the following quote: “This surreal multiplayer experience is the world’s most advanced free-roam virtual reality game.”

The Concordian was able to try their Singularity free-roam game and the complete immersiveness of the experience was mind-blowing; it’s definitely one of the most advanced VR experiences out there.

To try it yourself, head to their website and book a slot for one of the free-roam games ($44.99/ player for a half an hour session).

  1. MontVR 

MontVR offers a lot of versatility with their VR experiences. While each location includes a different array of experiences, combined there are over six unique activities to choose from. 

With everything from free-roam, to VR escape rooms, VR gaming stations, minigolf, axe throwing and even a mock flight simulator at their DIX30 location.

The VR gaming stations and the flight simulator (Birdly) in particular are both high-quality experiences. 

The staff are also extremely kind and accommodating, and with so much to choose from, there was not a single boring moment. 

Book your own experience here

  1. PHI Centre 

With a variety of ever-rotating interdisciplinary experiences to choose from year-round, PHI Centre acts almost as a futuristic version of what we would currently call an art museum. 

With both free and paid installations to choose from, ranging from tableaus to live music performances and conferences, the PHI Centre seems to have it all. One of their most captivating installations is Horizons

A VR experience that transcends the genre, Horizons is a collection of four award-winning works put together to form an intense and immersive journey. 
If you’d like to experience Horizons firsthand before it closes on Oct. 24, book here.


How Concordia students are staying active during pandemic

Students share their ways to stay mentally and physically healthy

With very limited sports and activities currently allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions, people must be motivated and creative in order to stay active.

A survey conducted by The Concordian on eight Concordia University students allowed us to know more about how students are staying active in red zones, where gyms remain closed and most organized sports have halted. While it hasn’t been a big problem for some, the pandemic has asked many students to find alternative ways to stay active from home.

“I live beside a stadium, so I run and walk every day or so depending on the weather,” said Elizabeth Spinozzi. “I have a yoga mat, two 10-pound dumbbells and a band, and [I] do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and high-rep workouts with that in my living room five to six times a week.”

Some students said it’s important for them to keep the same routine as the one they had pre-COVID-19.

“I try to recreate from home what I would normally do at the gym,” said Bryanna Frankel. “I need to work [out] because it clears my mind and makes me feel good.”

Other students, however, said that home workouts aren’t favoured. Diona Macalinga said she doesn’t like indoor workouts during the pandemic because she’s still be stuck inside when doing so.

“At least going out for a walk definitely helps with getting out of the house,” Macalinga said. “I’m really trying to get out. It’s a mix of wanting to see actual people and getting fresh air. Even something as trivial as a ‘Hi! How are you?’ makes you feel better.”

Sandrine Ouellet said she’s giving herself breaks in order to stay active physically and mentally throughout the day.

“I give myself 30-minute yoga breaks and take a walk every day,” Ouellet said. “I also try to meditate because the mental and physical form come together. There are many great workout and meditation videos [available online], so we equip ourselves as best as we can.”

The pandemic has also made some students try new activities. Ouellet, who was a high performance gymnast for 12 years, said that trying new sports helps her to develop new skills and know herself better.

“I bought myself a tennis racket with my best friend,” Ouellet said. “We went playing once and I absolutely loved it, even though I’m not super good. It’s cool to do things that are a bit out of your comfort zone.”

A few students also said they were biking daily, or at least often during the week. Chahinez Dib said she didn’t used to bike very often, but was doing so at least five times a week during the summer.

For Gabrielle Dumont, who was training at the PERFORM Centre at Concordia before gym closures, going out for walks and riding her bike have been her main activities during the pandemic. She said she doesn’t want to be close to strangers or borrow things that aren’t hers.

“I try not to borrow other people’s stuff because I don’t want to get COVID-19,” Dumont said. “I stayed with sports I had the equipment [for], which are my bike and my legs.”

All students are experiencing the pandemic differently, and not everyone has the chance, or even desire, to workout at home the same way they would in a gym. The students surveyed suggested different tips for their fellow students in order to help both mental and physical health.

“Find some good podcasts,” Caroline Marsh said. “It can feel kind of lonely during the pandemic, and podcasts can make you feel like you’re part of a conversation. They’re really good for walks.”

Dib said the most important thing at the end is yourself.

“It’s important to go out, instead of staying home all the time and focus[ing] on our assignments, although it’s important,” Dib said. “Since we’re not able to leave the house as much as we used to, it’s necessary to go out for walks or runs.”

Liam Hennessy said that having a routine is essential. He compared the situation with when he was unemployed, saying he would miss meals, sleep at strange hours and always feel drained.

“Waking up early, killing a list of chores and making sure to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day [is important],” Hennessy said. “It really made the difference in how I feel during lockdown.”

Also discussing socialization, routines and a good diet, Ouellet said a suggestion she would give to other students is to take the necessary time for yourself.

“At the end, we’ll be more productive, with our homework and all, if we take time to move,” Ouellet said. “Sometimes, just to take 10 minutes to get our work and stuff out of our mind[s] helps [us do] better work after.”


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion

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