As a child, my family often spent a long weekend at a ski resort a few hours away from my hometown. It was a yearly tradition, but if I’m completely honest, I never really enjoyed it. There were all types of outdoor activities other than skiing, but I didn’t take advantage of them because I don’t like the cold.
There was snowboarding, snow tubing, and cross-country skiing. And, of course, there was ice skating. Out of all of the winter sports, this may be the one that gave me the most trouble. While others glided around the smooth ice, racing and doing elegant turns, I clung to the edge of the rink. Every few minutes I ended up sitting on the hard ice. My lack of skating talent was definitely funny, but I would have preferred to spend winter vacations inside with a book.
The woman in this video looks like she is completely at home outside in the winter snow. Three-time bronze medalist and Olympic alternate Elizabeth Putnam may have spent much of her life practicing and competing on the world’s best rinks, but she’s most comfortable skating on a frozen lake in the middle of the wilderness.
The stark, stunning beauty of the mountains of British Columbia is the perfect backdrop for her exceptional skating talent. The ice of the frozen lake is not perfectly groomed, and the outdoor temperature is not carefully maintained, but Elizabeth skates as if she is competing for a gold medal — perhaps even better. Without the pressure of competition, she can embrace the grace and emotion that accompanies her skating.
This particular frozen lake is at an elevation of 2,500 feet and can only be reached by helicopter. Pilot Bradley Friesen not only delivers her, but it is from his helicopter that this uniquely stunning video is captured.