Ever feel like most of your time is spent in and out of your vehicle? Packing, unpacking, traveling to a new location, offering to be the driver for the crew; hustling, sweating, catching up on phone calls/emails/texts and ultimately trying to make the most of what rarely seems like enough hours in a day? Yea, me too. Thankfully, I have proof that with the right wheels; no matter where your path takes you, the journey really can be the best part.
If you’ve been following me since I hung up my Skeleton spikes and retired from Team Canada, you know that this decision has yet to slow me down. Perhaps you’ve seen that I have been moving, coaching, learning, exploring and getting uncomfortably comfortable in all kinds of new roles. And if not, that’s okay too. I’m always more than happy to share the behind the scenes details of my endless adventures.
Most recently, I got the opportunity to explore the streets of the prairie city I've called “home” for almost ten years - Calgary, Alberta - from a brand new angle.
When I opened my email to discover that Ford was interested in hearing my thoughts on the newest member of their fleet, the 2018 EcoSport, I wasted no time in saying, “Yes!”
(aside: from 2013-2017 I was thankful to have a partnership with Kelleher Ford in Brandon, MB - and am forever grateful for their tremendous support throughout my athletic career, and beyond).
Picking up the car, however, on the day Calgary found itself in the middle of a record-breaking snowstorm, meant I would start this test-drive with both hands on the wheel ... very firmly!
All-Wheel Drive = Non-Negotiable
If you are from Canada, you have likely seen snow; If you have lived in Calgary, you have definitely experienced snow.
On October 2, 2018, some areas of Calgary saw as much as 40 centimeters of snow in just 24 hours. The Calgary City Police reported 267 accidents from October 1st through the 2nd. I was, thankfully, not involved in any of them - and was actually extremely surprised at how my EcoSport maneuvered and plowed through the snow-drifted intersection and rutted side streets like a champ.
Admittedly, I had my doubts when I first saw the size of the SUV, but this car earned its accolades; it is indeed “small but mighty.” I got everywhere I needed to get, and arrived safely (bonus, I always had a warm bum & hands, thanks to heated seats + steering wheel).
*ring-ring* “Hello?” “Hey, it’s the Mountains!”
Despite “snow-mageddon” causing delays and loads of road closures, the sun shone brightly the following days, and the world came back out to play. I took this opportunity to test the EcoSport’s highway driving and headed out to my favourite mountain-town: Canmore, AB. Using Ford’s built-in Sync handsfree system I called my friend, Lyndsay Kearns. Plans were made and the day was set.
I picked up, we packed up (doggo, included - yes there was lots of room for Winston the Retriever ) and away we went.
We chose Montane Traverse as our destination and parked in a parking lot on Cougar Creek to get the best access to the trailhead.
Here are a few images from our hike:
It’s pretty easy to lose track of time when breathtaking beauty is all around, and while I wish I could tell you exactly how long we hiked, by the time we popped out the other side, all we knew was that it was time to eat.
Punch In; Punch Out.
Back in Calgary, I had a few items on my to-do list: groceries, eye-appointment, meetings, and some emailing to complete. Whether my hands were full of bags, coffee or my phone, the keyless entry was a welcomed feature every single time I went to get back into the car. Once I crossed off all the items du jour, I felt like blowing off some steam. One of my favourite ways to do this is with: kickboxing!
Just over a year ago, I was lucky enough to begin training with one of Calgary’s most well-known and loved coaches/change-makers/motivators: Philip Ndugga. He brought me into the world of Muay Thai style kickboxing and it was love at first punch.
I took a look at his Repsol Sport Centre class schedule, asked a friend if he wanted to join me, and signed us both up for the next available slot. The EcoSport transported me, Alex Kopacz and all our gear, while we rocked out to some of our fave tunes through the 10-speaker sound system. When we arrived, we were pumped up and prepared to rock ... or get beat up. ... Ready or not, we walked in.
It was a fantastic class (as always). Philip worked us through calm, thoughtful moves, aggressive angles and included countless corrections (which is the only real way to improve). At the final bow, my heart full and our bodies exhausted.
PS: I know for a fact, Alex was thankful for the extra legroom - it made those sore muscles on his 6'4" frame a little less painful while we traveled through downtown to get him home.
Did you say sunroof or snow-roof?
Less than 12 hours remained on my joy ride, and while I’m used to moving at top speeds - I know it’s also important, to slooow dowwn.
There’s a spot in Calgary, that many of the locals know of, and most visitors will have at least seen in photos. Atop a wooden set of stairs (some people even choose to run them), you will find one of the best views in YYC. On a clear day, you can literally see the entire cityscape and the rocky mountains; all in the same panoramic view.
Meandering to this destination and loving the sun on my face, I took a moment to open the sunroof. It automatically slid back to full open position. As the cool air flowed in, I smiled. I approached the top of the lookout and slowed down at a stop sign. At this moment, I had not been thinking about that I'd parked under a tree the night before… but, as I stopped and the momentum in the car went forward, so did all the wet, heavy snow that had accumulated on the roof. Sadly, with the sunroof wide open, all that snow ended up right on top of me!
“Hahaha,” I burst out laughing and still can’t believe no one was around to bear witness to this truly Canadian moment.
Pulling over to safety, with snow all down my back, I brushed the rest of the snow out of the car. Then, I took a deep breath and proceeded to make time just for ME at this not-so-secret spot:
Overall, my week with the EcoSport was exactly what my lifestyle required and much more than I actually expected. While our worlds are ever evolving, ever-growing and always demanding more - it’s nice to know that big things DO still come in small packages.
Thanks for helping me #GoFurther, Ford EcoSport; I look forward to our next trip.
OK, but tell me more about this car!
I was in a 2018 Ford EcoSpot (colour: Canyon Ridge) Titanium edition from Universal Ford Lincoln in Calgary, AB.
This model included all the SE features
- Power Moonroof with Sunshade
- SYNC ® 3
- Reverse Sensing System
- 16-inch Shadow Silver-Painted Aluminum Wheels Details
- B&O PLAY™ Premium Audio System by HARMAN
- Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System
- Leather-Trimmed Seats with Perforation
- 17-inch Premium Dark Stainless-Painted Machined Aluminum Wheels Details
Average Fuel Economy: L/100KM 8.6 (city) 8.1 (Hwy)
Base model starting at: $22,099
Learn MORE about the FordEco Sport: HERE
Want more still?
Book yourself a test drive at your local FORD dealer