When You Know It’s Time to Take Up Golf – Article on Alison from

When You Know It’s Time To Take Up Golf…

Anything that is out of your comfort zone is considered extreme. So, yes, golf can be an “extreme” sport.

By Laurel House
Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:00

Alison Levine has been lured by arresting mountains and snow capped peaks. Though sheclimbed Mt Kilimanjaro, trekked up Mt. Everest as team captain of the Ford sponsored American Women’s’ Everest Expedition, and cross country skied the arctic circle to the North Pole (her first time on cross country skis)- the “top of the world,” she considers “extreme sports” a relative term. As she says, “For some people it sort of conjures up visions of skiers flying off of huge drop-offs and ledges — doing all kinds of things that ‘regular’ people don’t really do. I feel like many of the things I do are things that anyone with a desire to push themselves a bit could do. It’s just about getting out there and trying something new.”

For Alison, anything that is out of her comfort zone she considers “extreme.” “When I think about extreme sports, golf comes to mind. Really. The thought of spending all day walking around chasing after a little ball and trying to swat it into a little hole seems ‘extreme.’ I don’t think I could ever do it. To me, that is crazy. But I do realize that walking 100 miles across the Arctic Circle (which I just did in April) might sound crazy to other people. But anyone who can withstand the cold could do this trip! You just need to be able to drag a sled and a hefty sense of adventure along with you.”

Mt Kilimanjaro

Alison’s extreme adventures all began in celebration of her new state of good health. Just eighteen months after her second heart surgery to repair a life-threatening condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, she first ventured into the world of extreme sports by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. She borrowed a backpack, gore-tex jacket, fleece jacket, and gore-tex pants (she bought her own hiking boots), went to Africa by herself and hired a guide at the base of Kilimanjaro. “After that, I immediately felt this connection to nature and the outdoors and I began to set my sights on more difficult and more technical peaks. At the time, I had plenty of frequent flyer miles so I knew I could travel to just about anywhere in the world, but I was a graduate student so I had no money. I soon figured out that if I could fit everything I needed into a backpack, I could travel almost anywhere.”

Alison immediately caught the extreme sports itch, burning through her frequent flyer miles and climbing everything she possibly could. Before she knew it, she had climbed the highest peaks on 6 of the 7 continents. “I like to say that I “accidentally” climbed the highest peak on 6 continents, since it just sort of happened without really planning for it,” she confessed. “Though I hate to use any derivation of the word “accident” in the same sentence with climbing.”

Cross Country Ski Across the Arctic Circle

While some of us might take our first steps on cross country skis in a controlled environment, one day at a time, Alison has a tendency to go to extremes. Sponsored by 85 Broads, a woman’s networking organization, Alison decided to cross country ski across the Arctic Circle to reach the geographic North Pole. She admits that she was out of her comfort zone (therefore defining it as extreme in her eyes).
“One of the most challenging parts of skiing to the North Pole was dealing with the ocean currents carrying us in the wrong direction. Since we were crossing the polar ice cap there is no land, only floating ice – so we were traveling across an ice mass that is always drifting. And, unfortunately for us, we were usually drifting in the opposite direction of where we were skiing (go figure). Mentally it was very tough to spend 11 hours moving in one direction, only to wake up the next morning and discover you were further away from your destination than you were when you started out the previous day. But, we finally managed to reach the Pole. It was both exhilarating and exhausting.”

When You Know It’s Time To Take Up Golf

Alison certainly did this most recent trek for herself, but she also did it as a statement for women everywhere. “We wanted to send a message to all of the women out there who are trying to balance work and family and fitness and every other element of life that we often struggle with. There were times when I thought we would not make it. That said, I never gave up on the goal of reaching the North Pole. The whole experience of drifting backward made me think a lot about the paths we choose in life. Sometimes we all must take a few steps backward before we can move forward. And the bottom line is that we keep walking and we keep moving and we keep taking deep breaths – and if we continue to push ourselves and continue to believe we can do great things, we will make it to our desired destinations…” wherever that may be. “People often ask me what I am planning to do when I can no longer climb or do things like ski to the top of the world. I guess that is when I will take up golf.”


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Laurel House is a Fit Living Expert, 3x published author, and believer in living a life of balance. See more of her “Quickie Tips” on her website Her 4th book-“QuickieChick’s Cheat Sheet to Life, Love, Food, Fitness, Fashion and Finance on a Less than Fabulous Budget” (St. Martin’s, May 2012) is available NOW for PRE-ORDER.