So, the first week was a bit of a blur but let me tell you what I remember.
We began at Heathrow airport, thankfully everyone made it given the local snow conditions… it would have been slightly ironic to miss a skiing trip due to too much snow! Emotions were excited, with a small sense of uncertainty: What would everyone be like? What would the lodge be like? Would the ski hill live up to expectations which had been built sky high? All questions were answered pretty quickly! There’s nothing like a long flight and bus transfer to see how everyone gets on in a jet-lagged state, all the nonstoppers were very friendly, and our hosts did a great job of welcoming us at the airport. On arrival at the lodge the first thing that stuck out was how big and modern the rooms are. We checked in, did a bit of unpacking and headed down to the bar for a few beers. All the talk was about the next day when we would be given a tour of the mountain to get used to the layout, and the usual skier vs snowboarder chat.
The ski tour was awesome. We had some perfect sunny weather which made for great photo taking opportunities, and the quality of the snow left almost everything I’d seen in Europe to shame! You can ski pretty much everywhere here, and some runs are through the trees making for some exciting times for fresh ski legs!
That night the lodge put on a 7 course welcome dinner for us where we got to meet our instructors. I was introduced to Johno who would later entertain us with a seemingly endless stream of catchphrases to help reinforce his points! Just a few of the gems we can remember… “Behind every good pole plant there’s a good looking turn”, “It’s a dance, not a stance”, “Double the edges, double the fun”, “Ride fast, ski fast, live slow”, “The day I need a mobile phone is the day I need to reevaluate my life”, “Feel the rhythm, feel the ride, it’s snowplough demonstration time!”, “Icebreaker… hmm, Merino wool, that’s good stuff… Those sheep know what they’re doing”.
As the lodge doesn’t provide dinners for us every night we get the chance to explore town and what else is on offer. First stop was the local pub, imaginatively called “The Pub” (wonder if the owners really like the Ronseal adverts?). Fortunately the inside is a bit more exciting than the name and we found some good food with different drinks promotions on different nights. They also put on a pub quiz so we entered and decided to put our score down to jet lag!
New Years Eve came around quickly, twice! Given we’re 7 hours behind here we were able to celebrate New Year on UK time at the ski hill in one of the bars there before getting on the NONSTOP bus back to the lodge to change in to fancy dress costumes for the party that night.
Again, we were served a huge meal rounded off at midnight with Champagne! A lot of dancing was done to the live band and DJ, the only decision being how much drinking to do given it was dumping powder outside so the next day was going to have some awesome skiing potential. The night went in a bit of a happy blur, but a few of us did make it on to the mountain the next day to experience some great knee deep powder on almost empty slopes. Of course there were many stories recounted on the chairlifts, but as the saying goes ‘what happens in vegas/fernie stays in vegas/fernie’
At the end of the week the local Ice Hockey team, the Fernie Ghostriders were playing so we all went along to watch them on the promise that hockey is made interesting by the fights that break out. As the photo shows, we weren’t disappointed when it took all three referees to break one up!
All in all it’s been a great week and I can’t wait for it to continue. The only problem will be knowing it has to end at some point, although with a day of Cat Skiing on untouched parts of the mountain to look forward to at the end it won’t be too bad going out with a bang!
If you want to bring in 2014 with some serious POW then check out our Ski Improvement Courses.