Here’s an update from Sarah and Alex in week 9 of our Banff instructor course…
With only 2 weeks to go before Level 2 pressure was on to perfect our teaching and skiing technique and Mike, Charlie and Annie were definitely on the case. Leaving the meeting point at precisely 10:00 (leaving almost half the skiers behind who caught the late bus – naughty!) we warmed up and headed up to the top of Lake Louise to focus on our turning. Later, in the afternoon, we were really excited to find ourselves on the bunny hill showing off our amazing fast track to parallel lessons – apparently we still have some way to go! That glorious moment of taking off my boots at the end of the day was sadly marred by the reoccorance of a cheeky bit of frost nip – apparently the classic “my toes are cold” expression was actually true! But this still wasnt enough to ruin another bluebird day on the slopes.
Back to Norquay for our weekly pit-stop, mostly highlighted by the best cookies Canada has to offer as well as some of the steepest terrain for us to shred! Sadly, after 2 weeks of ripping it up with the Nonstoppers Annie had to leave us and return to her day job leaving our group in the more than capable hands of Franz, our resident frenchie! Whilst Mike and Charlie drilled into the others the importance of the perfect snow plough (over and over), Franz decided to switch it up and ripped up Norquay’s moguls fields, leaving the other groups a tad jealous and his groups legs a little worse for wear! Another highlight of the day came when Dave and Rob decided to play matchmakers and set us up with a few of the local liftie boys, revealing our supposed ’hidden desire’ for them and their suggestions that they add us on Facebook defintley made for some interesting lift line banter! Frost nip reared its ugly head again but despite the chilly day we all shredded it up for the afternoon, making the most of Norquay’s groomers to get in a little more teaching practice and prove to our instructors we really were taking in all (well at least some of) their words of wisdom!
Hugh took over from Franz today and all my dreams came true or at least thats what Dave told him – not going to lie – fairly awkward. Karl somehow managed to be even later than Dave and won the honour of wearing The Late Bra over his ski jacket- (a fetching multicoloured padded specimen) which drew a few wolf whistles amongst other things… However, he technically wasn’t the latest as Rob missed our lesson today after a hugely successful night out. He missed out on a morning of working on his pole plant, upper – lower body separation and some practice teaching (plus of course a couple of cheeky trips to the awesome back bowls of Lake Louise.)
Back to Sunshine Village today and Dave returned to form and was reunited with The Late Bra. It was our last day with Hugh and we spent the morning focussing on steering improvement interspersed with ripping up the moguls on Goats Eye lift. To highlight the importance of always being on our game during the L2 exam Hugh filmed our first run of the day which made for some cringeworthy viewing later! During the afternoon we all practiced teaching our groups and one of instructors Mike would time how long it took us to mess up, quodos must go to Adam who made it to a massive 7 seconds (score!) Thursday night = treat night and this meant a slap up meal of ribs and chicken at The Paddock followed by a few games of pool and our version of shuffle board. A few pitchers of beer later we were ready to start pre drinks at the hotel before heading to our usual haunt, Devils Gap. Later in the evening Alex fulfilled a life long ambition of riding the rodeo bull at Dancing Sasquatch before we all headed to our final destination Hoodoos night club.
I didn’t make it up the hill today. Other more hard core Nonstoppers dragged themselves to their private lessons at Norquay (I had signed up for next Friday phew!) However skiing is the best hangover cure there is and everyone made the most out of their individual lessons with our fab instructors. Dominos for tea – yum.
22cm snow overnight at Sunshine…..unfortunately we made the wise decision a few weeks back to shadow at Norquay for the day, where less than 1cm of snow greeted us as we hopped of the bus bright and early. Nonetheless whilst the others tested out the pow for us, we were able to test out our teaching skills, learning even more from the pro’s Ross and Charlie. Sarah skiied off with Charlie, a seasoned pro, and a group of 3 English lads and ladies, tackling the higher end of the teaching scale with some confident blue run skiers. Alex headed off instead to the thrills of the green slopes with a Kiwi and an Pommie, learning the ropes from Ross as he helped them in the final stages of the now well known ‘Fast Track to Parrallel’. It was an eye-opening and seriously worthwhile experience, in particular giving us both an insight into the real workings of the ski industry and what it takes to teach the public rather than our mates! (We would definitley recommend it to all you future Nonstoppers out there). After a hard day on the slopes, the others retelling numerous pow tales, we began our ritual once more with a little pre drinking fun (Dave really got into it) , followed by the Gap and a whole lot of raving at Sasquatch to celebrate Chris’s big entrance into the adult world! With a final pitstop at Maccas and AArdvarks, we slowly made our way home, preparing ourselves to tackle the most epic pow that sunday had to offer!
38cm snow overnight at sunshine… AHHHHHH! Whilst the majority of our group nursed their hangovers in bed we somehow dragged ourselves onto the early bus and boy did they miss out! Cliffs, face shots and numerous untouched tree runs were the order of the day and even the strong winds didn’t disturb from heading up wawa and shedding freshies at Paris basin (Rupert hurled himself twice over a 15ft cliff – idiot.) But he survived and took us down the snowboarding trails where us skiers got stuck (we are still removing bits of branch from our hair!) After a short pitstop for lunch (is that poutine!?) and a few more rips off Standish and Wawa we decided it was time for a chilled out ride down to the bus. However Rupert had other ideas and conned us into tightest ever trees with the deepest powder where Sarah had a sense of humour failure after we had to crawl out at one point. Despite our eagerness for more pow the 3.45 bus never looked so good and we spent the evening curled up in front of multiple films and an Aardvarks sub. A great day for a great ski.