WEEK 11 – THE FINAL INSTALMENT, SCROLL DOWN TO READ …
WEEK 1 by Stuart Reed
Calgary to Fernie transfer – I was greeted at Calgary airport by Leanne and Mark, NONSTOP reps. The main group were due to arrive mid afternoon. I had been in Canada for 2 weeks already so was beginning to feel like a local. NONSTOP had booked a coach for the drive to Fernie. The occupants were a diverse group in age and background and I was surprised to find that, like myself, most had come by themselves.
Upon arrival, the skiers were advised to go out for a drink and stay up as late as possible to avoid jet-lag the following day, an instruction they duly followed, some more than others!
Day 1, Orientation – Most had arrived without equipment, so the ski director, Jens described what prospective purchasers should be looking for. Orthotics entered the vocabulary of many attendees that day, whilst significant sums of money simultaneously exited their bank accounts.
In the evening we were treated to a Welcome Dinner. Rupert (NONSTOP head honcho) welcomed the group and introduced the team and the Mayor of Fernie. The Mayor jovially encouraged us to go out and meet the locals and to enjoy the town, although he said he would prefer it if we didn’t enjoy it in the area adjoining his young children’s bedroom (The Mayor is a close neighbour to the Red Tree Lodge). The food and service were very good that night and have retained a high standard since.
Day 2, First Lesson – We had been sorted into groups by “perceived” ability with instructors assigned to each group. I had described myself as a skier of 8 weeks experience, although I think I reached a plateau at week 2. Chrissy was to be my first instructor, a temporary arrangement as instructors would rotate between groups on a weekly basis.
The subject of the first lesson was getting to know the mountain, where to go and, perhaps more importantly, where not to go. During the day, we ventured onto some terrain that I would have probably avoided if I was skiing on my own but I didn’t crash so my confidence grew.
Day 3, Second lesson – We were videoed skiing down the Bear Run. The video is not to be seen until the end of the course so we can see how we have improved. Chrissy asked us to ski as we normally would but I tried a bit harder than usual.
After lunch Chrissy took us to the ‘Face Lift’ drag. It had an unusually simplistic design; this she told us was because Face Lift was frequently the victim of avalanches – the subject of our post lesson technical briefing – conducted by one of Fernie’s ski patrol.
WEEK 2 by John Holland
Sunday 27th – The first weekend for most of the 11-week skiers is rounded off by a joint “P” Party with the Snowboarders. Much good-humoured banter ensues between the two groups and is the precursor to the daily snowball fight at the bottom of the slope while waiting for the bus.
Monday 28th – Lessons are followed by a tech sesh on ski tuning with Jon from the Fast Wax. It’s all useful information, and while many will still prefer to let someone else apply the elbow grease, others are already doing their own edging and waxing in the Lodge’s Tuning Room.
Tuesday 29th – College of the Rockies Classes begin for Sports Massage and Beginner’s French and Spanish. Feb
Friday 1st Feb – After the first full week of instruction, and with the after-effects of ‘Thirsty Thursday’ still pumping through their veins, some need a late start to the weekend’s activities.
Some head off to the College of the
It’s been snowing almost incessantly for two days and the powder monkeys are eager to soak up every opportunity to blast the deep stuff. They don’t have to go far – even last night’s ‘bashed’ pistes are covered in another 10cm.
Personally, I’m still trying out skis so having selected another pair to demo’ from the ski shop, I head up to the hill. After a few runs on my own to secretly practice the drills we’ve been shown, I meet two more NONSTOPpers for lunch and a gentle afternoon’s bimble around the slopes.
After dinner, 30 or so head to Fernie Arena for the ice hockey. Although we’ve only been here a week and a half, it’s amazing how fervently we support our adopted ‘local’ team, the Ghost Riders, and they really put on a show.
After taking an early lead against American rivals
Seconds before the denouement, the previously unheralded Riders forward, Robbie Shaw becomes a NONSTOP hero by laying into one of the
We toast his audacity and the team’s victory in ‘The Pub’ with a game of pool and a couple of shandies!!!
Saturday 2nd – Snowmobile-ing is one of the NS Credit Activities and six of my 20 credits booked my place. The base is only a ten minute bus ride from the Lodge and there’s a palpable sense of anticipation on the journey there.
None of us are disappointed (although some people’s afternoon was hairier than others!) After a brief explanation we power off down a series of trails into the back country, stopping only for hot dogs cooked over an open fire.
Actually, there was another unscheduled stop on our trip but the least said about that, the soonest mended! All in all, it’s a five star customer feedback rating for snowmobile-ing.
Arrive back at 4:30pm in time to buy the wine for the evening meal, cooked for eight of us in one of the houses. An evening of sophisticated repartee is concluded by my wending my rather unsteady way home to the Lodge.
Week three in Fernie starts on a Sunday for me, when I get out of bed and decide to take a day off from the mountain and try out the couches in our house. The verdict? They’re perfect for relaxing but not great for motivation. After a while (and a bacon sandwich), I take a wander around the town, spending more money in one of the equipment shops is tempting but I manage to resist and end up in a coffee house, watching the locals go by and enjoying the sunshine. The good stuff clears the remnants of my hangover nicely, so I return to my house intent on doing washing, cleaning my room and cooking some thing great. That’s the plan, but 10 minutes later I’m laid up on the couch again. Luckily my housemates have all had the same idea, and we’re soon watching a film and munching on pizza…
Monday arrives with yet more snow! We head up to the mountain for lessons as usual but this week is different, its ‘demo week’. Our instructors are going to spend the week showing us what’s involved in the various courses we can take while we’re here. Today, is the CSCF course content. It’s all about training budding racers and we’re taken through some of the techniques. I should mention that our instructor is the well known ‘crazy Dave’. He’s not actually crazy (I think), but he is one of the best instructors I’ve ever had, and he has a talent for pushing our abilities.
On Tuesday we get shown the basic content of the AMP ‘All Mountain Pro’ course, and it literally is ‘all mountain’. We go from groomed green s to powder thick blacks, tree runs and drop-offs. Its great fun, even when I’m scared as hell. We don’t always manage to stay upright but we come off the mountain with big grins and burning leg muscles. The solution to the pain is found in the pub, and after a couple of beers we’re all feeling much better. Then come a couple of rounds of Jagerbombs and I start feeling worse.
Wednesday. Yup. I used to hate Wednesdays but since I’ve been here they’ve become much more appealing. Today I’m feeling less inspired but a strong coffee and maple syrup breakfast help a bit. And then once we get up on the mountain I start feeling a lot better. Skiing is a great hangover cure, plus the sun has come out and conditions are beautiful! Dave takes us through the level 2 instructor programme today, which is less entertaining than burning down black runs but gives us a good overview. The day ends with everyone looking thoughtful on the bus. I can’t tell if it’s due to people thinking about what courses they want to take or a collective lack of sleep.
It’s and early start on Thursday for a special trip to Kimberley’s terrain park for a preview of what the freestyle course has to offer. It’s snowing heavily and sideways when we get on the bus and halfway into the journey we have to turn around and head back to Fernie. It turns out the snowboarders’ bus has broken and that, combined with the awful weather, prompts our return home. Instead we have lessons as usual and to make up for the lack of park fun Dave takes us down Boomerang Ridge, a double diamond black. It scares the hell out of us but once again, I come away with a grin on my face.
On Friday we get our park demonstration in Fernie, with the promise of the Kimberley trip at a later date. We get the choice of regular lessons, or joining an freestyle skiing instructor. I decide to try freestyle and head up with Bruno who gets us started straight away on small jumps combined with twists. It’s fun and we roam the mountain in search of kickers to ‘pop off’. I quickly realise I should have rented lighter skis, and the burger and fries for lunch doesn’t help either. The day just gets better when we go to see the local hockey team, the ‘Ghostriders’ play. It’s a slow start but two fights and 40 minutes later the Ghostriders are victorious.
Saturday, most of my housemates head out for an avalanche safety training day. I sleep in like a true lazy person, and then complete an excellent morning with a perfect bacon sarni. The avalanche course covers snow conditions, spotting risks and how to survive an avalanche, its good stuff to know. My housemates return in the evening and I remember I promised I’d cook. Two hours later everyone’s fed and I’m considering falling asleep on the couch… again
WEEK 4 by Steve Meare
This was the final week before our evaluation, and while the focus of the lessons changed towards improving our teaching skills, the atmosphere remained as relaxed as ever, although the Monday afternoon wait for the bus saw the fiercest skier vs. snowboarder snowball fight yet! As the boarders’ bus arrived the skiers picked up the offensive, pinning down the boarders against the side of the bus, until the driver stepped out and shouted “Skier’s bus!”. At this revelation a mad dash ensued as the skiers ran past the boarders, most still wearing ski boots, to get onto the bus and avoid the boarders’ counter attack.
In spite of the rain over the weekend the snow conditions were quite pleasant at the start of the week and the groomers were perfect for practising the demonstrations needed for our Level 1 examination. Thursday and Friday were given over to private lessons, so that each of us could have an hour and a half with our instructor to fine-tune our technique before the evaluation, giving everyone plenty of time to do some free-skiing, a brave few venturing up to the notorious Corner Pocket run.
As a special treat for Valentine’s Day we were taken back up to the hill for a few hours of night-time tobogganing under the stars on the Mighty Moose teaching slope. The long walk up the slope was made more perilous by the other NONSTOPpers (and a few of our instructors) coming down the slope in the near-dark on plastic sheets. A few of the pedestrians were face planted, but most escaped with little more than a bruise or two. The atmosphere on the bus on the way there and back was brilliant and everyone had a fantastic time, whether they had been racing down on their fronts with their face a centimetre from the snow, or taken part in the twelve man snake-toboggan race that ended in a pile-up.
While Thursday had been beautifully clear, with bright sunshine and good visibility for most of the day, Friday brought with it a powerful wind and a low cloud cover that sat just over the headwall. In the morning while my group was taking part in an Avalanche Safety Training, the high winds triggered a small avalanche in the Cedar Bowl providing a convenient, if slightly unnerving, example of how the changing weather effects avalanche risk. On the other hand I felt very reassured, as just moments after the slide occurred two ski patrollers and one of Fernie’s avalanche rescue dogs went racing past us to investigate the debris. Just before lunch we were treated to a spectacular sight as two huge weather fronts clashed over the mountain, bringing us more fresh snow in the afternoon.
Sadly the weekend wasn’t very good for skiing as a Bank Holiday in Alberta pushed hundreds (probably over a thousand) of Albertans south to Fernie for three days, resulting in huge lift lines that few of us queue-spoilt NONSTOPpers braved. Luckily for some the pool in the Red Tree Lodge was fixed this week, and a game of water polo/ping pong ensued. Others, myself included, had our dog sledding expedition to keep us entertained. A late start (9.45 is late for out here) allowed those who had enjoyed Friday night a little too much recover somewhat, and we headed out of Fernie to meet our guides and the dogs. We were all given turns at driving our own dog team and riding along with the guides. For those not on the sleds Shadow and Tarka, two retired dogs, provided some company around the campfire, though a restless few entertained themselves with snowshoe races through the deep powder snow. Again more face-plants, but in powder it’s like falling into feathers and was all taken in good humour.
Saturday night was fantastic as all NONSTOPpers gathered at the OGS (one of the residences) for a last hurrah before the serious business of the Level 1 evaluation. Bairbre had bought packets of chips and marshmallows to share but hadn’t counted on Mr Lally using them as projectiles. Mayhem ensued as a full-scale marshmallow fight took over the OGS, with people ducking behind counters and pillars to avoid enemy fire. The night drew on and a few people found themselves dozing on sofas or in chairs, and almost everyone unfortunate enough to fall asleep had their eyebrows coloured in and moustaches drawn on their faces. A marker pen always seems to find its way to these parties.
After the amusement of Saturday, most, or at least most of the skiers, enjoyed a lazy Sunday to rest up for the Level 1. Wish us luck!
WEEK 5 by Charles de Beaufort
The most important week so far due to the CSIA level 1 exam, Uh-oh! Monday started off with registrations and each of the four days focused on a specific part of level 1 and to ensure the best possible feedback we had two different instructors.
But Thursday was no doubt the most important day of the week – results & party day! The snowboarders were very successful and managed a 100% pass rate and the skiers also did a great job. It’s not hard to imagine what happened next….yep that’s right, PARTY HARDY WERE DRINKING BACARDI… oh, and beer.
The atmosphere was great and even the few people who failed had a big smile on their face. The highlight of the night was “the naked beer slide”. Mr T and Mr M were the first to steal the show. A spectacular slide show with some sliding all the way to the end of the table.
It was still early, the Griz Bar was a circus and the bus was coming to get us at 6pm. The ride back was a mix of Neanderthal chants and chest baring! At dinner, due to the fact that the Redtree restaurant isn’t just for NONSTOPpers we were put in a separate dining room. Good call. It was like war zone with bread, napkins and other even heavier artillery flying around.
I can’t really tell you what happened next but I’m pretty sure that it went something like Eldorados followed by the Royal.
Friday was the overnight trip to Calgary. A small group, we drove in two minivans stopping after 2 minutes at Maccy D’s. More stops were made for sight seeing then on to Calgary for the NHL hockey game between Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings and of course shopping.
The Flames scored the first quarter and went on to win the game. We met with one of our instructors who showed us around before half of us went to a pub and the rest ended up in a club with lots of ladies, something you don’t find in Fernie (lots of ladies that is, not clubs).
Next day was all about shopping with some getting up very early to go to the big shopping malls. We drove back around five to be on time for Imogen’s 80’s themed birthday, woo hoo!
WEEK 6 by Alice Mountain
Post level 1 most are now ski instructors, an amazing feeling and total relief after last week. After the slow pace of the exams everyone’s dying to rip it up and have some fun. So that’s pretty much what we did, grouped according to course (level 2 or the AMP).
After a weekend of heavy celebrations, we went for it! Alternating between epic mogul runs and groomers to keep us on our toes, we enjoyed the amazing weather. Bluebird days of sun and clear skies, we also working super hard on our goggle tans.
On one such day our instructor got us to peel and eat a banana whilst going down mogul runs! (To get us moving our legs without thinking) After a great four days of instruction the week finished, as usual, with a few drinks on Thursday – hence the term ‘Thirsty Thursdays’.
Hangovers all round on Friday but I went off to get a tattoo. A nice red maple leaf on my bum, cheesy but I’ll never forget my time in Canada now!
Friday night was hockey night, it’s the play off’s with Fernie Ghostriders v Kimberley, we lost but there were some brilliant fights, mostly won by the Ghostriders.
Saturday was spent chilling and saving our strength for cat skiing next day. But before we get to that we have to cover the Saturday night festivities (if you hadn’t gathered, Fernie can be a bit of a party town!)
One of the boys had a Super Heroes birthday, there was: Speedo Boy, Fluorescent Boy, Spider Girl, Super Girl, Marshmallow Girl, Scuba Girl, Underwear Girl, The Hulk, Papa Smurf and may more dubious heroes.
We went to the hockey play offs again which got us some funny looks. Underwear Girl managed to sneak onto the ice during one of the quarters and was sliding around on her belly. It was Ghostriders v Kimberley again and this time we won!
Sunday morning and everyone’s up at 7am for cat skiing which my roomy thought was like dog sledding only with cats?! With sore heads we loaded up the bus and headed off. After a coffee people perked up and excitement increased as we got in our cats.
The 3 cats headed up the hill past amazing scenery all the way to the top. The quiet and serenity was mind blowing and we felt really special skiing places few others had. Our guide skied down, we followed then we’d re-group, get into the cat and go to the next run. Awesome!
We also had a photographer with us, taking photos the whole time. We found loads of fresh powder and although it was tiring but totally worth it.
Finally we did a massive hike up to an area that even the cat couldn’t reach. Everyone just collapsed when they got to the top but then we realised how far we could see. Everyone was gobsmacked and realised how amazing Fernie is. We managed 8 runs that day which was really good going and the photographer even managed to snap a few classic wipeouts.
So there you have it, another week in the Fernie life. Epic as usual and everyone is totally excited about week 7.
WEEK 7 by Simon Carter
Since coming to Canada, most of us have been confused by the many technical terms we’ve been bombarded with, and by the special meaning of words used in the Red Tree Lodge. To help clear up this confusion, I’ve compiled the first NONSTOP Ski dictionary!
Ski-doo – To lose a large amount of cash in one brief moment of madness eg. “Eric just ski-dood his beer money!’
Garbage day – Having to listen while other people boast about their skiing. N.B. Garbage days often begin in the Griz bar.
Sponge – An advanced and ecologically sound building material which can be mortared together with marmalade, chocolate, broccoli, etc. Please note, on no account should you confuse Canadian sponge with the English foodstuff bearing the same name.
Ellie – To spend an inordinate amount of time getting ready or making a decision.
Face plant – An odd growth which appeared on the faces of male snowboarders during the Level 1 week.
Ripper – An Australian’s trousers after they’ve completed a spectacular jump.
Tech Session - Canadian dialect for ‘sales pitch’
Boot Alignment - To remove the last excuse for skiing badly
Ski Instructor – someone who contradicts everything the previous ski instructor told you to do
Room mate - (derog.) someone you can’t stand
Base of Support - Your skis, your poles (if you use them) and on powder days, your face
Powder Days - A climatic change which induces temporary madness in ski instructors
Laura - A sudden powerful burst of energy, usually encountered in the morning
180 – A dramatic change of direction to avoid getting on the chairlift with someone.
180 switch – Suddenly changing direction again; this time to join people you want to share a chairlift with
Porridge – Evidently, there is no direct translation for this word. However, initial indications are that Canadian porridge is a gloopy solid, runny, heavy substance that is best skied over rather than consumed.
Dog-sledding – To lose control of all bodily functions, as in; It smells foul in here. Who’s dog sledding?
Peter (out) - To only manage fifty percent of a challenge, eg. He petered out after the fiftieth chicken wing. Also, to refuse to ski if it is snowing or raining.
Senior Ski Moment (SSM) – When your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fulfil.
Snowgasm – Sexual pleasure derived from riding deep pow (cf Laura).
Friend - (derog.) Someone who appears on the scene after a skiing accident. As in; “Colin’s friends took pictures of him while he bled in the snow.”
Vegetable – One, or a combination of; broccoli, cauliflower, or carrot. Alternatively a generic term for snowboarders (just a joke!)!
Angulation - The lateral angles formed between segments of the body and the bar.
Fall Line - Where your body would go after a drinking session if your friends weren’t holding you upright.
Tipping – An apparently unnatural act of rewarding good service.
Daisy – An English flower with a tendency to wrap itself around Canadian trees.
Fun Race – An opportunity for boys to take their clothes off (again).
Kimberley – As any Ghostriders’ fan will tell you, Kimberley is a girls name. Also, fun as it was, Kimberley is not home.
Griz day parade - An opportunity for boys to don their snorkelling gear and dress as girls.
Extreme Griz – Boys continuing to wear girls clothes around Fernie after the Griz day parade finished.
WEEK 8 by Simon Carter
In the TV comedy series, ‘Mork and Mindy’, Robin Williams played an alien living on earth. At the end of each episode, Mork (Robin Williams) told Orson (his alien leader) what he’d learnt that week.
On Monday, I went to see Bill Bourne play at the Arts Station. His band consisted of two old geezers playing guitars, and an old bird committing GBH on a drum kit. I learnt that music is enjoyed best when played live.
On Thursday, we reached the 100% Level 1 pass rate. I learnt that persistence pays, and that ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ are well named.
On Friday, we visited the Kokanee Brewery en route to Red Mountain. I learnt that watching beer brew is as exciting as watching snow melt. I also learnt that the factory cans and bottles beer marginally faster that NONSTOPpers drink it.
On Saturday, we brought snow to Red Mountain and saved their season. I learnt that the locals don’t really like the development of their mountain and would rather have kept the skiing a secret. I also learnt that you have to provide your own entertainment every night of the week.
On Sunday, the sun shone. Before heading to Fernie, I learnt that hot tubs are great places to spread germs. On the drive home, as we descended into a godforsaken town called Trail, I watched from Leanne’s car as the coach careened out of control. Those in the coach are the only people who can tell you their experience. For my part, I learnt that there are numerous kind and sensitive individuals on the course.
[Ed. NONSTOP learnt that it is well worth paying for experienced, professional drivers and fortunately the bus was brought safely to a standstill with no injuries to it's passengers]
I also learnt not to judge a town by first appearances. In the evening, we were put up in the Prestige Hotel. The chef behaved as if it was perfectly normal to be invaded by 60 people every Sunday night, and the staff ran themselves into the ground to keep us fed and watered.
Monday was a muted meander back to Fernie. When we arrived, I realized that we’d come home. And what was the most important thing I learnt from the week as a whole? Surprisingly, perhaps, I learnt that skiing is not necessarily the most important thing in life.
WEEK 9 by Bairbre Lacey
Monday was St Patrick’s day and the long drive home from Rossland after our unexpected extended stay! Back at the lodge we got ready wearing all the green we could find! It was a great atmosphere in The Pub, we drank pitchers of green Kokanee before going to the Fernie Hotel for Guinness. The stagger home heard us belting out Irish songs.
Tuesday saw regular lessons albeit with rather foggy heads! Many of the groups were seen dipping away into hidden runs to get sneaky practice in for the upcoming synchro comp!
Wednesday morning was as usual but the afternoon was dedicated to the synchronised skiing competition. The slopes were full of NONSTOPpers practising their routines and the usual heckling from the chair lift!
The competition kicked off and the groups were pulling out all the stops. Our routine included a worm turn directly in front of the judges, they liked the turn but didn’t really dig the rest of the routine and Chrissy’s groups came away with the prize in the end!
Jens – one of the judges!
Thirsty Thursday was a full day of lessons then on to Pass Powderkeg for night skiing & a pub crawl. Skiing in floodlights was interesting and snow conditions weren’t exactly what we were used to considering we’ve been lucky enough to be in Fernie for their best season in 25 years! Over 1000cm of snow!
We finished up skiing and jumped back on the bus for the pub-crawl! We hit a bar about 15 mins away for the first stop. They were a bit shocked to see 50 people walk through the door! We then raided the liquor store for supplies and back on the bus for next pub.
A longer drive between pubs meant Leanne had to pull over for a pee stop! Instructor Dave got back on the bus laughing away to himself after pushing the guys into the snow bank as they peed!
The next bar was pretty small so Leanne rang ahead to warn them of our arrival. The Jukebox had a 100’s of Phil Collins songs much to the disappointment of our very own Phil Collins as we belted out the tunes at him!
Saturday morning was the trip to Whitefish, Montana, USA. Departing at 7.30am we headed for the border. A surprisingly pain free stop at the border saw us arrive at the ski hill nice and early for a full day skiing.
The conditions were great and we all managed to steel some fresh tracks through the trees although standing in a lift queue was a bit weird! For apres ski we met at the Bulldog where a gallon pitcher was only $12.50! After we headed for Casey’s Irish bar and the rest is a blur…
Easter Sunday had some bad hangovers so everyone was happy to shop before heading back to the pub for hair of the dog before heading home. Arriving in Fernie about 6 we headed to The Pub for dinner – big mistake – another late one!!!
WEEK 10 by Pim Palmen
The level 2 exam week started with the alarm going off at some ungodly hour, closer to the end of the previous day than the start of a new one. After ten weeks of training and fuelled with as much caffeine as my body could possibly hold we started our exam. This was the week we’d been saving our roundest turns for and the time had come to pull them out the bag.
The first day was all about letting us know which parts of our skiing might let us down; the next two, reviewing the teaching progression and finally on the last two we taught each other, inventing things to correct if none were obvious.
At 3 pm on Friday we were told we had to sweat it out for another couple of hours whilst our examiners worked out how each of us had done. Having delayed the start of sampling Griz brew for as long as possible (well, we did an extra run!) we caved in and made sure that by the time we’d get our results it would not be without alcoholic armour.
Everyone passed at least one of the two exam components and quite a few passed both. From there on the party continued not helped by the fact that Lorna’s birthday celebrations were another excuse to drink even more.
Waking up without a hangover on Saturday ready to build a claustrophobic snow cave and sleep in it was a bonus. At least until I realised that the hangover had yet to kick in. The plan to use the morning for some souvenir shopping disappeared out the window rather quickly and a couple of hours back in bed were mandatory.
A few hours later we managed to stumble off the Timber Chairlift with a back pack that for some of us was probably equivalent to our bodyweight before getting to our camp site. At that point we were given the choice to reuse a ready made cave from a previous group or build one from scratch.
Some of us were sober or sensible enough to go for the first option. Yours truly however had watched too much of Channel Four’s Grand Designs and foolishly agreed with a few others that it was a great idea to build one from scratch. And so we started digging ourselves a hole whilst others were having some aeronautic fun by defying gravity over some unwanted snow piled on a heap.
After all caves had been finished the ritual hot dog eating by the camp fire was followed by some gore-tex roasting. Soon enough we realised no matter how much we burned our gear it was going to be a cold night – with loads of snow. About a foot of the white stuff came down overnight reducing cave exits quite considerably compared to the entrance the previous night.
As soon as all the shovels had been retrieved from under a white blanket we set off for a fabulous fresh tracks run down Falling Star back to civilisation – well, the day lodge anyway. It may not seem much but heating, a cooked breakfast and bathrooms are a great treat when you have lived like a caveman for a day.
WEEK 11… the final instalment by Leanne
The week started with the instructors and RTL staff strutting their stuff in tight, fluorescent one-pieces, jeans and an 80’s instructor uniform for the Hot Dog Auction. The bidding was competitive with all funds going to a great cause and some spending as much as $100 on their hot dog outfit!
Wednesday brought Hot Dog Day and the start of the 2nd Level 2. It’s not often a course examiner sports 200cm straight skis and tight pants however, the fun and frolicks helped ease the pressure.
Others found themselves at the secret snow bar watching hot doggers pull twisters, spread eagles, and even the occasional back flip off a kicker. We had the longest human slalom and of course worm turns, there were even two people on the same set of skis that hit the jump… and then both double ejected – comedy value!
With the end of the level 2 and AMP testing, everyone was keen to let loose after the pressure of the week. It was also the snowboarder’s farewell so it was quite the night out! It was sad watching the first of the snowboard group depart for Calgary. Lots of hugs – no segregation! That evening brought the ski farewell party with great food, fun prizes and again a night out – the last time out together!
The following day, everyone congregated to wave off the Calgary group. The remaining fortunate few got to go to Lake Louise for an extended trip.
Reflecting back on the season, I hope that everyone’s proud of their many accomplishments and adventures. Good luck where ever you’re headed and I hope you find yourself back in Fernie one day… and don’t forget, summer is awesome here too! Miss you all! Leanne