Start the year anew and set yourself some snow-related targets - the kind that you won't want to break. Whether taking time-out to develop your powder skills, clocking up your first heli-ski experience, or having a crack at backcountry touring, giving yourself an on-snow focus will keep you challenged and progressing this winter.
Here are 9 ideas to get you going – adapt and tweak as necessary.
1. Improve your technique
Whether you daydream about surfing through powder or navigating tight chutes, make this the year to boost your technique and blast through barriers that have held you back on the mountain. Put the fun back into learning with a Nonstop course that’ll develop your skills on- and off-piste. For all levels, expect small group coaching, a fun social atmosphere and plenty of mileage.
How: We’ve a menu of all-mountain improver courses – from one to six weeks – designed for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders. Based in Canada, you’ll be pushing your skills on- and off-piste and gorging on powder with our seasoned coaches.
2. Ski the Powder Highway
Canada’s storied Powder Highway is a rite of passage for any powder-hound. Located in southeast British Columbia, the area is home to a loop of resorts famed for big snowfall – and funky mountain villages too. Tick off several must-do resorts in one round-trip and prepare to guzzle up endless terrain, that just so happens to be caked in Canada’s finest snow.
How: We run a two-week snow safari through BC that takes you to Fernie, Red Mountain, Revelstoke and Kicking Horse. On a journey measured in vertical and not miles, we’ll guide you to the best terrain and snow at each. You in?
3. Earn your turns
Social uphill climbs, panoramic views and untracked descents. Backcountry touring involves heading away from resort boundaries and using specialist equipment to ‘walk’ uphill, before riding untouched snow back down. Getting started needn’t be feared and, for competent off-piste skiers, ski touring could provide your next challenge. You’ll need touring gear, avalanche safety equipment, plus technique tips and local guide for the best experience.
How: Our six-week Master the Mountain camp combines off-piste technique coaching with ski touring and avalanche training, before a 4-day touring trip from a backcountry cabin.
4. Conquer heli-skiing
On the bucket list of most snow fanatics, heli-skiing is arguably the ultimate day on the mountain. With endless powder runs on the menu, plus chopper drops and epic views, you won’t be disappointed. Could this be the year that you finally stop daydreaming and sign up for a heli day?
How: Designed to hone your steep and deep skills, our two-week Ready to Heli camp – based in powder capital Fernie – culminates with a heli day in British Columbia, the home of heli-skiing.
5. Get your instructor qualification
Challenge your technique while experiencing life in a ski town. Training as a ski or snowboard instructor will furnish you with fresh skills and a qualification to boot. You’ll leave with serious bragging rights, a fresh outlook on life and even a whole new career path. You can achieve an entry-level qualification in as few as 3 weeks, or train for an internationally-recognised qualification over the course of a season.
How: Nonstop run a range of ski and snowboard instructor courses from three to 11 weeks. Based in Canada, you’ll train for CSIA/CASI qualifications under the guidance of our seasoned pros, and notch up experiences like cat-skiing and snowmobiling. We also offer courses in Europe and NZ.
6. Go by snow-cat
Get your backcountry powder fix with a guided cat-ski adventure. Cheaper than a chopper but equally epic, you’ll be driven by snow-cat to mountain tops for breathtaking descents through virgin powder. You’ll clock up plenty of vertical with an average of 10-12 runs in a day, before an ice-cold beer on the ride back to base.
7. Boost your park skills
Nothing says style more than a smoothly executed trick. This winter make it your mission to ramp up your park skills and land a new move, be it a silky 3 or floaty backflip. Expect to take a few hits along the way, but epic stoke when you stomp.
How: Taught by jibbing specialists, our one-week freestyle camp based out of Banff will up your park-game with focussed tuition in a supportive and fun environment. We have three world-class parks to choose from, plus a range of features for all levels.
8. Be more sustainable
Chasing snow comes with its fair share of air miles and resource usage – from the manufacture of the gear we buy to snow-making in resort – and this can impact the very environment we love. There are a few simple ways we can all be more sustainable as a community, so this year try to implement a couple of small tactics to help protect the mountains and make the snowsports industry more healthy and eco-friendly.
How: Buy locally or second-hand, upcycle gear and support sustainable brands. Ride share, use environmentally-friendly wax, join a carbon off-setting scheme, bring a reusable water bottle on your travels, and support resorts and hotels with sustainable practices.
9. GET SKI-FIT
Fed up of busted-legs mid-way down a run? Maximise your time on the slopes and reduce your risk of injury by getting ski-fit this year. Commit to a snow-focussed training program before you head off and your body will thank you. Aim to strengthen your quads, glutes and core for maximum benefit.
How: Add a few simple body-weight exercises into your day or existing training routine. These are easy to do at home and you don’t need any equipment. Squats, plank and lunges are a good place to start. You can add complexity and weight if you need more challenge. Aim for three to four sets of 12-20 reps for each.
We look forward to speaking with you.