Week 4 of the SnowSkool course at Big White

Last weekend started with a picture-postcard day, complete with amazing blue skies on Saturday. The Skoolers were stoked to have a day without lessons and a day on the hill working on the skills they have worked on it the last few weeks. At last lifts (3.30pm) a load of us had planned to meet at the top of the T-bar to watch the sunset, so we all grabbed a few beers and headed up there. It was awesome at the very top of the mountain, especially as there was such a big group of us! Afterwards a lot of the crew headed back to their apartments but a few turbo-ed over to the park to have a few runs on the kickers and exploit Keepo’s photography skills to the max! Later in the evening, it was the UFC finals so loads of people gathered at Sam’s to watch the game and grab some food while a few chilled at home – with the final week of training looming before the Level 1’s, lots of the crew are getting nervous and staying in to read their manuals!

Another blue bird day on Sunday! With a rare three days of glorious sunshine in a row, the students went out early again to enjoy the weather. Mark and Andy C practiced their switch over at Black Forest in the morning and then we all met up and hit the park. A barbeque and beer garden had been set up outside the VCM so we all grabbed a beer and hotdog for lunch and then spent the afternoon out on the mountain before hitting Sam’s to enjoy Superbowl Sunday! We had a great time, even though (or perhaps because?!) it took 3 ½ hours to play 60 minutes of football… but hey – not our concern on an ongoing basis!!! Some of the crew managed to fit in some shadowing over the weekend, gaining some real hands-on experience of what life as an instructor is like!

This week was also demo week here in Biggy, so when we started our lessons on Monday we were greeted by over 30 tents displaying the latest skis and boards from all over the world. It was great weather again with blue skies and pretty warm temperatures so our SnowSkoolers headed off to class in a good mood. Most spent the morning getting to know their new instructors and warming up for the week ahead.

Some of the crew managed to demo a few of the skis and boards over the lunch break and then spent most of the afternoon in lessons teaching. Unfortunately, Lucy had a bad fall when she was hit by a snowboarder so she headed into Kelowna to get checked out in the afternoon but thankfully, nothing was broken and she just needed a few days to rest. There was a gig in Sam’s at night so loads of SnowSkoolers had a good night out and next morning, there was photographic evidence of all that dancing on the tables!

A lot more teaching practice on Tuesday in preparation for the exams next week and it was great to see all the students getting more confident giving their lessons. Katie coped really well with her broken wrist and Sunny was back riding given his shoulder is well rested! It was a pretty relaxed night and everyone headed home to chill out and glance over their instructor manuals. The nerves are kicking in but that always helps!

Pretty flat light accompanied a bit of fresh snow on Wednesday. Most of the students went out for a couple of warm-up runs and then spent the morning teaching down at Happy Valley. Loads of the crew headed to The Bakery for lunch to escape the cold and the snow, and then returned to Happy Valley for more teaching practice. At the end of the day, some of the skiing groups went to the top of T-bar and were lucky enough to get up high enough to be out of the clouds to enjoy some beautiful sunshine while looking down at the cloud that lay below.

After dinner Ana, Andrew P, James, Duncan etc all went to the Bullwheel, and then met the rest of the group in Sam’s for a few drinks and a couple of games of pool. The SnowSkool group has sure made its mark on Sam’s pool tables! It was Holly’s birthday the next day so we were all celebrating her last few hours of being 17!

We woke on Thursday to beautiful clear sunny skies – happy 18th, Holly! Some of the students were up riding at 8.30am to get a few runs in before lessons, especially as so much of this week has been spent teaching and not so much bombing around the mountain at serious speeds. The nerves were kicking in a bit but all the students have been working hard and have seen so many awesome changes in their skiing and snowboarding in the last few weeks. We had burger night at The Deli for dinner and then most people headed home to chill out in preparation for the final day of tuition before the Level 1 exams next week!

We woke to a real white-out on Friday but all students put on their instructor helmets and headed out to lessons. Much of the day was spent honing teaching skills and some last minute fine-tuning in everyone’s technique, just to be ready and confident for the exams. Danny’s group worked on their euro-carving and Henry’ group spent some of the afternoon bombing around the mountain. Everyone received feedback from their instructors, which gave them a few things to work on over the weekend. Then it was o ff to Sam’s for and an end-of-part-one commemoration. After dinner, all showered up and minty fresh, the group headed either to Sam’s, or to Holly and Alice’s apartment to celebrate Holly’s birthday and the end of week four. NO ONE CAN BELIEVE ITS BEEN FOUR WEEKS ALREADY!


Next time we’re in touch it will be with the results of the Level 1 exams. Please overwhelm us with the power of your positive thoughts – everyone’s a little edgy and anxious but very well prepared so let’s hope we have nothing but good news to report next week. The SnowSkoolers in France and the team over the range in Banff this past week have set the bar extremely high with amazing pass rates – which we are well placed to match. GO! you good things!!!

That's it from us in Big White - until next week!

Adrian Gourlay (Course Leader) and George Freeman (Course Host).

SnowSkool Big White 2012

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