Week 2 kicked off with a spectacular bluebird Monday, a far cry from the gloomy grey and wet mornings in the UK. As the groups arrived in to the village nice and early to meet their new instructors for the week there was a buzz in the air as the anticipation of a first full weeks training, sunny weather and good snow sunk in. With introductions over, no time was wasted and groups hit the slopes to spend the day on ski and boarding improvement. It’s always our favorite time of day meeting all of our students and seeing them off each morning. It’s a rare occasion to see so many happy people early in the morning and as they headed off with their new pros for the week it was time for us to return home and start to plan the weeks social activates. There was an 80’s party lined up and orgainisation of transporting the entire group to One Boardshop in Kelowna for a master class in ski and board maintenance. Essential knowledge for all of our students who would be spending more time on snow than ever before.
Tuesday saw the snowboarders delve into the beginner teaching material, whilst the skiers continued with ripping around the mountain on ski improvement. The fantastic weather continued and it was evident as some ski goggles were replaced with shades. That evening the entire group headed to Snowshoe Sam’s for the 80’s party. Those 80’s babies amongst us laughed as one banging tune, replaced another and after a few beers it was time to hit the dance floor. Before you knew it the lights were on and the sound of “drink up, it’s closing time” bellowed in our ears. Such a great night out and a good opportunity to get to know each other a little more.
With a few tired faces and sore heads Wednesday morning the entire group made it out for lessons on time. With the weather continuing to be sunny and warm it was a great opportunity for us to follow the groups and take some pictures of their day during lessons. We heard a few almost skied straight in to bed as the night before slightly took it’s toll.
After a good nights sleep a refreshed group headed back out in the sun to continue with teaching for the snowboarders and ski improvement for the skiers. The day seemed to fly by and before we knew it, it was time to gather the students from their houses to head to Kelowna for our tuning session. As the convoy of car and trucks descended the heights of Big White in to Kelowna the sun was setting and the view spectacular. As we arrived at One Boardshop, everybody grabbed their skis and snowboards and headed straight for the tech shop. Andrew Houston proceeded to feed everyone his knowledge and experience on how to maintain their equipment. From the steps involved with a basic wax, to repairing deep scratches and how to sharpen edges. For some it confirmed what they knew for others it was an eye opener on how to look after their gear to keep it in tiptop shape. The session was followed by a bit of shopping for goggles, bindings, boots and waxing irons all discounted for NBS students thanks to the rad guys at One. Before heading back home we had to feed the crew, so a quick stop at Triple O’s went down a treat. Nothing beats a fat Canadian burger, fries and a milk shake whilst chilling in Triple O’s diner.
As Friday was upon us quicker than Karen (a current snowboard student) sinking a shot, the realization that the weeks are going to fly by before the level 1 exams was apparent. The final days training of the week saw everyone make the most of their time on the slopes absorbing feedback and pushing their limits to gain further improvements. As it was the end of the week, all students were subject to their weekly 1-2-1 feedback session. A chance to talk about the weeks skiing or riding along with ensuring each knew what they should be working on going in to the new week. A few relaxed in the hot tub, whilst others relaxed with a beer or glass of wine before dinner. We all headed to a restaurant called Santé for our weekly evening meal out as a group. Hungry faces were soon turned to stuffed faces as the huge portions satisfied even the biggest eaters amongst the group. Following dinner we all headed to the Bull Wheel to sample their Margarita Corona’s and enjoy a drink together, discuss the week and talk about what is yet to come. Some of the group retired back to their sumptuous crib whilst NBS Leigh took the party animals across to Snowshoe Sam’s for a few more drinks.
With a slight change to the training schedule most people took Saturday off the snow to rest, as Sunday kick started week 3 training. This was to accommodate for Big Whites pro’s to compete at inter ski to become a member of elite skiers which represent the CSIA.
So with not a hangover insight our groups were back in the village bright and early Sunday morning, meeting their new instructors for the week. With the weather continuing to deliver blue bird days everyone cracked on with week 3’s training. Sunday evening delivered yet another spectacular sunset and closed off another fun packed week for every NBS student.
For most people, Monday morning is the start of a dreaded week at work that comes around all too soon. For us, Monday morning was the start of our first full week on Ski & Snowboard Instructor Training and it couldn’t have come soon enough. Breakfasts mostly consisted of a sugar-based cereal, filled with more holes than nutrients and more colours than a Louis Armstrong ballad, it was energy nonetheless and much needed before a days boarding. Our ‘commute’ was a 10-minute ski down to the VCM and our ‘office’ was 2,765 acres of mountain waiting to be torn up.
We met our Trainers and for this week I was to be with Laura, a fully accomplished rider with a gnarly reputation in the park. We spent most of the first day working on some early feedback from our new trainer, with the focus on being Centered and Mobile. That evening we relaxed at our pad and started to delve into our CASI manuals to start to get to grips with the teaching material.
Tuesday began with more clear-blue skies and a 9:30 meeting with our instructors outside the VCM. After a morning up the mountain, the afternoon was to be our first insight to conducting a lesson for a first-time snowboarder. Laura went through the five stages of QuickRide Material and we all felt like beginners again as she expertly took us through the lessons. Each one of us agreed that they were extremely helpful and reminded us of the fundamentality’s of becoming a snowboarder. That evening was 80’s night at Sam’s and the majority of us headed down to get stuck in to Big White’s Nightlife. Despite some horrible jumpers on display that evening, an injection of shots from NBS Leigh helped relax some muscles as we headed to the dance floor. Tim in particular dusted off his dancing shoes and taught us all a move or two. Only closing time would eventually force us out as we headed home.
Wednesday morning gave us another insight into becoming a Snowboard Instructor that we hadn’t fully experienced before; waking up early, being enthusiastic all day, playing children’s games, and teaching energetic kids how to snowboard, all after a heavy session the night before. On the whole we all did well for our first time at the front of the class and enjoyed teaching our first snowboarding lessons. This didn’t stop some of us feeling pretty tired that evening, especially Tim, heading straight for the pillow and not being seen again until the following morning.
Thursday was to be yet another sunny day out on the slopes, and despite the progressively thinner amounts of snow on the ground and relatively warm temperatures we all got a good days riding and could all feel ourselves improving. That afternoon Laura took individual videos of our riding and headed to Snow Pines to get feedback. We all found the videos incredibly useful, its one thing to be told we’re doing something, but to watch ourselves ride and see how to improve was another. That evening NBS organized a trip down to Kelowna’s One Boardshop for a Tuning session. For most, it was an introduction on how to fully wax our boards/skis, repair boards with PTEX and tune our edges, not forgetting an opportunity to buy any new bits of gear. A quick stop at Triple-0’s for some food followed before we trekked back up to Big White.
We all couldn’t believe how quickly our first full week of training had gone, and before we knew it, Friday came around. The day was spent boarding with the focus on trying to work on the feedback we had picked up from our video analysis. It was noticeable for all, that being able to watch ourselves ride helped enormously. That afternoon Laura came back to our Crib to do our weeks review, individual feedback sessions and sink a Kokanee or two. More beers in the Hot tub proceeded as the Sun set over B.C. We had our evening meal at Sante’s Bar and Grill. The majority feasted on Chipotle Chicken, washed down with a Canadian. After dinner, the elderly among us marched on up to Sam’s and we started to invest in our Saturday morning hangover. A well deserved night out after a successful first week.
The weekend arrived, and in contrast to the masses, turned up far too soon that morning. There wasn’t a lot of movement in the house as the drinks from the night before took their toll. A small number however, did manage to go down to the VCM and shadow one of the instructors on a beginner lesson that day. The rest caught up with friends on Skype, put a wash on, or prepared for week 3. A slight change in our timetable meant that our second full weeks teaching would run Sunday-Thursday instead of the usual Mon-Fri. This also meant that our Saturday evening did not consist of the usual alcohol induced antics, but a Cup of tea, pop tart and an early night the preferred choice.
Despite deeply missing the usual Sunday morning lay-in, the group was up and out the house for 9:00 ready to meet our new trainers, and be placed in our new Groups for the start of Week 3. My trainer this week was Fraser, a 23-year-old Glaswegian who is regarded as one of the best riders at the school, despite his young age. We headed out for a morning out on the slopes before more practice at lessons down in Happy Valley. The week for me ended the way any week should; watching the sun set over the mountains, listening to some music with a beer in hand, appreciating the week gone whilst looking forward to the next week of my snowboard instructor course.
So the big day finally arrived and with Big White lying in wait, laden with some of the best Pow they’ve had in over 10 years, the nerves, anxiety and apprehensiveness of a group of new seasonaires was gradually turning to pure excitement. We met at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and were greeted by NBS SAM armed with hoodies, beanies, T-Shirts and more Butta than a dairy factory.
After speaking to the other students on the course with me it was clear that whether it was quitting the job and selling the house to embark on a new career, improve our skills, meet some friends for life, or a combination of them all, the next few months were sure to change all of our lives and surely make us better boarders and skiers.
Travelling family and friends soon said their goodbyes and the group of us proceeded through customs and sought out any last desires before 3 months out of the UK. Be it a trusty pint of Guinness, Marc Jacobs perfume or a Grilled Chicken Katsu Curry, the ‘British’ needs were fulfilled and we proceeded to the gate.
We arrived in Vancouver after a turbulent flight but sailed through passport control much more smoothly. We all collected our bags and loaded up the coach before the final stint of our journey. Exhausted but filled with anticipation we eventually made it to Big White and arrived at our Accommodation.
At this point any onlooker would have been excused for thinking it was Christmas Day. Snow was falling and tiredness was instantly turned into excitement as we emptied into our new home. Like kids on Christmas morning everyone couldn’t believe what they saw with the opening of each room like unwrapping a new present. Some of us hit the hot tub while others hit the sack, we were all going to be happy staying in our new crib.
The next day NBS Sam and NBS Leigh took us into the village and showed us around the resort and we picked up our season passes. A meeting with the ski school director followed and we collected our course material. The afternoon was a chance for those of us dying to try out new equipment to shred some pow. The snow was unbelievable!
Wednesday we had a free day to get back out on the mountain, have a lie-in or for most, a chance to do their best MTV Cribs impression on Skype to family back home.
Thursday and Friday we started our training with the focus on starting to think and act like instructors. Analyzing the piste, learning good places to stop, and having a professional mindset at all times were some of the things covered. The instructors gave us an overview of what to expect in the coming weeks and the week ended with a one-to-one personal feedback session. The instructors were fantastic and everyone was pleased to get started.
At the start of the week we were provided with our meals, all local and fresh foods with the sauciness of Nigella Lawson and the Plethora of Gordon Ramsey the only thing lacking. I agreed to cook and Apartment A were feasting on Szechuan Beef, Salmon Teryaki and Thai Chicken Curry, much appreciated after a days riding.
Friday Night we all went to the Bull Wheel and had our first Friday meal out. The famous Bull Wheel burger and beer combo. A perfect end to a great first week.
Saturday was a chance to lie in and recover from the first Friday night out. Time to kick back and chill out if we wanted to. NBS Leigh put on some trips running down to Kelowna, which gave us the chance to stock up on some food basics, and some essential hot tub beverages. We dropped by One Boardshop on the way back, entering as ourselves with some of us leaving as Snoop Dog, Skeletons and even Chewbacca thanks to Air Hole bandanna face mask purchases.
A bluebird day on Sunday was too inviting not to shred, so most of us hit the mountain and tried to put into practice new riding tips and bits of advice picked up from the Thursday and Friday sessions. That evening there was only one thing for it, and Sunday doubles down at Happy Valley proved to be a perfect way for the group to let their hair down and get to know each other a little better. A perfect end to an awesome first week in Big White.
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