Twas the night before shredmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stiring…Except for one. Me. Long had the day’s been counted off on the calendar, countless countdown timers had been made, but it was finally here. Today, Littlehampton; England, tomorrow Big White; Canada. The excitement was killing me. So finally after three hours sleep I hopped in the car to be taken to the airport. The gateway to the promised snow. After the usual motherly lectures, which were mainly reminders to wash my underwear, I was greeted by a sea of friendly faces, all anxious as to what the next 24 hours could bring. Many different backgrounds and walks of life all brought together by one underlying factor. We all shared a love for the snow. We soon checked in and made it through to the gates, and all seemed to have another thing in common. We all knew it was time for the first drink of the season. It was here, the waiting was over, and there we were, a bunch of snow junkies stood there with the world at our feet.
The next few hours seamed to fly by (pun intended), and we picked up our transfer to the resort. We arrived at what seemed like an episode of Cribs, and then it hit us. This was where we were going to be living for the next three months!!! We all changed into the appropriate attire and hopped straight into the hot tub!
We awoke the next day to realise one thing that we had been oblivious to the previous night while taking a plunge. THE VIEW. OH MY DAYS. So, like a bunch of children on Christmas day we left the house and headed for the village, skipping and jumping with excitement. We proceeded to collect our lift passes and to meet our instructors for the next few weeks; every step we took was accompanied by wide eyes and envy of every person riding past us. We prepared our gear for the next day, but there was another issue at hand; the snow would have to wait for now. We had already seen our first home for the next 11 weeks, it was time to be introduced to the second. Like a light through the darkness, there it was. The holy grail. Snowshoe Sam’s. Walking into Sam’s was a really cool realisation. Watching NBS Ant and NBS Joey being greeted by people they hadn’t seen in a long time gave an insight to exactly what kind of place Big White was. It is more than a super rad mountain where we would shred pow pow and hone our skills. It’s a community where everyone gets to know each other. We were unaware, but we were surrounded by our seasonal family, who will become our friends for life.
A few of us went for a little shred, and got to experience a small slice of the gnarly pie that is Big White. We met our instructors the next day and were formally introduced to the mountain. Our learning had begun. Within the first day we touched on what was top of my personal snowboarding shopping list, the ability to ride switch. It was the beginning of the detuning of our riding, something that seams frustrating to someone who has been riding for a while, but in fact it was the opposite. It showed us bad habits as well as showed us the difference between the three teaching styles of Ginger Dom, Scottish Frazer and Canadian Jake. In the afternoon we divided into three groups, and expanded on ideas proposed in the morning. One thing that personally touched my young inner grasshopper instructor was a comment that Dom made. “A lesson is more about the level of teaching; it is also about the experience”. Advice like this would become the blocks that we will use to build our own teaching styles.
In the evening a few of us headed down into Kelowna to pick up some essentials… Beer, Red cups and ping pong balls…and food. On the drive home we experienced our first white out while in a car! As much as it should have scared the pants off us all, it in fact filled us all with excitement. We knew that the day after would be one of our first experiences of a powder day on our new home mountain.
In the morning was met back with our instructors to expand on the base skills that had been made the previous day. We made our way over to black forest where we experienced the famous Okanagan champagne powder tree runs. While there Dom taught us a fun game to play to develop on skills from previous days. Games such as these would form a base to different methods we could use to teach different skills. Oh and while there Dom showed us a front flip off of penguin rock…without telling us…which as you can imagine had us all in awe!! Later on that evening, after dinner at Santé, NBS Ant and NBS Joey showed us once again the party side of Big White with the celebration of Chris’s birthday and my own graduation, by holding the NBS Olympics. Challenges varied from downing a pint (which was a non-alcoholic beverage of course) to a very heated dance off. All I can say is that I may have won 4-1. Sorry I had to bring that up Chris. One of the coolest things about Big White was that while we were out I had the opportunity to share a beer with one of the instructors and get a good feel about what it is like to be an instructor. Not only are these instructors really good at their job, but they are always up for a laugh, which just shows how strong Big White’s community is.
Saturday was plain and simply a day of relaxing. The previous day we had been told of the importance of having your snowboard set up into the correct position, which we played around with in preparation for the following day. In the morning we woke up promptly to the powder that had fallen the night before. Two words. Gem Lake. The place to be on a powder day! The crew were shown the ancient art of board waxing accompanied by a few bevvies and some beer pong. Now I get to this point in the diary where I reach the current point in time. I’m going to love you all and with the knowledge that up in Snowpines we are waiting for a roast dinner to cook. Ill let that sink in, as I bet you thought we were a bunch of snow bums with no class!