Monday 18th January 2016
And it begins. The first full week of our CASI level 1 snowboard instructor course and everyone is bouncing off the walls waking up to music and prepping for our first day with our French instructor, Jereme. After chucking down some pancakes and maple syrup we head to the Snowghost chair lift for our first run of the day. The snow gods had been good to us (again) and left 10cm of fresh pow to bring us down the mountain. We meet Jereme in the village centre and after a brief chat we all quickly realise that the French don’t just produce foul smelling cheeses, but snowboard instructors with unbelievable banter too. We fly down the mountain to get a lift to the top and the views from the top of the T-bar lift are so sick that Jereme explains how all he wants us to do for the first three days is ride and see how we all go stopping intermittently to explain and perfect the different CASI riding and teaching techniques. By the end of the first day we had all grown a new pair of snowboarding legs and were chomping at the bit for day two to push our riding further.
Tuesday 19th January 2016
First chair up and were sat with Jereme heading back up the mountain for another day of riding. Today Jereme explains how he wants to focus on improving each of our individual techniques by analysing how we ride and asking us to focus on aspects of our riding by looking at the CASI fundamental riding skills. I was told that I used too much inclination in my riding and not enough anklination with my ankles by bending my knees more at the latter section of the turn. Then after a couple of runs things started to click and I was bombing it down the mountain riding in a completely different way. That afternoon we had a complete shred off and were shown how to butter slide and 180 jib – bakery’s up and down BC are gonna be screaming for us NothinButShred boarders to butter their bread.
Wednesday 20th January 2016
Today we headed over to Gem Lake ski area because Big White had been busy dumping overnight…again. Jereme had brought his video camera to show us how our riding technique looked like from a outside perspective. After flicking past the various pictures of filthy french cheeses on his already congested memory card we found the ones he had shot of us earlier. Understandably we weren’t all anywhere near the pro standard we had envisioned in our own heads, but we had had come on shred amounts since when we arrived a week ago. That night I’d liked to say I behaved and had a yarn with everyone over a couple of sauce bottles in the hot tub like every night, but Sams Wednesdays wings night was on the cards and 20 hot wings later and a couple of jugs everyone was set for another big night at Biggie.
Thursday 21st January 2016
Teaching day. The land of ‘Happy Valley’ awaited where the slopes were sick and the tree runs even sicker. Not really. This is the beginners area where you see five year olds launch out there skis into padded toys. Jereme took us through the CASI Quick-Ride designed to get a novice snowboarder to shred in a matter of hours. Everyone was to teach sections of this the following day so ears pricked we spent the day learning what we were out here to do. Get people drunk. Na teach snowboarding.
Friday 22nd January 2016
Back down to Happy Valley to try our hand at teaching for the first time. Fruity was a stand out with his MJ dance move incorporated into a toe side turn weirdly enough. But everyone actually did pretty well considering it was our first shot at it. Then as soon as we were done we were rewarded with a fat powder session with Jerome through the trees of Black Forest for the last time with this instructor before our next one the following week. There was no time to get emotional as we were all flying through the trees like a frenchman at a frog panini. Then it was back to Sams for four jugs of beer with Jerome for individual assessments of our riding and work-ons for the following weeks. Shower and changed we were back up to the village again for our weekly Friday meal out this time at The Globe. Delicious meal washed down by shot after shot as Reps Ant and Joey gave out the Sams bar 50 shot challenge for the weeks ahead. Fastest to cross them all off wins. Sam ended the innings with 10, then a pie and face plant in the snow.
Saturday 23rd January 2016
After a midday wake up, the following night had clearly taken its toll on us all and we were all feeling pretty sorry for ourselves. The slopes were a no go for the safety of not only ourselves but the good people of Big White and Squirrels. Hot tub session it was, while some of the group headed down to Kelowna to stock up on fridge essentials for the week..and food too. Three Adam Sandler movies later we were all feeling better and had a good family meal before having an early night safe in the knowledge that todays massive snowfall was tomorrows blue sky shred today.
Sunday 24th January 2016
Bright and early feeling a million times fresher than the day before we headed up Snowghost chair and headed left through the trees. The snow was so deep we almost sank so had to sit right back on our boards and first chair of the day meant first lines of the day. Felix was flying on skis today and everyone was already noticeably skiing and snowboarding so much better than they had been a week ago. One of the best things about Big White is it’s a massive skiing area yet because it’s always empty you constantly run into your mates on the mountain and what started with three of us on the first chair up ended with twenty of us gunning through fresh powder. At 2pm I headed back to the apartment for a deserved swim in the pool and hot tub to rest the legs for another full week of training!