Dom was inspired by an issue of WL to sack it all of for six weeks, travel to Canada and get qualified to teach shredding! He took off with NothinButSnow, here is his diary from the first week…
This adventure all started for me back in late October when Whitelines issue 110 dropped through the door, some readers may recall i wrote into Whitelines regarding a letter another reader had written about feeling stuck in a rut. I found I really related to it and it got me thinking that I really needed a kick up the arse. I found that kick up the arse in the very same issue in the chalet and camp guide in the form of an advert by the guys at NothinButSnow about their instructor training camps.
I got online instantly to do a little research and ended up booking within 24 hours of reading the advert, after persuading the missus of course. The NBS guys Sam and Leigh were both very helpful and even changed my flights for me so I could see a bit more of Canada. Through the whole time they kept in touch with regular emails with any information that would be useful for the trip.
In the run up to the course we were all invited to join a Facebook group for our trip so that we could chat and have a bit of banter with our fellow travellers. As time drew near we all got noticeably more excited, comparing what we got for Christmas, how many days of work left.
Day One Monday 6th January: D day, I awoke early from very little sleep (even after fifteen years of snowboarding I still can’t sleep the night before a trip) and had breakfast with my wife before saying sayonara for six weeks.
NBS Sam and Harry met us at Heathrow to receive our NBS goodies (hoodie, t shirt, beanie, bandana and Butta wax). Everyone was excited to meet our new found Facebook friends and get the trip started.
We all checked in and after a pretty uneventful flight we landed into Vancouver before making our way through immigration and stepping out on to Canadian soil.
Once all the bags arrived we all went outside to our transfer bus to Big White which was scheduled to take five and a half hours, about an hour into the journey the driver made a fifteen minute comfort stop for us and we all hit the Golden Arches for a bite to eat. Back onboard the magic bus that would take us up to the snow spirits were high but energy was low – pretty much everyone had a nap at some point.
Upon arrival in Big White we were taken to our digs, and I have to say they’re pretty damn sweet, I was in a three bedroom Condo which was fully equipped with kitchen, washer dryer, two bathrooms, large living/dining area and our own private hot tub. Best of all – it was ski in ski out.
Four evening meals were delivered weekly to our fridge freezer for us to take in turns to cook, these were easy to prepare and delicious and there was always enough left for lunch the next day, on Friday we all went out for a group meal to make sure the group remained interactive off the slopes.
Welcome to Big White
Day Two: We were all met from our accommodations by the NBS team and given a tour of the village before meeting the ski and snowboard school instructors who gave us a brief outline of what was to come. They gave us the materials that we would need throughout the course (at 39 it’s been a long time since I last had homework). I used my jet lag induced early mornings to my advantage to hit the books and get stuck in!
Those who were buying new equipment went to the relevant ski/snowboard shop to get their new gear (with a pretty sweet 25% pro deal discount) whilst the others went up the hill for a few hours, first impressions were good although we couldn’t really see the mountain for all the snow (not that we were complaining).
Day Three: We all met at the village centre for some group riding and basic mountain orientation for a few hours before buddying up and just having fun in the fresh powder, only stopping for a few beers at the Bull Wheel before heading home for a large JD in the hot tub and dinner. The good life.
Day Four: It was time to meet our instructors for the next two days we were split into groups of seven to just ride for a couple of days with our and get to know them. We were shown all around the mountain and givenlittle pointers to help with our riding (apparently I twerk like Miley Cyrus on my heel side turns so all my new buddies would sing Wrecking Ball when it was my turn). The feedback we received was all positive and helpful and specific to each of our needs, then we were just given ‘mileage’ to concentrate on these pointers.
Day Five: More of the same (did I mention it was still snowing?) – just riding, blowing out the cobwebs and concentrating on our general riding skills. Alyn our Instructor also ran through the three basic riding competencies and the skills needed for those.
Days Six and Seven: These were our ‘days off’, free to get shredding in the 70+cm of fresh snow we had received since our arrival!
I had a really great first week meeting new people and learning new skills and just having fun, I’m really looking forward to what week two brings and I’ll never forget the legendary hot tub parties at the Snowbird Lodge.
The lights dim as the plane comes in to land, turning the inside of the cabin the same dusky purple colour as the sky outside my window. Peering through the porthole for the first time since the sun went down, I strain my eyes to make out something of the empty-looking landscape.
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