BLOG #2: 10 THINGS WORTH KNOWING ABOUT A SKI SEASON IN CANADA
My name is Clara and I have done a winter season in Revelstoke, Canada with Snowminds. I have written down a small list of things that I wish I had known before coming to Canada.
Hope you will read along!
1. CANADIAN CULTURE IS AMAZING!
One thing one quickly finds out is that Canadians are incredibly nice and friendly. Especially in queues for gondolas or chairlifts, there is a nice queue culture and people make room for each other. In addition, Canadians are very helpful and hospitable. A good example is hitchhiking – it often happened that if you were on your way up to the resort you could easily get a lift by hitchhiking. Definitely, something you are not used to at home in little Denmark!
2. WIDE PLANKS IN CANADA? YES PLEASE!
I would recommend that you have your ski gear ready before departure so that you are ready for the hard and intensive training and exam. Once you get to know the area and gained experience in Canadian skiing, there are plenty of opportunities to buy extra equipment and ski gear in Canada in addition to what you have brought with you. I brought my own alpine skis and later bought a couple of extra wide planks. The coolest thing is when you have time off from work, go out and play in the snow with your powder skis! In addition, you also get staff discounts in most places, so you can buy extra equipment for a good price. Another thing I was happy with as well as used a lot was boot fitting (which most resorts have). The staff has a lot of knowledge and are good at guiding one to find the perfect ski boot. After I bought a pair of new ski boots, I was constantly with the boot fitter to make my boot fit perfectly and I made “Custom Foot Beds” which really benefits one in skiing. Service is top class!
My Line Pandora skis, which I am incredibly happy about!
3. DIFFERENT SKI RACE
Be prepared for a different ski terrain than what you are used to in Europe. At my destination in Revelstoke, we had very deep snow and lots of backcountry terrain that I personally was not even used to standing in. I would also say that there was generally steeper terrain. Most blue slopes are similar to a red piste in Europe. There is a lot of tree skiing, which was also new to me, but once you have tried skiing in trees – you just want to keep going! But I took it as a challenge, and then sometimes it’s about overcoming your fear and just jumping into it!
The view from Sub Peak in Revelstoke.
4. AFTER SKI IN ANOTHER WAY
In Canada, there is not quite the same après ski that you are used to in e.g. Austria. In Canada, it’s more about skiing during the day, and then you go out in the evening to e.g. karaoke night. Social life happens more in the evenings and more house parties are held. I think it was cool to have a balance between being able to ski all day and give yourself 100%. Then you could take one or two after-hours beers with colleagues once everyone finished work and meet in the city in the evening.
5. EXERCISE BEFORE YOUR WINTER SEASON
It is a really good idea to be in good shape before you arrive and have had training for your ski season. No matter what destination you arrive in Canada, the first few weeks are pure training. You ski almost every day, so you can get ready for the CSIA Level 1 exam. When you are not used to using your body in the form of skis, it is therefore good to have your muscles and joints warmed up before you start skiing, so you can give 100%. Snowminds also sends out a training program before departure. It is made by physiotherapists and I would definitely recommend that you follow up on it, so you are absolutely top ready for a ski season!
6. LITTLE THINGS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL!
Sewing clothes → if there are holes in your gloves, then it is good to have a sewing kit with you so you can patch them together. That way you avoid spending a lot of money on buying new expensive gloves.
Gaffa tape → you can always use gaffa to save any situation, whether it is a glove, bag, or shot glass that needs to be taped on skis (for a ski shot: D), then gaffa is a sure winner!
Haircut → if the budget is not enough for a hairdresser visit, then a good home haircut is the way forward!
Danish flags → when someone from the team has a birthday, it, of course, gives a good reason for the huge celebration with flags and layer cake ;P
7. USE YOUR FREE TIME TO EXPLORE OTHER RESORTS
You are in Canada and it is now you have the opportunity to visit other resorts. Who knows when you’ll be back in Canada? Therefore, it is a good idea to seize the opportunity and get around Canada and visit other resorts. You easily live in a bubble, if you have only been to your own destination. It’s cool to get out and see other resorts and to explore their ski terrain and resort life. Plus you also get good prices as a ski instructor when buying lift passes.
8. BACKCOUNTRY TOURING
There are many opportunities in Canada to go on a tour and experience the fresh powder snow – which I can DEFINITELY recommend! Bring some of your friends on your day off and plan to tour. In Revelstoke, we were lucky to have the Montana and Kokanee Bowl, which is a great starting point when touring. It is a trip in itself to find the perfect spot to hike up to with a well-deserved lunch break. Then you ski down through some trees and fresh powder – definitely worth the whole hike! When going out backcountry touring, it is required that you have the correct touring gear and most importantly, it is strongly recommended that you have taken an AST course beforehand. Definitely, something to try in Canada!
Go for a walk in the Montana Bowl in Revelstoke.
9. HELI SKI “IT’S A ONE OF A KIND EXPERIENCE “
If you have ever dreamed of heli-skiing, then Canada is the place to do it! It’s the wildest experience and just something to try. Snowminds offers a Heli-Ski Camp in Revelstoke, which I would definitely sign up for. When you’re there it is the time to take your chance and bring some extra money – because it’s an experience of a lifetime!
10. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
The reason I chose to do the winter season in Canada was to build an international network. When you do a winter season in Canada there are not only Canadian ski instructors, many of my colleagues came from all over the world e.g. Australia, England, Germany, etc. I think it’s cool to connect with people who come from different parts of the world and who knows, you might need them when you least expect it.
I hope you got inspired and got something out of reading this list. Also, I hope you choose to do a winter season in Canada – because it’s just the coolest thing!
Lots of ski greetings
// Clara Kauffmann
Do you also feel like a winter season in Canada after reading more about Clara’s amazing experience? Check out the course that Clara was on and read more here.