My SnowSkool Scholarship in Banff – Week One

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Course Diaries

Shauna Rigby from Radford College, Canberra, has been awarded the inaugural SnowSkool scholarship in association with NSW Interschools Snowsports.   Shauna is undertaking 13 weeks of training to become a Level 2 certified ski instructor in Banff, Canada.  Her association with Interschools began when she was just 8 years old and she went on to become one of the ACT’s most successful alpine and skier-cross racers.  Shauna was selected because of her leadership qualities, her concern and time for others and because of what an outstanding representative she would be for SnowSkool, for Interschools and for Australia.  Here she tells us about her experiences in her first week:

Wow! – What an awesome week.

From the queue in Sydney airport to shredding powder in Banff Alberta, my first week away from home in Australia has been highly eventful and eye opening experience. After spotting the other SnowSkoolers in Sydney, we all flew to Auckland, New Zealand for the first leg of what seemed like an endless journey to Canada. Representing Australia of course, we all went straight to the bar in the airport to meet each other and get to know everyone.  The flight was long but we eventually made it to Calgary and looking out of the plane window was a spectacular view of the snow-covered city.  Following a two hour bus ride we made it to the Hostel in Banff, met with SnowSkool Dunk and finally settled down into our rooms for a well needed nap.

We spent the first couple of days buying new ski gear and finding our way around what was to be our home for the next 3 months. There were only 17 of us, all Australian, who were staying at the hostel for the first 3 nights.  One big bedroom party made it seem like we’d known each other for years.

The UK group arrived the following day and we all went to the hostel’s pub that night to have a few drinks and sing some karaoke. It was a very enjoyable night!

First day on the slopes happened to be the coldest day in Banff this season, with a temperature of -27 degrees C.  We were put in random groups and went for a ski with our new instructors.  I got a guy named Chris who was awesome. However, after only 2 runs I couldn’t feel my feet or hands and we all went into a house on the mountain to warm up and get to know the other instructors.  The day seemed to last for hours due to the cold temperature, but we stopped many times and had a warm lunch.

Throughout the week our groups stayed the same but we swapped different instructors each day.  They were all good in their own ways, but their main focus of course was getting us out of oldhabits and improving our style while having some fun.   By the end of the week it started to dump down with lots of snow which meant we were heading up the mountain for a BIG powder day! This was the case and it was such a fun day although my group was very tired by the end.  Chris took us all over the mountain, including an avalanche danger area which had the best snow all day!

After a long week of skiing it was finally Friday.  This meant it was the night for the SnowSkool pub crawl!  All 60 of us went down to a bar and enjoyed a night of Jaeger Bombs and beers, then heading off to the famous Dancing Sasquatch nightclub.  The night turned out to be great! Everyone was out dancing and having fun.  The only bummer was waiting for a taxi for one hour in -20 degrees C.

The weekend has been very relaxing with  SnowSkoolers watching movies, doing their laundry, sleeping, waxing boards and skis, eating lots of food and basically recovering from an awesome week of skiing and socialising!  The plan for tonight is to join the locals on their famous pub crawl into town. With most people going it is bound to be a good night.

Everyone here is so nice and easy going that it makes it so much easier to be away from home!  I know my mum was wondering why I hadn’t emailed her in days… that was due to the great amount of fun I was having!   It seems like we have been here for months now, but its only been a week!  I know by the end of this experience we will have made life long friends.

Shauna Rigby

For more information on future scholarship programmes, click HERE

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