My SnowSkool Scholarship in Banff by Shauna Rigby – Week Four

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Course Diaries

Hello again from Banff at the end of Week 4 – just in time for the start of our Level 1 exams.  Yikes!

As we woke up early on Monday morning, we checked the forecast for the day as usual:  minus 30 degrees C with a chance of wind chill to minus 44 degrees C!  Not the best thing to wake up to!   Despite the horrible forecast, most SnowSkoolers rugged up and got on the bus to Sunshine for a chilly day to start another week with new instructor and group of students. I was meant to be put with the instructor Dom this week but he was off doing a Level 4 instructors’ course which left our group with a woman named Sophie, a very experienced skier who loves skiing back country and moguls! We focused on our intermediate parallel turns with a big focus pivoting drills. After a long day I decided to go to the gym with some others and sign up for a month’s membership. It didn’t occur to me until too late that I was playing in the soccer competition afterwards so I did a lot of cardio. After a day of skiing, an hour at the gym and an hour playing soccer, I was pretty wrecked. However, the soccer was still a lot of fun – I was the only girl in the comp that night which made it a bit more scary. All the boys played so well and by the end of the night I had slowly got the hang of it.

Tuesday was another perfect day with blue skies. It was a bit cold but nothing compared to yesterday. Sophie kept us working on our pivoting all day to perfect it. After lunch, we did some videoing and analysis and then focused more on teaching others to ski. I was with Alex and Johnny and they got to be instructors and help fix my pivoting issues! By the end of the afternoon we had all given it a shot and seemed pretty confident in teaching for our Level 1 exam next week. After dinner that night I went into town to get my skis tuned for a race in Norquay on Wednesday. I bumped into everyone celebrating Alex’s birthday and decided to stay for a while.

The weather was really warm on Wednesday on another bright blue bird day. In the morning we worked on being teachers and students again. At lunch the snow was too good to waste so James and I went out for a couple of fast runs while everyone was still eating. I came home and had an early dinner with Sam, Peter and Fraser so we could head up to Norquay by 6:15pm. Chris, the instructor, was kind enough to give us a lift up there and a lot of encouragement once the races began. It was a great night and everyone finished with a huge smile on their face. I had quite a few bruises to show off after the night – hitting those gates really hurts! There was a lucky bib draw afterwards and a few of us won some t-shirts and beanies. The night was so much fun and hopefully more SnowSkoolers will come and join in on it next week. Jam night was on in the Storm Cellar when we got home but I was so tired I left pretty early and went to bed for a goodnight’s sleep.

On Thursday we had another new instructor because Sophie was completing a first aid course.  Nathalie made us focus on the beginner side of teaching. We did one run then went to the magic carpet to learn how to buckle up ski boots and how to teach a beginner from the very start!  The cold temperature was made more noticeable because we weren’t really moving around a lot. For dinner I met up with some family friends and they took me to the Fairmont which is a huge castle hotel in Banff. It was amazing! We then went out to Tony Romas for some yummy ribs.

On Friday it was dumping with thick snow when we arrived at the mountain which made us all excited. Nathalie took us free skiing through the trees on Wa Wa and we found some great powder. We did some more videoing of our intermediate parallel turns and then went in for lunch, after which we went to Goats Eye and got paired up. One person was the leader and the other had to follow right on their tail and copy everything they did. We went over moguls, through trees, over jumps and down steep runs. Lots of fun for everyone but it was so tiring trying to keep up! Nathalie made us do some synchronized skiing as a big group afterwards. At first we were all out of time with each other but by the end we had fully perfected it. That night we had some great burgers for dinner which were SO satisfying. It was karaoke in the Storm Cellar plus Peter Widdup’s birthday which turned out to be a funny mix! Peter was up on stage singing a duet of Summer Lovin’ from Grease. It was hilarious. Karaoke is always a blast!

I had a another great week with everyone and next week will hopefully go well. Fingers crossed for our Level 1 exam!


For more information on future scholarship programmes, click HERE

  1. Janet Kenyon says:

    Hi Shauna,

    I just had a look at your blog- sounds like you are having a fantastic time. we had a great time in Canada on our skiing holiday … we looked out for you during our very brief stop in Banff… after ice skating on lake louise… but you were probably off partying somewhere… or playing soccer!!! Take care and have fun and hi from all the Kenyon family!!

    Cheers Janet

  2. Jonathan says:

    Hi Shauna,
    have been reading your posts and following each week up until the Level 1 exams – it’s a challenge to go back to absolute basics and do them very well! Snowploughs and maximum speed on minimum terrain now have your respect! Keep up the great work and entertaining reports!

  3. Michelle Hood says:

    Enjoying the blog Shauna, and looking forward to hearing how you went in the exam. Sue you will ace it like everything else in life you take on. Sounds like the best experience for a gap year. Hope you catch up with Ben one weekend.

  4. snowskool says:

    Thanks for all your responses! Glad you are enjoying the posts 🙂

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