Exam week is upon us! All the groups hard work has come down to the next week!

We’ve been lucky enough to get some great weather for the SnowSkoolers to showcase all they’ve learnt over the last 11 weeks!

Monday was the official start of Spring here in Canada and the weather was unbelievable. It was a perfect spring riding day, the sun was shining, the snow was fast and there wasn’t a breath of wind to speak of. The boarders on the SnowSkool course began their first day of examination riding at 9am Monday morning. Split up into smaller groups and distributed amongst several of the most proficient instructors in the area, the gang headed off to the Strawberry and Standish lifts to begin their Level 2 instructor exams!

The skiers had their second last day of lessons for the season on Monday and used it to fine tune their riding techniques before their exams. Mock lessons and technical vocabulary exercises were defiantly the theme of the day.

The clouds closed in on Tuesday and with them came a sprinkling of fresh snow. Day 2 of the snowboarders’ exams went down without a hitch. The morning started with some indoors activities, mostly focusing on teaching techniques and explaining how the rest of the exams would work. Being the last day of lessons for the Ski groups the morning was used to perfect a few teaching and riding methods. The afternoon was a fun day of riding for the skiers. Ski Boss Kenji, an instructor working with SnowSkool for several years now, continued his tradition of a final race around the mountain. Challenging his group to skiing every lift and magic carpet at Sunshine Village in under one hour and 45 minutes, Kenji’s group planned a route and headed off. Kenji has a history of great success in the level 2 arena when his group finished the challenge sub 1.45, a superstition he has had for years. His group finished the race in 1 hour and 40 minutes, a time that bodes well for their exams!

Mark’s ski group, similarly enjoying their last afternoon in lessons, headed over the South Side Shutes on the Goats Eye Mountain to shred some steep runs. The group, including Tom Howse, Rachel Penfold, Hayley, James Keeble, Helen, AJ and Russ Girard bombed down the shutes and deep into Goats Eye trees through a run called Eagle Creek, which reaches a climax with a huge cliff drop and gnarly shute, which of course the group handled and skied with ease and maturity!

Wednesday marked Day 1 for the skiers Level 2 examinations. The mercury pushed double figures and the warm snow made for some excellent riding conditions. By rotating leaders, the ski groups took turns running a mock lesson throughout the day. The examiners, focusing on technical vocabulary, teaching skills and overall riding, assess each student individually and while giving advice they also test for the adaptability of each student. The day wrapped up for the boarders and skiers late, and they returned home for dinner tired but excited at the possibility of being level 2 instructors by 24 hours’ time.

The final examination day commenced early on Thursday morning bright and early. The majority of the snowboarder groups have had their teaching examined already and the final day focused on riding technique and the ability to adapt their riding. The guys and girls moved away from the Strawberry and Standish chairlifts and instead headed towards some more challenging areas to showcase their skills in tree runs and moguls. Day 2 of the exams for the skiers focused as much on teaching as riding. Mock lessons continued throughout the day as the examiners studied each individual to try and find areas that need improving.

By 5pm Thursday night all the SnowSkool group here in Banff found out their results. It was a resounding success. The Snowboarders discovered their results in the Day Lodge in Sunshine Village, shortly after the Skiers got theirs in the Base Lodge. By 7pm Thursday night the majority of the group were full of beer and in high spirits. The celebrations continued throughout the night and well into Friday morning! Hoodoos, a popular nightclub in Banff, put on a special event for the group, a guest DJ and a glow paint station allowed the guys to get super funky with their celebrations!

Unsurprisingly there was not a massive contingent of SnowSkoolers awake early on Friday morning to get the bus to Sunshine Village ski resort. The day started slowly but by midday the celebrations continued with more beers in the Spring sun.

On Saturday a lot of the group, lead by Adam the resort manager in Banff, walked to the Cave and Basin historic site. A trip through the museum was followed by a stroll through the marshes of Vermillion Lakes under the shadow of Solapur Mountain.

The weather over the weekend has been sublime with temperatures pushing double figures and the sun belting down. Spring is well and truly upon us and the SnowSkool guys and girls have two weeks of freeriding to enjoy the conditions!

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