Thirteen weeks in skiing and snowboarding paradise have flown by and the time to head home is sadly upon us. The final week were in Banff has been action packed while everyone on the group tried the best to squeeze as much as they could.
The All-Ability CADs course ran its second day on Monday. AJ, Helen, Hayley, Cam, Sommerset and Ali were among the group getting extremely valuable and interesting tuition. The course, run by the Rocky Mountain Adaptive Ski School based up at Sunshine Village, was run over three days and taught the group how to use alternative snow equipment, such as a ‘sit-ski’ and also how to understand and teach those with disabilities how to ski, which allows them to enjoy the mountain to its full potential. A really amazing course.
The final week really gave the snowskool gang a taste of what spring in the Rockies is all about and Tuesday was a pearler! Bluebird skies with warm air and no wind made for some amazing skiing conditions. Some snow overnight added to this and the group were throwing down crazy stunts and new tricks all over the mountain. The final day of the CADs adaptive course wrapped up with everyone passing with flying colors!
The snow continued to fall through to Wednesday and the group got one last powder day! Tom Howse and Sam V were among a number of Snowskoolers hitting a freeriding zone known as ‘Delirium Dive’ all day. The snow in there was amazing and the guys and girls got some final Pow turns, that just may have been some of the best of the season.
The Sun was back out on Thursday and the trend of throwing your body off cliffs and off huge jumps continued! Ollie Williams landed his first 540 and 720’s on skis, a really cool and amazing feat, but he wasn’t alone. New features were hit all over the park by a lot of the group whilst Damian M continued to go ham of some of the largest cliffs in Sunshine Village, what an animal! Plenty of gear swapping also went down, AJ and Nico swapped boards and skis and were again among a large number of the group to try their hand a new discipline. Harry King, Chris Granger and Will Hunt used the abundance of snow to hit another freeride area known as ‘WildWest” and skied down some of the most insane shutes in the Rockies.
The clouds closed a little on Friday but it didn't stop the Snowskoolers. Nearly 60 girls and boys crammed the busses and headed up for what would be the last day of riding for many. The snow was falling hard all day Friday, despite this Will Hunt, Dan G, Ali, Damian, AJ and Harry King used got undressed down to their boxers for a classic ‘undie’ run. Which lead to plenty of laughs and plenty of cold buttocks. The group descended on ‘Trappers’, the on-hill bar, for some early afternoon beverages and snacks. This is where, for many, the long night ahead began!
The final supper was served with plenty of beers scattered across the tables and the energy was emotional! One final night on the town was planned for the group and they held nothing back. Chanting and yelling all the way to town the guys and girls drank and danced at a bar called ‘Devil’s Gap’ before moving on to the nightclub ‘Sasquatch’.
The night was a great success, however in the process of nursing painful hangovers almost the entire group slept through a 25cm pow day on Saturday! Gilad Angel braved the headache to get amongst the powder and was joined by Tom Mascie Taylor. Kirsten, Mason, Christian, Lana, Thijmen, Logan and James Keable were among a big group who made the most of the amazing sunny Saturday afternoon by having a BBQ on the Hostel lawns. Plenty of sausages and steaks and a few final beers helped with the startling realization that, in 48 hours, it would all be over!
By 11am Sunday the rooms were empty, bags were packed and the Snowskool group in Banff waited patiently for their airport transfer. At the airport emotions were running high, as were the tears. Strangers to each other only thirteen weeks ago, now lifelong friends said goodbye in a barrage of hugs and kisses, many with plans to meet up in the near futures, even more with plans to come back to Banff again soon.
It has been an amazing season at Sunshine Village. We have been blessed with amazing snow and weather and an even more amazing group of 60 guys and girls who have become close friends and grown a great appreciation for the mountain and ski hills of this area, all while getting qualifications that can take them all around the world in the name of skiing and snowboarding.