Welcome to SnowSkool in Big White in 2010, where a large and happy group arrived in early January to train for their Level 1 and / or Level 2 ski instructor and snowboard instructor qualifications. The SnowSkool hosting team here in Big White included course leader Sarah Mitchell, SnowSkool's Marketing Manager for the past year, relishing her first season in Canada. Along side Sarah was Jamie Jones who had successfully completed his Level 2 snowboarding qualification with SnowSkool in Big White last year before helping to host the SnowSkool New Zealand program last summer. Sarah and Jamie were joined temporarily by the SnowSkool boss-man himself, Phil Purdie, who, having travelled over from the UK a few days previously with the 75 SnowSkool students training in Banff for the season, flew to British Columbia to welcome everyone to Big White.
This year in Big White there was a group of 57 students hailing from Great Britain, Ireland and Australia with 27 skiers and 30 boarders, 41 males and 16 females. Most importantly, everyone arrived safely after the long group journey from the UK on Monday. All were relieved to set eyes on Big White in the early hours of Tuesday morning and be given the keys to the apartments which were to be called home for the next 11 weeks. The sight of a hot tub, leather sofas and plasma screen can bring a smile to even the weariest of travellers!
Tuesday morning provided the opportunity to meet the students who had travelled out to the resort early. Everyone received a briefing from the SnowSkool team before heading to the Village Centre to collect their season pass and sort out equipment. With everyone itching to get a few runs in, the afternoon was spent exploring the mountain and experiencing the phenomenal snow that makes Big White one of the best resorts in Canada. In the evening we had our first group meal at the Swiss Bear restaurant in the Village before heading to Snowshoe Sam’s, our new regular local, for some cheeky beers and a few rounds of pool.
Thursday and Friday of the first week provided the first two days of training for the group and the chance to meet the dedicated SnowSkool team of instructors from Big White Ski School who would be working with us over the next 11 weeks and teaching the group everything they needed to know to pass their certification. After our second group meal out at the Market Deli on Friday night, we unfortunately suffered our first injury with Gareth Parker spraining his ankle on the way home. He had to spend some time on the sofa resting up...and keeping us up to date with all the news from the Australian Open Tennis!
Saturday saw the first full day of sunshine on the mountain. While a few people took the shopping bus down to Kelowna to stock up on supplies, the rest of the group spent the day enjoying the breathtaking views from the mountain which had been absent from view for the first part of the week. Still, can't complain about it snowing a lot!
Unfortunately on Monday there was another injury away from the slopes when Sacha Macey fractured her wrist ice skating in the evening after lessons. After the first full week of Monday-to-Friday lessons, we headed out to Gigi’s Bistro for our weekly group meal. After a great dinner that gave the group the chance to catch up with each other, virtually everyone headed across to Sam's to continue the party and show the locals how mass group table dancing really should be done!
With the first two weeks under our belts, the group had settled well in to life on the mountain. With jet lag having finally passed - as well as the initial demands of meeting new people and learning so many new names - it was safe to assume the coming weeks would simply be amazing.
SnowSkool Big White 2010 Team
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