And so to the final instalment from SnowSkool in Big White for 2014 where our last week has been action-packed.  We created wonderful new memories as we smashed the L2 exams before having to say goodbye to all our new and dear friends and move on to life’s next adventure.  Meanwhile, check out the photos of us in our final week in Biggy ...


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Our final week began with the snowboarders launching into their official CASI training while the skiers had two days left with their instructors before exams began. After a restful Sunday night (for once) everyone was sprightly come Monday morning. It was an early start of 8.30am for the snowboarders as they split into the groups they would have for the duration of the 4-day CASI course exam. They all met up in the afternoon in the conference centre at The Big White Inn to review that day’s lessons. Everyone except injured Harry managed to go resist the temptation of joining in at The Blarney Stone where St Paddy’s Day antics were in full swing. The sun was shining, the Irish were partying (for something completely different!) but impressively, it was back home to rest and study.
On Tuesday, we had an unexpected dump of snow. Having checked the reports which predicted only a dusting of 10cm, we were instead blessed with 30! Warm-up runs that morning were super fun with first tracks all the way putting everyone in exactly the right frame of mind for the day ahead.  
It was crunch time on Wednesday for the snowboarders with the first day of their official exam. They were given a teaching scenario in response to which they presented their lessons to the group. The skiers set up a corridor at the top of T-bar to really get a feel for short-radius turns, with double the number of instructors keeping a watchful eye. It was a tiring day and they went to The Bull Wheel with Jamie Jack to unwind with a Guinness while watching the video analysis.
Exams continued for everyone on Thursday, which was the last day for the snowboarders. They finished a little earlier at 2pm and had the chance to pop home and change before results were announced at 4pm. The pass-rate was really high but a few missed out on one of the two elements and we wish them the best of luck in re-sits next week. A few people headed to The Bull Wheel while Mark, Leon, Pauline and Colin went to 6 Degrees for a nice meal and then on to Sam’s to celebrate.
On Friday, it was the skiers’ turn to take delivery of their results and at 4pm, we found out they had ALL passed! A few headed to The Woods and others back to Raven for vodka jellies. A couple of the snowboarders met up with the main man of CASI for a ride-around the mountain that day before it was off to Sam’s collectively that evening.  Everyone danced their socks off and played the ‘nail and hammer’ game continuously all night until no more shots could be consumed – the last person to knock their nail all the way in with the small end of the hammer has to buy a round of shots. 
Saturday was cloudy in more ways than one.  A few switched up and swapped equipment for the day while others had a well-earned rest. That evening, the Raven residents met up for a group hot tub then headed to Happy Valley for $10 steak sandwich – whatever floats your boat! 
It snowed a lot throughout Saturday and as it was predicted to be a bluebird day on Sunday, everyone was up relatively early and on their way over to Gem Lake to get some freshies. Paul, Stewart, Nigel, Brendon, Tommy and Dan had the first day of their Level 1 Park exam. That evening was the last Sunday Doubles at Sam’s for those getting the group flight home so everyone was out in full force. 
Monday brought the last day of the Park exam and that evening we all met up for our last-ever group meal at The Bull Wheel. Al as always put on a steamer of a buffet with chicken wings and all sorts for the appetizer; salmon, mash and veggies for mains, not to mention a variety of deserts including cheese cake, choc truffles and fruit salad! Al picked some prizes randomly out of a bucket, including a shot of absinthe for Leon, some very tight women’s t-shirts for Dave, Chalky and DanDan and an XXL hockey sweater for Tommy. Go figure! Shots were well and truly circling with everyone using up their vouchers before heading over to Sam’s for one last time.
The next morning, the first leg of the LONG journey back to the UK got underway when the coach left for the airport left at 8am.  Top effort from all those who got up to say goodbye to their friends from the other side of the world. It has been an incredible three months and safe to say some solid friendships for life have been formed. Thanks to all the instructors for their hard work on our behalf and to Al for looking after our rowdy bunch at The Bull Wheel every week. We hope those wanting to go on and instruct find work quickly, wherever in the world that may be. And if it is back in Big White, then we shall see you next winter! Nice one, SnowSkoolers – you’ve been top notch!
Goodbye and good luck, everyone!
SnowSkool Colin and SnowSkool Emma
Cousre Hosts - SnowSkool Big White 2014
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