So a week has passed since my last post and the course is already going way quicker than I could have imagined! After 3 days on the hill, Monday was a day off. I was full of good intentions, planning on having a bit of a lie-in, skyping home then heading up on the last bus to Sunshine Village for a bit of free skiing. I managed to meet the first 2 objectives but failed miserably on the third, instead spending over an hour talking to the parents before deciding to give the good intentions a miss (were they really that realistic anyway?) and have a restful day, starting with the hot-tub, then heading into town to 'Second-Cup' and my first proper coffee since arriving in Canada. Can't really remember what I got up to in the afternoon but in the evening, with no supper provided, Emily and I headed out for Chinese and then to the Cinema to see Les Miserables. Now if anyone hasn't seen it and is planning to, I warn you take lots of tissues because I cried most of the way through and I never normally cry at films! The film surpassed all my expectations (though Hugh Jackman's rendition of 'Bring him Home' was not up to Alfie Boe's standard) and I returned to the hotel an emotional wreck and collapsed into bed ready for the following days' instruction.
Our ski groups changed for this week and all the instructors rotated. Me, Lewis and Olivia were together again along with 3 others, Abi, Bill and Billy and our instructor was Kelly. She is a Level 3 instructor from Ontario on her first season teaching for Nonstop, but has taught all around Canada and in Australia too. The first lesson of the week as always was at lake Louise and thankfully the weather was a lot warmer (though still pretty freezing!!). This week our main objectives were to continue to work on turning, stance and pole-planting during turns as well as having an afternoon session starting to work on skills for park Skiing. To be honest all the days have sorted faded into one long day, all I know was that on Tuesday we were at Lake Louise, Wednesday at Norquay and Thursday and Friday at Sunshine! One of the days just before lunch, for me, something suddenly clicked and I finally understood what all the instructors were saying about smooth turns, the correct stance and all that jazz, unfortunately after lunch that had all gone again and I was back to square one! One of the parts of the course, is that our skiing gets filmed so we can see what mistakes we're making and how we can make improvements. It feels really weird doing the skiing and thinking you've done everything right like the instructor is telling you, but then watching back realising you're hardly doing it at all! So personal objective #1: must try harder and exaggerate everything, I don't have to look at me so it's everyone else's problem.
We skied more varied terrain this week including a lot of moguls (a lot more fun and a lot less daunting when you know how to do them!), moving on to black runs, some tree runs layered with fresh powder that is as deep as your poles are long and the usual runs we had skied on the previous week. I add at this point that our 2 days at Sunshine the weather wasn't the most cooperative! In a complete contrast to our beautiful, clear blue skies and bright sunshine of the previous week the sky was white, the ground was white, the light was low, is was snowing and the wind was blowing. In short you couldn't see far and judging the terrain was difficult. Not fabulous to ski in but actually pretty useful for putting into practice everything we'd learned from both last week and this, because if you didn't do it right, over you'd fall ending up with a face full of snow and not a clue which way was the ground and which was the sky!! So a bit of a blessing in disguise. On our final afternoon we swapped instructors back to Anna for a session on park skiing. Because of the visibility being so bad we first practiced skills on the slopes such as side-slipping, jumping and skiing backwards which is actually really fun and not as hard as it looks! We then entered the park to learn a bit about safety and to have a go at sliding across some of the boxes just in our ski boots, slightly precarious but fun and I actually can't wait to have a proper go at it but maybe at the moment it might be a better idea to sort out the proper skiing first!!
This week our tech session was all about tuning skis. On Thursday night a group of us skiers walked to 'The Tuneshop' on the industrial estate on the edge of Banff. We were greeted by Dave and his team who explained to us all about how to tune skis (unsurprisingly!) edging, waxing, how to repair scratches and gouges in the base of skis and so on. He also explained ways to avoid causing more harm than good to your skis when tuning them yourself, to be honest although it was all very interesting, I got even more confused as the talk went on and came to the conclusion that, if I need my skis tuning I'll just take them to the Tuneshop!!
This week there were also 2 birthdays, Joel and Mike. Joel's 21st was on Thursday night and most people joined him to celebrate after our tech session had finished. I didn't because as usual I was hugely tired but I'm guessing everyone had a pretty good night and a not so nice morning after, judging by the small numbers that made it out to Sunshine on Friday morning and the silence on the bus both on the way there and on the way back!! Everyone celebrated Mike's birthday on Saturday by heading to Mel's for dinner and drinks then to Devil's Gap, where he was plied with shots of increasing intensity and disgustingness (cement mixer anyone??). I (having stayed boringly sober) made my excuses at 11 pm to seek the hotel and bed while the rest headed to Aurora's for more fun?? Each to their own!!
I might add at this point that Saturday and Sunday were free days. Most of the group enjoyed a lie-in and general recuperation, except I had to get up at the crack of dawn for a pre-arranged Skype, first thing on Saturday. A lot of the group decided to head out to ski but a leisurely morning followed for me with brunch at Mel's with Issy and Emily then whiling away the afternoon with a bit of this and a bit of that. Sunday followed a similar pattern with a lot of the group heading out skiing, but I chose to be lazy and took a second day off to relax before our 3rd intense week of instruction!!