Marc, Tegan and I spent Monday evenings in February learning to ski at Cypress Mountain. They have weekly classes for adults called ALTS (adults learn to ski.) We had already taken our “never ever” classes for total beginners on Mount Seymour. You can read about that here. So this time, we were ready to learn to ski on Cypress…in the dark!
I found these classes quite hard. I was definitely the worst in the class on some weeks, but that made me try even harder. By the final week I was still a bit scared when I go fast BUT I could keep up with the other learners, and I had soooo much fun! If you want to learn to ski, but expensive lessons at the weekend are too pricey for you, this is a really good option. The ski runs were never very busy this late in the evening, so you don’t have to worry about bumping into other skiers.
Details about Cypress Mountain’s ALTS:
- 4 evenings in either January or February
- Each lesson was 2 hours
- We were allowed to ski before and after our lesson (between 5:00pm- 10:00pm
- It cost $269 for lessons, ski equipment hire and lift passes for all four weeks.
- If you’d like to do the same, you can sign up here
- After graduation, you can ski one evening a week for the rest of the season
Cypress Mountain in the daytime:
One of our four weeks landed on a Canadian national holiday, so Marc and I headed up as early as we could to go for a walk before we started skiing. Cypress Mountain isn’t really a mountain, but a bowl, made up of three mountains, Mount Strachan, Black Mountain, and Hollyburn Mountain. On that day, we took a shuttle bus up early and went for a walk before skiing from 5pm. I took a few piccies so, you can get an idea of what Cypress normally looks like in the day time.
I have even more photos of the snowshoeing area on Hollyburn Mountain here. We wandered over to the main area for skiing and snowboarding, on Black Mountain and Mount Strachan. This is where the winter Olympics took place in 2010. So you can see the Olympic rings.
Cypress Mountain has a bar (that serves food), a cafe, a shop selling warm clothes and ski-wear, and plenty of equipment available for hire. They also have loos and lockers.
When you rent gear at Cypress Mountain, it can be a bit of a shambles. You have to write up all your details every week, and it takes a while to line up and get all the correct gear. I didn’t mind that too much though as it meant we all learnt what equipment we needed by the end of the month.
Marc and I went in for burgers one night before our lessons, and the food was actually a lot better than what was available on Mount Seymour. It won’t blow you away, but it’s not too bad, considering they have such a captive audience.
Skiing at sunset:
Most of our lessons started just after the sun went down, but as we managed to get there early one week, I’d like to share some photos of the sunset on Cypress Mountain. This is a lovely way to learn to ski, and see pretty views! My pink nose matched the sky!
It’s pretty nice to see pink fluffy clouds as you get ready to learn to ski!
Normally though, by the time we lined up to wait for everyone outside the rental area, it would be dark. There is actually plenty of light to help you learn to ski. I never felt hampered by the lack of sun during our lessons.
What did the lessons include:
Our group had seven adult learners. We could all manage to ski slowly using the snowplow / pizza technique and turn before the first lesson. Our instructor, Constantine, helped us all improve our control on the turns. He then taught us quite a few tricks to move us towards parallel skiing, and built up our confidence so that we can all manage the blue runs (ish). All of of us could parallel ski (at least some of the time) by the final lesson. On the last lesson he also showed us how to ski backwards.
I loved it when we practiced skiing moves on Black Mountain as it has such lovely views down to Vancouver. It looks like a sparkly city full of fairies up here! My photos are really blurry. Marc didn’t think I should bring my good camera in case I fell on it, so these are from my super-old one! But you can get the idea.
This was our lovely instructor Constantine. His personality was a good mix of sarcasm, humour and encouragement. He made our lessons really fun. Our group was small enough that we could all make friends and bond over our successes and failures. In fact, everyone in our group were complete sweeties.
Our final week was quite misty, so the lights up-lit the clouds above us to give a really beautiful, eerie atmosphere. There were very few people on the mountain, so Constantine challenged us all to try some of the blue runs. I was pretty worried at the top, but once I got over my fear of zooming down the first ledge, it was sooo exhilarating. I fell down a couple of times BUT I can get up and ski again.
Did we Learn to Ski?
In the end, we all graduated! Our group are all now “beginner plus” level. This might not sound very impressive to those of you that grew up sliding down mountains on your holidays. But, as a balance-challenged, mountain-loving blogger, I was (and am still) over the moon!
I can now go to Whistler looking forward to my adventures, rather than just feeling nervous about falling over! Yay!!