Learning to Ski in Vancouver – Mount Seymour

Learning to Ski in Vancouver – Mount Seymour

This is a review about learning to ski on Mount Seymour.

It has always seemed to me that most people that love skiing are people that first learned when they were children, and so have always been able to slide down slopes gracefully. It just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that any sensible adult would like to learn from scratch. At the same time, I love mountains so it seems a shame that I’ve never had the pleasure of viewing the pretty mountain scenery in winter with all the other winter sports lovers.

While we live in Vancouver with easy access to mountains, Marc and I both decided it might be fun to learn to ski together. Marc can already snowboard, so we chose to learn skiing as a thing we could do together. I have been a little nervous about it. I mean, I am not athletic, I have terrible balance and I get cold easily; So I am the first to admit that falling down mountains on plastic planks sounds like a bad idea for me. ButΒ I *did* want to try. My love of mountain scenery was a pretty good incentive!

Details about Mount Seymour’s Adult Camp:
Marc and I teamed up with one of my favourite people from UBC, Tegan. We all signed up for an adult camp at Mount Seymour. Here are the details of the camp:

  • 2 days over a weekend
  • We had lessons for 2.5 hours each morning, and then we could practice all afternoon.
  • It cost $204 for lessons, ski equipment hire and lift passes for both days.
  • If you’d like to do the same, you can sign up here.

It was all really well organised. We were given a paper that allowed us to park right outside the rental hut in the main resort. Once we arrived we just had to sign in by giving our names. We were each given a card which had all the details about our ski gear. It also doubled up as a lift pass.

We didn’t have to queue up to pick up our rental equipment. They have everything ready, so we just had to find our pre-arranged cubby hole to pick up our ski-boots. It was easy-peasy. Our skis were ready for us at the back of the hut on a rack.

Day 1:
Picking up our equipment was almost too easy. We were ready and waiting for our ski instructor half an hour early. So, I have a few pre-skiing portraits. I’m the one who looks excited and a little scared!

Once everyone gathered for lessons, they split us into groups of “never evers” (that was us), and beginners who had at least put skis on before. It turns out that there were quite a few other newbie skiers that are just as crazy as us wanting to learn to ski as adults. We ended up in a group of 5, with the smiley, super-Canadian, Jordan as our instructor.

We started off with super basic things. Jordan made sure that we were all wearing our boots and salopettes (ski-pants) properly. He showed us how to attach the boots to skis, and then we all attempted walking around with one ski to get the feel of it. Next, we learned how to walk up hills waddling like ducks, or stepping sideways.

We spent some time walking up small slopes, then sliding down. Pretty soon we could all just about turn and stop when we wanted to. We didn’t use poles on the first day as we were meant to be controlling our movement just with our legs.

Next, we moved onto the rookie slope.

I had some issues with a tree right at the top of the slope. It turns out when you are skiing, you look where you want to go. I *didn’t* want to ski into a tree, but I kept looking where I didn’t want to go (trying to avoid it.) So the tree turned into some kind of Josy-magnet. I crashed into it once, and narrowly avoided it the next time too! Oops.

We all had some issues with falling over, apart from Tegan, who was a natural.

At the bottom of the rookie run we all got to ride on a magic carpet for the first time! This magic carpet, wasn’t quite as pretty as the one in Aladdin! It was basically a conveyor belt up the hill. To ride it, you shuffle forward on your skis and bend your knees, then it carries you up the hill where you slide (well, ski) off.

After several runs down the rookie hill, we finished our lesson and stopped for lunch. There is a lodge that includes the Rock Chute Bar and Grill, so we stopped there for a bite to eat. I chose chicken and waffles, which was a little too sugary. It was covered in both gravy and maple syrup, so it gave me a major sugar rush. Marc and Tegan both had burgers which looked okay, although their fries were super soggy! Ah well. We were so hungry that we all enjoyed our food anyway!

Refuelled, we headed back out to the slopes to keep practising. By the end of the first day I’d gotten better at avoiding that tree! We all got to the point where we could zig-zag down the hill. It is soooo fun when the skis take you where you’d like to go!

Day 2:
Vancouver was super rainy overnight, so the top of Mount Seymour had been covered in a new layer of snow. The trees all look weighed down by the extra snow-weight, but it was so peaceful and pretty! It was quite strange driving up Mount Seymour (and then back down in the evening) as it rained almost to the top of the mountain. Everything was so waterlogged (and not cold) in the city, so it is bizarre to go around the final corner to suddenly find yourself in a winter wonderland!

We practised on the easy, rookie slope again to start with. We had all improved overnight, so it was now pretty easy to slide down with a little control. Jordan kept encouraging us, and we got to move onto the next challenge – a longer slope followed by a chair lift!

It’s pretty easy to get onto the chairlift. You just have to stand at the bottom and wait for the chair to scoop you up, while you wear your skis. The difficulty comes at the top of the lift, where you have to ski off again. You need to hold your skis up slightly, then stand up and let the chair push you off as you ski away from the lift. We all managed it okay on the two people chair lift. (Phew!)

The brilliant thing about the longer ski runs is that you get to see more of Mount Seymour. You also get to slide down the slope for far longer before you have to queue up for a lift again. The magic carpet was brilliant when we first started, but we did have to spend quite a long time in line. It was more challenging but I much preferred the longer slopes.

It’s a little chilly sitting on the lifts. I spent some of the time taking photos of the snow, until my hands started to freeze. I also discovered that it is really difficult to get a kiss if you are both wearing ski helmets and goggles! We didn’t get to see any of the Mount Seymour views as the world was so misty and snowy. It still looks pretty cool though.

Jordan was good at stretching our abilities. He kept giving us new drills to attempt while we made out way down the mountain. He encouraged us to steer with our legs, and we started to introduce parallel skiing between our snow-plow turns.

After lunch we decided to take the chair lift right to the top of the Mount Seymour and take an even longer route down the mountain. It was still a green run, but the top was pretty difficult for me. I had to take a zillion teeny zig-zags on the steepest sections. Marc fell off a small cliff at one point, but he landed in a deep pile of new powdery snow, so he was fine.

Things were even better on our second attempt going down the whole mountain! My main problem is remembering to bend my knees, so I made up a song to help me remember Jordan’s advice, and sung it to myself the whole way down. This really helped and I really feel like I am starting to get the hang of it – on green runs anyway!

So, after two days learning to ski, we are (sort-of) now skiers! Yaaay!

How to get to Mount Seymour:
We were super lucky that Tegan has a car with snow tires, so it was incredibly easy for us all to make it to Mount Seymour. However, even if you reply on public transport, it is still pretty simple to get up here. In winter you can take a shuttle bus from several locations in Vancouver.

Give this a try!Learning to ski - Mount Seymour
So, if you are like me and think you’re too old to learn to ski, you’re not! I am really glad that we signed up for lessons, rather than attempting to teach ourselves.

I really loved my first skiing adventure and am excited to try this again! Yaaay! This is just another reason to love living in Vancouver!

42 thoughts on “Learning to Ski in Vancouver – Mount Seymour

  1. Your IG pics made it look like so much fun!!
    Haha I admit I’ve ONLY have done cross country skiing in elementary school. This is reassuring though that the first time went well! Did you guys have any bruises or soreness the next day?

    1. I was alright on the second day, but then I was a bit sore on Monday morning! I do have some bruises on my legs, but I am such a klutz that I normally have bruises on my legs! I am not sure if they are related to skiing!

      Oooh cross country skiing sounds like hard work! Was it fun?

      1. Haha I remember being very sweaty afterward and I don’t think it was the best fitting for a public school. I think I also fell down a few times. We did it around the track behind our school.

        1. That is sooooo cool that you can do that around school! πŸ˜€ We never had enough snow for anything like that at school!

  2. Ah great minds think alike -’tis the time to be writing ski blogs πŸ™‚ ! I was envious of people living in Vancouver when I visited, having all those ski mountains so close to the city. I’m impressed by your photos taken on the lift. After several years skiing experience, I’ve never tried this as I’m convinced I’d lose both my camera and gloves to the snowy undergrowth that lurks beneath!

    1. Hehe, I attached my gloves to my sleeves on the velcro fastenings for my ski-jacket, and then I wound my camera strap around my arm. I WAS really worried about dropping my camera though! That is why I didn’t take any photos on the larger/longer ski lift!

  3. I am so glad you tried this. I didn’t learn to ski until I was a teen-ager and I loved it straight away. I don’t get many opportunities to ski, especially since I no longer live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California, but it is quite the work out. I hope you keep going. It’s not a cheap sport, but it is fun once in a while.

    Happy holidays Josy!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. It’s definitely not a cheap sport, but it is a little more affordable now we live close to mountains! From the UK it is always pricier as it is just so far to travel before you even get close to the slopes!!

      We have more plans to visit Whistler over Christmas…and then we have more lessons booked for February! πŸ˜€

  4. I loved reading about your skiing adventure and I am glad you tried it. As you said, a lot of people learn how to ski as kids, so did I and it is my absolut favourite thing in the world. So I always try to encourage my friends to learn skiing now as an adult.;)

    1. Oooh you must have been like the amazing children I saw on the slopes! They were all zooming past without any fear (apart from a couple that were having tantrums!)

      Tell your friends to take lessons, then it is far less scary for newbie learners!

  5. I am definitely a “never-ever” despite having tried it once 30 years ago. That does sound like a good deal for learning to ski and even if you didn’t have views it looks beautiful. I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking to snowshoeing but I may have to get out there and try skiing again since the kids have decided to start learning (and my bf already does). Merry Christmas, Josy!

    1. One of the other never-ever blokes was learning because his son was just starting lessons and he didn’t want to be left behind. That is a brilliant reason to try!

      Squee! I cannot wait to try snowshoeing too!!

  6. I can’t believe how pretty looks. The cost of all that actually seems pretty reasonable. I think I would be pretty shocking at skiing, but I would excel at the after piste activities!

    1. That is how I thought I would be! I was way worse then Marc and Tegan (but they are both used to other winter sports so I don’t mind being the rubbish one!) BUT if I can o it with my terrible balance, I bet you could manage it!

      The price is pretty good as we live so close. It is just so much more of a big deal when you have to fly and travel really far before you even get close to the slopes!

  7. I am impressed Josy, and it is not easy for me to be impressed. Cool photos, literally! My attempt to looking glamorous on the slopes failed. I spent my time on my backside in a undignified position. End of my skiing career πŸ™‚ You are certainly making the most of your time in Canada! Merry Christmas Josy and hubby.

    1. Lol I don’t think i’ll ever look glamourous on the slopes. I’m just not that much of a glamourous person. BUT I did have a giggle.

      I also found myself making “wheeeee” noises way more than most of the children that were learning around us. Oops.

    1. Did you learn while you were here too? You must have some amazing places to ski on your side of the mountains! πŸ˜€

  8. I’m so sorry, but I had to laugh about your tree experience, but ONLY because I’ve been right where you were. 😊 I went on my first learn-to-ski trip as an adult, and I had the pleasure of meeting several trees on my trip. Just like you, I loved the experience, but I have never gone again, unfortunately. I hope to go again soon though, even though we don’t have the beautiful slopes you have in Vancouver here in Minnesota. I love the picture of you in your skis taking a ride through the tunnel! Awesome post, Josy!

    1. Hehe! I am glad I am not the only one with skiing tree-issues! πŸ˜€
      I hope you do get to go again too! Surely Minnesota’s slopes will be lovely when they are covered in snow!?

      1. We do have many lovely ski areas, and most have bases of 18″-55″ of snow right now. This is pretty impressive after a warm fall. πŸ™‚

  9. I have not had the guts (at my age, I think I will give it a pass) to learn to ski, but just love watching other go gliding down the slopes and obviously enjoying every second of it. Had I been 20-25 years younger, I think I would have done it, but at my age, I am afraid that my I WILL end up in the hospital with multiple fractures and broken legs or arms.
    Awesome and congrats on doing it. I will go to to Mount Seymour and just enjoy the view and maybe see you enjoying the slopes.

    1. Maybe you could try snowshoeing instead? You’re meant to stay on the flat areas with snow shoes. I’ll tell you how hard it is once I manage to give it a go!!

  10. Wow, this looks amazing! I went oh a school ski trip to Italy about 25 years ago…just about mastered a snowplough, and like you, I was very attracted to the trees πŸ˜‚ I’d love to give skiing another go someday and I’d definitely put myself in that “never-ever” group!

    1. Yay Em! Another tree-attracter! πŸ˜‰
      It sounds like there are a few of us. The never ever group is the cool place to be.

    1. Thanks Marje (sorry for my slow reply! We went to Whistler for more skiing!)
      I am sooo excited to see more mountain scenery! So far I’ve just seen pretty trees and lots of snow…but it’d been too foggy or snowy to see far!

  11. What a gorgeous winter wonderland! I’d totally go just for the scenery. You are massively brave, as careening down a frozen hill never seemed like the safest thing to do to me! Your chicken and waffles had syrup AND gravy?! That’s a really odd combo. I love me some chicken and waffles, but I’ve never had it come with gravy πŸ˜‚

    1. Those waffles were sooo weird! They added all the gravy and maple syrup in the kitchen, so I couldn’t make it less sugary by choosing to pour on more/less.

      Ah well.

      If you ever come up here I don’t mind riding up to the top of the hills with you so you can see the views, even without sliding down the hills!! I think you might love snowshoeing!

  12. Congratulations on becoming a ski bunny! I learnt to ski late in life, and ran an adventure group for 14 years where I saw adults of all ages learning to ski because they were fed up with people like me telling them how much fun it was! I usually fit in 2-3 trips a year, and my blog is partly inspired by the numerous adventures I’ve encountered over the years. Enjoy!

    1. Heh! I don’t think I can quite count myself as a ski bunny yet BUT hopefully I’ll reach official bunny-dom by the end of the season.

      It is great to hear that you’ve met lots of adult learners – that gives me hope that we can improve! It is sooo fun! Where do you ski Jane? I’ll go and peek at your blog to see more.

      1. I mostly ski in Europe (France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland) but have skied in Banff and have been twice to Jackson Hole. In 2019 I hope to go to Big White. Skiing in Europe is very pretty but very restrictive. The runs are perfectly groomed and pistes are marked so they can become like motorways. Give me the USA and Canada any day – much more fun and more likely to improve with such diverse conditions. I hope you can take a look at my blog, I have loads of stories about skiing and all our other adventures.

        1. I did take a look, and realised I’ve read some of your posts before! I loved your confused.dom posts! πŸ˜€

          I’ll have another look for skiing posts.

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