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. But 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.
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!
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!
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!