Since moving to Canada at the end of November, my plans to do regular blog posts have well and truly gone out of the window! And to be honest, I don’t really have a good excuse for falling so far behind…
So, what have I been up to?
Well, I made it to Revelstoke and survived my first ever ski season, although not without a few bumps and scrapes along the way (more on that in a bit).
The flight to Vancouver went smoothly and I met up with some of the other budding ski and snowboard instructors on the way. Long journeys are definitely more bearable when you’ve got new friends to keep you company!
The immigration process was a success too and there were only a couple of people in front of us. We were pretty lucky in that they didn’t ask to see our insurance documents or proof of funds, even though I had it prepared just in case. Overall, my experience was quick, easy and not too intimidating.
I chose to do my instructor training with EA Ski & Snowboard and they had arranged a two day orientation with us in Vancouver to get our bank accounts, Social Insurance Number (SIN) and Canadian SIM cards. All of these things were super easy to set up – we just had to take passports and visas along with us. I ended up going with RBC for my bank account and Koodo for my mobile phone plan.
After a couple of days in Vancouver, we made our way to Revelstoke via coach, enjoying the awesome mountain and lake views along the way. A good reminder of why I chose to come to Canada!
Once settled in Revy, we had a week to wait before the resort opened. Everyone was just itching to get out there and see what the mountain had to offer. In the meantime, we did some exploring round town (mostly getting familiar with the local bars!) We also took our Occupational First Aid Level 1 course in prep for starting work at the snow school, which was fun.
As soon as the mountain opened, we were out there on our first day of training. I’ve never seen so much powder in my life! I quickly learned that I didn’t really know how to ride in such deep powder though and the first few days proved pretty frustrating, constantly falling over then spending ages trying to unbury myself. I’d also never seen such steep, gnarly terrain in my life and it really filled me with fear attempting to turn down some pitches.
And that’s when my little mishap occurred. Exactly one week after opening day, I chickened out mid-turn on a steep bit and fell backwards onto my arm. One long blood wagon, gondola and ambulance ride later, I learnt that I’d dislocated my shoulder. The ‘good’ one. Dammit!
Fortunately, I found a really great physio in town (shout out to Fraser at Helios Rehabilitation & Performance!) and we were able to get me back on my snowboard after one month. This unfortunately meant that I missed my CASI Level 1 exam, but I was determined to give it another go later on in the season.
After the shoulder incident, my fear of the mountain got a lot worse and I was really struggling with my riding. I’ve dislocated my other shoulder in the past (and had surgery to fix it), as well as a couple of shoulder separations, and I just couldn’t get past the idea of tumbling and really hurting myself every time I tried to turn.
It took the rest of the season to get past that mental block (with a little setback when I managed to partially dislocate my surgically repaired shoulder), but with the help of some pretty awesome fellow snowboarders, I managed to pass my CASI Level 1 Snowboard Instructor exam in Whistler (second time lucky).
Overall, despite the slight setback, I had an amazing first season. I met lots of great people, pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and progressed so much with my snowboarding. I’m already so excited for next winter!
P.S. I’m currently exploring Vancouver, so I think another blog post about that is in order very soon 🙂