Spring break ski lesson in Sun Peaks

The nice thing about Sun Peaks is that you can ski fantastic terrain with excellent snow without having to worry about crowds or lineups. You ski down to the lift and in a matter of minutes, you’re off skiing to your heart’s content on a well-groomed, secluded run.

But recently, more and more people are discovering B.C.’s best kept secret. Usually, when I go for a stroll around the village in the early evening, there’s very few people outside. This past week, there were many young people and families browsing through the shops, walking their dogs in the snow, or people watching while eating pizza on the patio. For somebody like myself who likes people watching, it’s a nice change.

The best thing about it is that there are still plenty of secluded runs with pockets of powder if you know where to go. If you don’t, well, that’s when the Sun Guides come to the rescue.

It’s spring break, and people from the Lower Mainland are flocking to the resort to spend quality time on the slopes with their family. I met two of them at my ski lesson today – Marcia from New Westminster and Giselle from Vancouver. Our ski instructor was Meg who I skied with last winter.

Meg’s philosophy in skiing was “Maximum control with minimum effort”. I thought it’s a very good philosophy. Who wants to turn skiing into a boot camp when it can be an effortless experience? Not me, but I find that I do this unwittingly when I’m not practising proper technique.

First off, we learned to relax the body by letting the skis drag while going down 5 Mile. Then, Meg showed us how to make an effortless turn. The technique is to distribute the weight equally on both skis at the beginning of the turn and to transfer the weight on the correct foot to make the skis turn.

After mastering this skill, Meg then taught us how to use the skis’ edges to maximize control in skiing. With edging, it is important to have the upper body leaning forward and moving independently from the lower body. Edging is a step up from merely sliding on your skis because there’s more control and you’re no longer at the mercy of the terrain, said Meg.

To solidify our grasp of edging, we headed down Blazer where Meg had us touching our knees while making the turns. It was a very helpful exercise for me, not only to master edging, but also to improve steering with my left leg, which is my weaker ski leg.

After a great run on an intermediate blue run, we headed down Exhibition. Crunchy is a good adjective for many things, but not for snow you ski on. I discovered this the hard way when I lost my balance skiing over crunchy bits of fist-sized snow. I wasn’t hurt, but discovered that putting skis back on when on a steep slope is very tricky. Fortunately, a kind gentleman and his female friend who works for ski patrol lent me a helping hand (I was skiing behind the people in my group so they couldn’t hike back up to where I was). Pretty soon, I was back on track and reclaiming Exhibition. I wasn’t discouraged that easily!

After the lesson, Meg was off to Ladies’ Ski Day. Ladies’ Ski Day occurs every Thursday at 11 a.m. For $60, you get a two-hour ski lesson and lunch at Mantles Restaurant. You can just show up at the meeting place in front of Sport School or sign up in advance by calling 250-578-5505.

Tomorrow, Giselle and her family will be cheering for her younger sister at the Rio Tinto Alcan Nancy Greene Husky Snow Star Festival (March 25 and 26). Over 400 members of the Nancy Greene Ski Leagues nationwide are competing right here at the resort with Nancy Greene herself attending the event. Sounds like an excellent way to end spring break!

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