Growing up and living in Florida most of my life gave winter sports this tremendous air of thrill and mystery. Heck, Lauren and I didn’t even see snow for the first time ’til we were in our 20’s. Anytime I ever saw anyone on a snowboard swooping down hill, or hitting a half pipe I felt this incredible urge to jump on plane, find some fresh powder (I didn’t even know what that really meant), and shred! Now that we’re spending the winter in Canada taking in winter sports like snowshoeing and bobsledding, we decided it was time to learn how to snowboard. After all it’s item #22 on our bucket list. We took a trek out to the Nakiska Mountain Resort, which is Calgary’s closest mountain, and gave it our best.
The drive out to Nakiska Mountain from Calgary takes a little over an hour and is filled with absolutely stunning scenery. There’s just something magical about driving out of the city and heading towards the mountains that brings a sense of calm and joy. On top of that we were pretty excited that we would be learning to snowboard! We arrived at Nakiska and made our way over to the Telus Winter Sports School.
We checked in for our half-day lesson (that’s an hour and a half) and they got us all set up in a matter of minutes. The package was super convenient since the snowboarding lesson and rental was all built into one price. That means all we had to do was show up with some goggles and positive attitude and they provided the rest. Once outfitted we were ready to go.
We met up with our instructor, and began our lesson. We started off with the basics, which involved seemingly simple concepts like buckling in your feet, then falling, trying to walk with a board strapped on, then falling, and trying to stand, then falling. After a few minutes of practice falling we made our way to the top of the bunny hill to give actually riding the board a shot. Our instructor, Chris, was super patient and took the time to give guidance every step of the way.
After getting some general instruction on how to start, and more importantly stop, it was time to be brave and start taking turns trying to make our way down the hill. If you are planing on learning to snowboard I warn you, it’s not as easy as it looks. It starts off something like this.
Then you get up and try again, and you end up like this.
Then you give it another go,and there’s some more of this.
Then there’s that moment where you think something like ” I think I might have it”…
but it ends like this.
The interesting thing is that as adults, it’s much harder to learn to snowboard than if you learn as a child. The whole time you’re learning and hitting the ground pretty hard, you’re watching little guys like this one zoom by like he’s been doing it for 10 years.
After almost an hour of constantly falling on the very hard packed snow learning to snowboard can be a bit disheartening. Your feet are ready to kill you, your legs ache, and bum starts to really hurt. There were several points where we were ready to quit. With drive, and a little bit of ” I think I can”, it finally turned out like this.
Overall the experience was pretty incredible. After many bumps and bruises it was great to have learned to do something completely new. The instructor at the school was super friendly and attentive, which made the whole process much easier. After our lesson the only thing left to do was hobble over to the lodge and tend to our sore legs and bums while enjoying some Apres Ski (that’s French for drinking BTW). If only they made these things in adult size so we wouldn’t have to walk there. :-)
If it’s your first time learning to snowboard here are a few tips:
- Plan your class for a weekday if possible – weekends can crowd the hill and make it harder to learn
- Take a Full Day Class – it will give you 3 hours to learn and practice, which you’ll need
- Bring Goggles – you can’t rent them and the snow is blinding
- Wear pants with lots of padding :-)
Nakiska Mountain Resort
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If you enjoyed this post about learning to snowboard in Nakiska, you may enjoy these other Winter related posts.
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