From first ski lesson to Nakiska season pass in one day #NewSkiAB

After just one lesson, Ethel Telavera was so excited about her first time on skis that she immediately bought a season’s pass.

“It was a great experience,” she says. “It was so fun. The instructor, oh my gosh, he was so good,” she says of her recent experience at Nakiska, just 45 minutes west of Calgary in Kananaskis Country.

If you would have asked Telavera last year if she’d be out skiing for the 2022 ski season, the answer would likely be a flat-out no. That change of outlook took the encouragement of her good friend Mariana Fonseca, who has embraced the sport with gusto.

For months, Mariana Fonseca kept on encouraging her friend Telavera to try skiing. Telavera was hesitant because of an experience snowboarding with her husband that had discouraged her from trying again.

But Fonseca, 36, kept the ski conversation going, telling her she need to let go of her fears. “I told her I fell a hundred times when I was first learning but that I was still having fun.”

Then the day came, said Telavara, “And, I said, to Mariana, ‘OK, let’s do it!’”

They headed out to Nakiska Ski Resort while Fonseca watched with delight from the sidelines as Telavera took her first ski lesson. “She was good on the bunny hill; she mastered everything.”

Talavera gets coached on body posture during her lesson.
CREDIT: Paul Lavoie /

Fonseca and Telavera met in Calgary where they have been living for a few years. Both had moved from Mexico and, over the past few years, their families have embraced Canadian winters.

“We don’t really love the heat; we had that for our whole lives,” says Fonseca, 34, who has five-year-old twins who ski and a two-year-old who will eventually get on the slopes.

Read more on how to get into skiing, at

Both Telavera’s and Fonseca’s husbands snowboard, but the two friends have discovered that skiing is so much easier. “It’s like skating,” says Fonseca. “I could do it.”

Fonseca had a bit of skiing under her belt as a young girl, when her parents took her for a couple of ski trips. “My mom was just like, ‘Get on the lift and go down the hill doing a pizza.’ I just went for it.”

Talavera and Fonseca enjoy post-lesson apres bevvies on the upper deck of the lodge at Nakiska.
CREDIT: Paul Lavoie /

These days, her skiing has improved dramatically and she’s in love with the sport.  “It’s hard to explain. It’s an amazing feeling. Once you’re down (the mountain) you just want to go back up again.”

And after that first lesson Fonseca knows Telavera will feel the same way. If that first day on the bunny hill is any indication, it appears the two friends will be skiing together for a long time. Telavera says her goal is to become a “bunny hill professional” building up her confidence to “go up the mountain.” In fact, she says, she immediately told her instructor that she’ll be back to take another lesson with him.

Find out how you can make your ski dreams happen, at

It seems Fonseca’s enthusiasm is rubbing off on her friend, and Televera is excited to keep returning to the slopes, something that their whole family can do together. It sure beats sitting on the sidelines and watching her husband and daughter having fun together

“We are going to buy a season’s pass every year. My husband likes snowboarding so much and my girl, too,” says Telavera.

Fonseca and Telavera are set up for new adventures outside together.
CREDIT: Paul Lavoie /


Nakiska Ski Area is in the Treaty 7 Territory region of Southern Alberta. Treaty 7 encompasses the traditional lands of the Îyârhe Nakoda Nations of Chiniki, Wesley, and Bearspaw, the Tsuut’ina First Nation, the Kainai, Siksika, and Piikani Nations of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) Confederacy, and Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

  • From Calgary, the drive to Nakiska is approximately one hour.
  • Built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, Nakiska and nearby Kananaskis Lodge are close enough to Calgary for day trips, but you can also make a weekend of it. Discover more about the ski area and what it offers.
  • Ready to get geared up? Our partner HEAD Skis can get you set up.


SnowSeekers’ #NewSkiAB can get you and your significant other or you and a buddy on the slopes for your first lessons at Nakiska.

Sign up today for private ski or snowboard lessons at Nakiskaand up those skills and your love of winter. There are lots of spaces available.

SnowSeekers is stoked to partner with HEAD Skis, Nakiska Ski Area and our friends at Immigrant Services Calgary. Through #NewSkiAB our aim is to welcome more diversity to Western Canada’s slopes.


Ready to learn to ski, or looking to improve? SnowSeekers and our #NewSkiAB partners HEAD Skis and Nakiska Ski Area can get you skiing. Check out these other stories and book your lesson today.