Kausar Kallaru was so eager to start her first-ever lesson at a Rocky Mountain ski resort that she headed to Nakiska hours before her snowboard lesson was set to begin.
She hadn’t realized it is less than an hour’s drive to Nakiska from Calgary and loved the beautiful drive on Highway 40 off the TransCanada. “The location is amazing,” she said.
Kallaru, 32, moved to Calgary from southern India in January 2020, but because of COVID restrictions she wasn’t able get out and do many activities, like snowboarding or skiing, during her first winter in Canada. But she and her sister jumped at the chance as soon as they could.
The fact that they didn’t own any ski gear, gave them the perfect excuse to go shopping – for everything from helmets and goggles to jackets and coats and gloves – which they did affordably from websites and social media marketplaces selling second-hand gear.
They were easily able to rent a snowboard and boots at Nakiska’s rental shop. Once Kallaru was suited up, she says, “I was so excited to get on the hill … the ambience gives you a lot of energy.”
Of course, she was a bit anxious about trying a new sport, but quickly relaxed with the help of her instructor, Emmett Finnigan.
“He knows who he is training so he was customizing his (lessons). He’s really good at what he does.”
Finnigan, who’s been a snowboard and ski instructor at Nakiska for five years, said he was impressed with Kallaru and her sister since it was their first time on the snow. “She was doing amazing. They had more balance, and they were linking turns. It was inspiring to see.”
The lesson was an all-round positive experience, says Kallaru “It didn’t feel like two hours, it just flew by because I was really enjoying myself.”
She took inspiration from the many other people of all ages on the slopes. “There were kids passing by me. It was so good to see; they’d fall and get up again.”
Anyone who’s worried about trying skiing or snowboarding should just get out there and do it, Kallaru says. “You should not stop yourself from trying even if it’s cold. If you have the right instructor, they will guide you.”
Kallaru can’t wait to get on a snowboard again and plans to keep taking lessons so she can improve. Besides she says, snowboarding puts her in a really good mood, so much that she even ventures to say she’s sure she will enjoy winter more.
“(This day) will stay in my head for a long time…until I get on the snowboard again.”
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