By Jeremy Derksen for SnowSeekers.ca / #NewSkiAB
It can be scary taking those first steps onto the magic carpet (the conveyor belt lift that takes skiers up the bunny hill) or loading a chairlift for the first time. But with instruction, both Peter Wong and Cong Tran glide smoothly onto the lifts. Just having some guidance as they go along puts them at ease. As does the mild spring weather.
Peter and Cong have made a spring trip to ski at Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Treaty 7 territory. At about one hour’s drive from Calgary, it’s the closest mountain for them to learn to ski. And all around them is the intense granite majesty of the Canadian Rockies, freshly groomed snow and brilliant blue spring skies.
For both men, now in their 30s, skiing and winter sport is brand new. Peter and Cong came to Canada separately, from Hong Kong and Vietnam respectively, and became friends upon meeting in Calgary. Neither grew up with winter culture. Without familiar activities to turn to in the winter here, Peter says winter here can be “boring.”
“We are immigrants here, never skied before, never seen snow before, so what to do in the winter?” says Cong.
There are advantages to starting young, and growing up with winter sport. But coming to skiing as adults, Peter and Cong have the benefit of life experience. Both have attempted to learn once before, without instruction.
“I tried snowboarding once before,” says Peter. “It was fun but I fell many times.”
Listening to and learning from an expert can help you develop new skills far faster than going it alone. Soon, by studiously practicing each skill their instructor Tom shows them, their skills progress.
“Tom was so good, he explained everything so well and I can understand everything—every step, every instruction, he did a very good job.”
Like coming to a new country, or integrating into a new culture, there are obstacles to work through when learning to ski. But with good hospitality, proper instruction, mild spring weather, their improvement is remarkable. Before the day ends, they have graduated from the bunny hill, to the Bronze Chair (mostly beginner terrain) to the Silver Chair (beginner to intermediate).
For their efforts, they are rewarded with a 360-degree panorama of breathtaking mountain views, and wide, gentle runs to continue practicing those smoothly flowing turns. And some great food and beverages awaiting them down at Nakiska’s main chalet.
Nakiska is Calgary’s closest mountain ski area, about a 1-hour drive from the city.
Nakiska Ski Area and Head Skis are proud to partner with SnowSeekers.ca in #NewSkiAB, designed to help make your winters more fun and accessible.
Let SnowSeekers.ca introduce you to more winter adventures, read more about #NewSkiAB here.