I had an epiphany last year when I was pregnant and watching a friend’s children take a ski lesson. I realized that though I’ve been snowboarding for 15 years and very comfortable on a board, it will be very difficult to help my son learn strapped to a board. All the parents were on skis which gave them the mobility to tend to their young kids more easily. I needed to learn to ski.

I went downhill skiing in 8th grade and it was kind of a disaster. First off, they taught us how to pizza and sent us on our way. I thought I could sit on the rope tow and it off course collapsed and I was drug up the bunny hill by my leg for a few seconds before the liftie stopped it. After my friends and I thought we had it down, we went down a regular hill where I immediately shot down the hill out of control. I was headed for the trees when a kind snowboarder came up behind me and pushed me over. Ah, 13-year-old Rachel- you were one awkward gal!

Anyway, I never had a desire to ski after that, and I picked up snowboarding in college. But once realized skiing would make it easier for me to help my kids, I knew I had to learn, and that I would need a lesson.

Enter the awesome Learn to Turn package at Pass Powderkeg in Crowsnest Pass! I’d been there one before years ago when I first moved to the area  and I loved how it was such a chill, small hill- perfect for little kids or nervous beginners like myself.

Learn to Turn

Just to quickly touch on this awesome package, the Learn to Turn is a super affordable way to learn to ski or snowboard. Here’s how it works;

  • Lesson 1- For $65 you get a 2-hour lesson, rental, and lift ticket
  • Lessons 2-4 (Progression package)- For $140-$160 you get three lessons to solidify your skills
  • Free seasons pass for the 2018/2019 season!
  • 50% off season equipment rentals.
  • 25% off a 2019/2020 seasons pass

For less than $300, you can learn to ski or snowboard proficiently, get a seasons pass to go as often as you like, and save a ton of money on rentals. Who says skiing has to be expensive right?

About Pass Powderkeg

Before I go into a lesson recap, I want to touch on Pass Powderkeg. I was super curious how it is so affordable. It is a smaller hill, with rope tows and t-bars instead of chair lifts, but the prices are still so low compared to other hills. I chatted for a bit with the Operations Manager Katherine (see her amazing FAQ about skiing with children HERE) and learned that Pass Powderkeg is a non-profit hill operated by the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.

Because they are non-profit, their focus is different from a regular hill. As a hill, they can focus on the customer experience more so than profits. Chatting with Katherine, they are super passionate about getting families out spending a day on the slopes and encouraging newbies to take up this fun winter sport. They even host a New Canadians program where immigrants to Canada come out and learn to ski together with their families.

Basically, Pass Powderkeg wants to do the very thing I’m always encouraging folks to do- get outdoors in any weather as a family!

Lesson Recap

I arrived a little flustered because I was late and felt bad for making my instructor, Michael, wait. He was super chill about it and helped me get set up with the equipment needed. I was surprised at how different skis are from when I was in 8th grade. They’re much shorter and wider at the top and bottom, almost hourglass shaped. These new designed skis are definitely easier to maneuver.

We started from the absolute basics working on ploughing and weight distribution. After a couple runs on the hill in front of the day lodge, we graduated to the bunny hill.

How many of you reading this would never take a lesson because you would be too self-conscious being a beginner? The set up here is great for that because the bunny hill is off to the side and doesn’t connect with any other runs. The hill I learned to snowboard on (Steven’s Pass) had the backside runs connect into the bunny hills. There’s nothing more unnerving than being a beginner and having experts rip past you or get annoyed at you if you fall in their path. With the bunny hill on its own, I felt super comfortable being a beginner.

During our lesson I learned how to angle my body, distribute my weight in order to make a turn, how to rebalance when I’m skiing straight, and how to hockey stop. Michael was such a great instructor as he broke down each skill. He would then watch me come down and give me corrections to try the next time around. Having this instruction was just what I needed to ensure I’m learning properly and not starting off with any bad habits.

For instance, as I became more comfortable going down and picking up speed, I started turning my upper body into the hill as I turned. That’s a habit from snowboarding and I never would have caught myself doing it if Michael hadn’t been instructing me.

I was truly enjoying myself and enjoying the physical challenge of trying to execute the skills correctly. At the end of the two-hour lesson, my legs were jello! I want to build a better booty? Skiing every day will certainly do that!

Skiing wasn’t nearly as scary as I remembered, and I loved that in one lesson I felt super comfortable on the bunny hill. I still have three lessons to go in the package so I can only imagine how good I’ll feel on skis by the end.

Never too old to learn        

I cannot stress this enough people, you are NEVER too old to learn something new! I’m so happy I’m taking this step so that TyTy can begin learning to ski young and I’ll be there to help him. Moms, how many of you are sitting in the lodge while the rest of your family is out on the hill?

Don’t let fear stop you; fear of looking foolish, fear of getting hurt, fear of not getting the hang of it.

I can’t wait to continue this journey and have my next lesson set up for this weekend.

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