You read that right, this past week my class visited 5 different resorts over the span of 5 days; these resorts were:
- Fairmont Hot Springs
- Mt. Norquay
- Sunshine Village
These resorts were my class room for a week and I could not be happier to be part of such an amazing program that offers this kind of experience. Going to actual resorts of all shapes and sizes, talking to industry professional, and seeing things not through pictures but with our own eyes. Get ready for a wall of text and pictures because I have a lot to say and show about each resort.
Fairmont Hot Springs
To start off here, I didn’t actually know Fairmont Hot Springs had a ski resort, I figured we were just going to there because it was along the travel route. The ski resort is honestly quite small and mostly meant for beginners but it had an incredible terrain park for all levels of ability. For such a fancy and upscale resort as a whole, the lodge food prices were extremely reasonable as well, who couldn’t resist a $5 poutine?
Norquay is quite the interesting resort, it’s in Banff National Park so there’s massive amounts of restrictions that apply to it which include no on-hill accommodation. Although, it is a very short drive (10 minutes or so) outside of the town of Banff which I though was very interesting. Sitting above the resort are 4 very large avalanche paths which have to be controlled and bombed all the time. The most fun thing there was the tube park, where most of the class went tubing near the end of the day and we all had a blast. For chairlifts, they have your typical quads and such, but they also have a pulse chair lift; 4 pods of 4 chairs each on a single haulrope. When a pod enters a terminal the entire line slows down and when it leaves the entire line speeds back up to a quick pace. To me, this type of lift seemed super foreign but after seeing it and learning about it I found it very interesting.
For Summer Operations, Norquay has a climbing/guiding system called Via Ferrata. This is a tour around the mountains using metal staircases, bridges, and ladders all built in to the mountain. Apparently the view from it is amazing but we did not get to do it, seeing as how it is a Summer operation and not safe during the winter.
Sunshine was pretty rad. We stayed up on the mountain in these really nice rooms that came with soft bathrobes (always a bonus). During our presentation we all got free hats which are pretty cool as well. Sunshine as whole is massively spread out, there’s tons of different terrain all across the peaks which include Delirium Dive, a very cliffy, no-fall-zone area on the mountain. I didn’t bring all my avalanche gear so I didn’t go do it, but that didn’t bother me much. Sunshine also has Canadas’ first heated bubble chair; a lift that keeps you warm while the wind howls around you outside.
Panorama was a great resort, it had the feel of a small resort but the look and structure of a massively popular one. The skiing was phenomenal and I really liked the large mixture of hard, carvable ice and powdery moguls with a back country feel to them. I managed to even hit a few cliffs that I found intimidating, which was a very large bonus for me on this trip; I’m learning how to finally become a western skier. Panorama also has a pulse lift, but it is an open-air gondola, with 2 pods making it a 1 minute or so ride. While touring, we also got to see the cat shop and snowmaking plant. Later in the afternoon the clouds got socked in, so by the time we got to the summit we could not see any of the surrounding mountains.
The stoke was real. The night we were in Revelstoke, it snowed a good 25 cms on the mountain, but before we got to go skiing, we learned about how Revy went from starting up in 2007 to the huge resort it is today. After our presentation in the base, we went up the mountain for one at the cat shop by a SROAM grad. Seeing how groomers work is always really interesting and I quite enjoyed that part of the presentation. After a few more things, we were told we could go skiing and oh boy did we ski. It had been snowing all morning and just. Kept. Snowing. Every run had fresh tracks even though they had been skied out the run before. At one point I fell into a small ravine and the only way out was through a tunnel or hiking up it; I chose the tunnel. My legs had never worked so hard seeing as how the skiing vertical is massive, but it payed off with the final run of the day: one of the most peaceful and challenging tree runs I had ever done. Mandatory cliff after mandatory cliff made me challenge myself into getting down them. This is because I could see tracks moving to the side and most likely off the run, people get intimidated and don’t want to go down further, so I knew the powder was going to be incredible. It payed off and after the cliffs, I was sending it through waist deep, cold smoke powder… It was the best powder run of my entire life. I didn’t take many pictures at Revy because why would I? There’s powder to be skied and people to keep up with.
In order to get to places, you have to drive, right? Our class took a coach bus for this trip and we all had a great time on it. While on the bus, I took maybe 100+ picture of mountains but in between all of them there was some interesting stuff. We passed by this tree house that someone actually lives in for example.
My classrooms are the outdoors, on hands experience, talking to industry professionals. My classroom is doing something I love with my life and will never ‘work’ a day in my life because of this. So I ask you this; what is your classroom?