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LEARN TO SNOWBOARD IN BANFF NATIONAL PARK

Author: Joanne Elves

Her grade school report card said Joanne asks a lot of questions. She took that as a compliment and with family in tow, continues to ask as she travels the province in search of exciting adventures and interesting destinations.

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The kids said that Sunshine Village in Banff National Park would be perfect for our snowboarding holiday. We’d be riding in the Canadian Rockies, staying slope side in a beautiful alpine lodge with plenty of dry fluffy powder falling daily. It all sounded beautiful. Except of course that we didn’t know how to snowboard. Lessons were definitely in order.

Left, Right or Just Plain Goofy?

Bright and early we met our instructor in front of the historic Old Sunshine Lodge, which happened to be the exact same meet-up spot when I learned to ski years – and years – ago. He connected with us all and swiftly figured out who should stand regular (left foot forward) or goofy foot (right foot forward). For me it was my right. I knew I’d be goofy.

A short ride on the chairlift and we were surrounded by wide-open trails under a cloudless blue sky. As I longingly looked at the skiers, my husband reminded me that this was a snowboarding holiday and it was my idea to try something new as a family. What was I thinking when I said that?

A Lesson and Lots of Laughter

The kids casually strapped on their snowboards and started slipping as instructed. I flung my arms around and hunched over like I was trying to perch on an imaginary chair and fell. Then I fell again. And again. It got to the point where the kids were falling down from laughing so hard at me! We were a giggling heap of bright winter clothes and snowboards. Even people passing by started to laugh.

That’s when the instructor gave me a few pointers on how to keep my balance and fall properly. He worked with each of us on our own level until we were comfortable with turning and stopping. Over the course of the day, we worked our way around the mountain resort, experiencing different slopes and trails. Most of the time I was last one down but we all stuck together. It was turning into a great family vacation.

Terrain Park or Hot Tub?

When we stopped at the entrance to the terrain park I thought for sure I’d be left out of the pack. By now the instructor knew what we could handle and explained how to go over the beginner level rails, table tops and jumps. I got nervous again and contemplated the hot tub as my next maneuver. But when my daughter turned and yelled, “Come on, mom! It will be fun!” I didn’t hesitate. After all, I came to snowboard with the family, goofy foot and all.

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