Deals! Deals! Deals! on local mountains.

It’s Spring, and there are lots of deals happening in the local mountains. here’s a few.

Grouse Mountain

Y2Play Pass: $355.00 (purchase now! it will sell out soon)

– a popular pass that includes riding and skiing for the rest of this season as well as all of next season.

– All Y2Play purchasers receive $35 off an Air Grouse Mountain Zipline tour.

– Bonus for Adult Y2Play passholders: $25 Grouse Mountain Gift Card. Family passes will include a $50 Grouse Mountain Gift Card. Buy online and receive a complimentary lift ticket valid until April 2010.

Adopt an Athelete:

Support one of Grouse Mountain’s adopted athletes and you could win one of three great winter packages:

1. Three pairs of 2010 Olympic Winter Games tickets and a high performance ski or snowboard package for two

2. Two Adult Y2Play Snow Passes valid through the end of the 2009/10 winter season

3. Two adult 5-Day Snow Packs valid for use through the end of the 2009/10 winter season.

Alternatively, you can enter the draw for the prizing for no donation amount. To do this, please write us a 200 word letter on either of the two following topics:

a) Why Vancouver is the ideal city to host the world in 2010

b) How winter sports have inspired a common passion that unites our province.

click on the link to find out more

Cypress Mountain

Women’s Week:  (March 2-8)

– any weekly drop in lesson – 20% off for women, Women only Terrain Park Jam

Mount Seymour

$99 Spring Pass: March 1 to end of this season

-I would not call this the “best deal in town” as they advertise it, for $255.00 more, you can get 5 more months of skiing and riding at Grouse Mountain.

– But if you love riding the big terrain park Seymour has, maybe this is the pass for you.

Day 60 – Slushy Moguls & Sharp Edges on Rock Hard Ice (Feb 19, 2009)

I took the day off today to practice my own skiing.  As I’m getting ready for the CSIA level 1 course, I’m skiing a lot more and riding much less.  I got up to Grouse Mountain at 12pm today and it was really hot.  The snow has become quite slushy so I decided to practice some black mogul runs today.  I have not gone down a black run since 2 years ago let alone a black mogul run.  As I talked about a month ago about how I went down Slash at Cypress Mountain on skis and had to take my skis off and slid down the hill on my butt during the ski lesson.  I was determined to try it on my own today so no one has to wait for me at the bottom of the run.

After warming up at Expo and the Peak (beautifully groomed slushy snow), I skied down from the top of hades to the intersection of Tyee Chute and Coffin, skied down blazers, cut back to Hades and skied to the Olympic Chair.  First time I went down, just side slipped the whole way, checking out what the condition is like, and that took me almost an hour to skied down the short run because I was freaked out due to how steep it was.  The second time I went down it I did 2 mogul turns, then side slip for a bit to gather up my courage agin to go for another 2.  After 5-6 runs, I could finally go down the moguls linking continuous turns.  It’s very similar technique compare to short-raidus turns on groomed runs except I just needed to face my fear and go down it.  at 3pm, the slushy moguls turned to crunchy moguls as the sun moves further west and the shadow from the trees covered the snow.  I decide to call it quits and stayed on the groomed runs for the rest of the day.

Middle of Hades (Grouse Mountain)

I ran into another instructor while skiing so we did the Peak and Expo a few times before the sunset.  David helped me sharpen my skis at the Rental shop to prepare for the training tonight.  I have not tuned up my skis since I bought it 2 seasons ago.  The edges has so many cuts in it and the base has some big gashes in it too (like my snowboard).  I decided to take it to Destination for a major tune up ($50.00 CDN).  It is so expensive but it was worth it because the base looked brand new after the fixes, the base-grind, and the waxing.

I went to training with a few CSIA level 4 trainers to go over what else I have to work on to improve my skiing.  Two things I have to work on is 1. exaggerated flexion / extension.  2. ski with one ski (inner or outer) during the turn.  If you see someone coming down the Cut on one ski this week, that’s probably me.

Beautiful Sunny Day at Grouse Mountain

Coffin (Grouse Mountain)

Photographer at Tyee Chute taking photo

Day 61 – Riding GNU Board with Magnum Traction and Reverse Camber (Feb 21, 2009)

Morning Lesson

It’s a beautiful sunny day at Grouse Mountain today.  I taught a drop in lesson this morning for level 4’s.  The 3 kids told me that they are comfortable turning on blues and blacks so we decided to head over to Centennial on our first run.  Turned out they were having trouble side slipping down an easy blue run.  The snow was still a bit hard-packed from last night (it usually soften up by noon).  Since the students were having so much trouble side slipping, I decided to work on their balance first.  We started with a few exercises of keeping their weight centered then moved on to turning on mellow terrain at the mid way point of Centennial.  My snowboard is set at 21 & 9 degrees Goofy stance for aggressive carving.  I demonstrated how to turn switch since all my students are regular stance.  after a few turns I hit an icy patch and I fell and tumbled quite a few times down the hill.  Both my helmet and goggles fell out like you see on bails in snowboard videos.  I looked up at the kids and they all looked really frightened.  If an instructor with 10 years experience is falling down on a mellow blue run, what is going to happen to snowboarders that have only snowboarded for 10 days?  I then had to tell them to slide towards me and we’ll try it again.  This time is was a genuine fall, not the intentional bail that I talked about a few months ago.  After finding out their ability are not quite up to par yet for the blue run, we went over to paper trail to practice some turns, and this time, I made sure I was riding goofy again.

Riding GNU’s Altered Genetics

GNU Altered Genetics

In the afternoon, there were no lessons scheduled so most of the instructors just chilled at the hut, chatting and trying to get a goggle tan.  After finding out I could go home from my supervisor, my friend Eric lend me his GNU Altered Genetics board with Reverse Camber and Magne-Traction to try out.  The minute I put it on, it felt really wobbly.  My freeride board is so stiff and heavy, this board is the complete opposite.  I could actually feel the bumps on the snow underneath the snowboard, I felt like if I twist hard enough, the board could actually snap in half.  At first it was really hard to turn because the reverse camber felt so weird.  I then tried doing butter: I was able to lift the board up so much higher than my own board and spin with more control.  I then tried an Ollie and it didn’t take too much effort to get lots of air.  Eric then told me to try carving.  The snow was quite soft and slushy by this time so I figure I’ll try it.  After my first carving turn I looked back at my track and was amazed by the deep trenches the Magne-traction made.  For the second and third turn, I went really fast and carve up hills making 3/4 of a circle on snow.  I was able to grip on the snow even when the snowboard was carving up hills.  For going fast, however, I find the board a bit too wobbly, it chatters quite a lot because the board is quite soft.  The tech guy at Boardroom said that getting a magne-traction board with camber will be better for going fast and through steep icy conditions.

I have not taken the board into the park because it’s my friend’s board and I dont’ want to wreck it so I cannot tell you how it is on rails or jumps.  Another friend Snap his Skate-Banana in half going off a 40 foot jump and landing on the tail of his board.  For boardercross or racing, I would still get a stiff carving board with hard boots because you would be able to make sure the edges are sharp enough to grip on the ice and to go fast.


Iocn from sent me this link on the discussion of Reverse Camber :

GPS from Baker

It’s been 2 weeks since Baker, as I was going through my GPS data from my trip, I found something quite interesting, for 1 second, I was going 50 km / hour, which is pretty damn fast on a snowboard.

Mount Baker Snowboard Trip GPS from Google Earth (Feb 9, 2009)

If you see it on the map, it is #4.  When we just got off the chair lift, there’s a few cliff drops, I guess that was how fast I was freefalling down a drop into powder.

50 km/hour on Snowboard at Mt. Baker - right after drop in from Chair Lift - #4 on Map

I bring my GPS with me whereever I go especially when I go hiking or kayaking.  Not so much for snowboarding because batteries die really quickly when it is cold out, my batteries died about half way through our trip at Baker.  My GPS is Garmin Etrex Venture HC.  It does not tell me the altitude, but tells me how fast I am going and the direction I am going as well as backtracking to where I was, i.e. my car from the hiking trails.

Snowboard Instructors vs.Toastmasters !!

I twittered about attending Toastmasters the last 2 weeks, I thought I would talk more about the experience.  My friend introduced me to Toastmasters about a year ago, but when VanCityAllie talked about it in her blog, I thought I better start checking it out to see what all the fuss is about.  The reason that I’m trying to find a toastmasters is it will help me become a better speaker.  An instructor speaks to the public all day so it is his or her job to be good at public speaking.  There is a different way of addressing kids comparing to adults.  Even though it gets the students to the same place no matter how you teach them but it matters to the students if the learning process is enjoyable (especially for beginners).  As many of you know, we use Positive to and Try to encourage students.  Toastmasters will help me phrase my lessons better and incorporate a sense of humor into the lesson without sounding nervous or without sounding like I’m talking down to the students.  You can find out more about the format of their meetings through the Toastmasters website, but I will only comment on my experience and not on the specifics.

Last week I went to a toastmasters in Burnaby, it was comprised of mostly new Asian immigrants who are still learning English.  It was a pretty big club, about 18 people in the meeting.  We sat around in a square with the speaker front and centre.  They emphasized on the importance of not only giving good speeches but also keeping the speeches on time and concise.  The atmosphere was pretty relaxed.  Almost everyone had a chance to speak, including the guests.  Everyone spoke with confidence though sometimes it was hard to understand what they were saying because of the heavy accent.  After talking to a few of the participants, some of the senior members commented that all the people there are trying to better themselves.  No matter how hard their situation in life are or if they are still learning English, they are not watching TV wasting life away but instead came to the meeting to improve their situations.  I found that quite encouraging though I don’t think I will be back simply because I need to be among participants that are better at public speaking than I am for me to improve myself.  This particular club also videotapes every meeting and club members could borrow the DVD’s home to see what their mistakes were.

This week I went to a toastmasters that is closer to where I live.  This toastmaster is set right on the beach.  Well…a house on the beach right next to the ocean.  It was such a beautiful location, I could see my workplace from outside the window.  They told me that in the summer time, they sometimes would just go outside and sit on the beach for the meetings.  This club’s meeting is a little more serious.  Everyone was either dressed semi-formal or in a full-on suit.  I felt a bit out of place because I just wore my casual shirt and jeans, like what I would wear when I go to a pub.  The sitting arrangement was like in an assembly or a corporate meeting with all the chairs in rows facing forward.  This crowd was much better at public speaking than the one last week.  This crowd was also a bit older and much more experienced as public speakers in their careers.  There were real estate agents, movie producers, actors, company presidents, sales consultants and jewelers.  Almost everyone that went up to speak had a great sense of humor.  I was laughing almost non-stop for the first hour I was there.  This group has a lot of social events as well as giving back to the community by teaching public speaking at a community college.  They usually go out for a meal afterward to socialize.

The theme for the night was “movies”.  One of the member was given the topic 2 hours before the meeting started and he prepared a really great speech with lots of facts and research in that short period of time.  They also had an improv called “Table Topics” where you are given a situation and you have to make a 2 minute speech from it without any preparation.  First guy that went up was asked if he was an animal in an animated movie, what animal he would be.  He talked about an animal (I don’t remember which) and he started voice acting for the animal that he talked about (everyone laughed).  He then launched off to talking about how he would make those funny voices for his grand-daughter and his relationship with her.  I see that everyone there was really confident and incorporate their sense of humor into their speeches.  The atmosphere, once again was relaxed, and it felt like everyone has been friends for a long time.  After talking to a few members, I found out there were also newcomers in the group but they were treated like close friends too.  The speeches given by the members of this club are definitely how I want my own public speaking to be like in the future.

I will be exploring a few more toastmasters clubs in the city before settling down on one.

Day 53 – Dream Wedding on Snowboards (Feb 8, 2009)

One of my friend got married this weekend, she and her husband had a wedding on snow.  They are both passionate about snowboarding so they got married on snowboards with their family and friends on the hill with them.  At one point, my friend did a jump off a kicker while holding her wedding dress up with one hand.  This is definitely a special wedding that people will remember for a long time to come.

Although I do not have any photos of the wedding, I did photographed this girl who sewn a pair of Northface Snowboard pants into a dress and skied with it in Mount Baker on Monday.  She was kind enough to pose for me in the parking lot.

Girl Skied in a Northface "Dress" (Feb 9, 2009)

Girl Skied in a Northface "Dress" (Feb 9, 2009)

Back to blogging about snowboarding.  I taught a zone camp in the afternoon.  After my last zone camp, I figured I will do thing differently this time around.  Instead of joking around too much with the kids, I would lay down the rules on the first day and be authoritative so they will listen to me for the rest of the month.  When they understood and follow the rules for their own safety, then we can start to have some fun learning.  I focused on Class Management today.  Since it was a really busy day, I had my students sat in 2 lines, making sure they each have a partner.  I told them to sit in the same order every time so the class won’t be too spread out and it would be easy for them to remember the names of the other students.  The Student with the most experience get to sit in the back to look after the other kids while the 2nd best student sat in the very front to lead the class.

Students line up in 2 lines for Safety (Feb 9, 2009)

This strategy worked until one of the kid’s mom showed up at our lesson.  The kid was really hungry so his mom bought him a Beaver Tail and a hot chocolate.  I was glad the rest of the class all brought snacks with them otherwise it would be chaos.  We had a ten minute break to eat.  After the break, the kid with the Beaver Tail refused to put on his snowboard, he said he was too sleepy after eating.  He spent the rest of the class lying on the side of the hill and would not participate in the drills we were doing.  At the end of the class when we were going to take the chair lift up, he decided he wants to walk up instead while the rest of the class wanted to ride the lift.  This did not become a problem because his mom came and picked him up when I was showing the kids how to get off the chair lift in the Static Chair between the two Lumberjack Poles.  It will surely become interesting next week when we go down the Cut; it will be a long walk up if he still refuses to take the chair lift.

VASS Challenge Cup (Feb 26, 2009) @ Grouse Mountain

VASS video “gravity is your ally” produced by


VASS video “skiing removes barriers” produced by

My friend Jess‘s company GiantAntMedia produced the 2 videos above.  It is about the VASS Challenge Cup happening on Feb 26, 2009.  My friend Mark is a volunteer ski instructor with the VASS on Saturdays at Grouse Mountain.

Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports for Snowboarders @ Grouse Mountain
Snowboarders getting trained on operating a Sit-Ski

Don’t quote me on this, but it is apparently only at the beginning stages of developing a snowboard suitable for adaptive snow sports.  I attended one of the training for snowboarders on sit-skis.  It was said that it is really hard to control a sit-skis for volunteers on snowboards so they are constantly testing new ways of doing it.  For skiers it is easier to be the the tetherer because using a wedge they can control how fast the sit-ski is going, but for snowboarders doing S turns, if the sit-ski go out of control while a snowboarder is on the toe edge, it is likely the snowboarder will catch an edge on the heel side and fall down the hill backwards.  Some snowboarders suggested tying the tether to the waist but the instructor commented that if the sit-ski go out of control, it is easy for a snowboarder to throw out his or her back.  imagine someone tying a rope to your waist and suddenly pull forward with great force without giving you any warning.

Please correct me (in the comments) if anything I said here is wrong.  This is merely my opinion and most likely it is not accurate as I only listened in for 10 minutes or so.  The volunteers, however, are very dedicated and doing a great job of helping others.

Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports @ Grouse Mountain

Vancouver Adoptive Snow Sports @ Grouse Mountain

I have taken only a couple of photographs (above) on the VASS at Grouse, be sure to support the VASS ( by attending the February 26 event at Grouse Mountain, donating money to them, or by giving your time to become a volunteer!!

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