Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports (VASS) Challenge Cup (Feb 26, 2009) – Video

Click here for HD version

Event hosted by VASS

Video of Mark Hopkins and Jess Sloss in Action at the VASS Challeng Cup at Grouse Mountain.  An Interview I had with Mark Hopkins will be posted later.

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 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.

Day 52 – Ski the Peak (Feb 7, 2009)

Today I had no lessons in the morning so I took both my snowboard and my skis up the gondola (Man ! is it Heavy !!). My friend Richard said I look like a traveling sports equipment salesman. There were not much new snow overnight so I was expecting everything to be icy.
Very Crowded at Grouse Mountain Feb 9, 2009 (taken from the top of Peak Chair)

On my first run I went down Centennial, there was a ski slolam race going on for the Tyee ski club so the left side of the run was closed. Buckhorn was also closed due to the race. Only the right half of Centennial was open so I went down it. It was just a sheet of ice. There was absolutely no soft snow covering it. I was glad my instructor at Cypress taught me how to carve on edge so I was able to go down it without too much problem. I wish I had sharpened my skis before coming down this run though. When I got up to the Peak via the Olympic Chair, I calmed myself and gathered enough courage to go down the Peak. If the Peak was as icy as Centennial, there was no way I was going down on skis; it will be on my butt instead like last time.

When I went down the peak, the snow was amazingly soft. It was still a bit crunchy, but there was half a foot of soft stuff on top. I lapped the peak a few times using the Peak Chair and that’s the first time I realized the advantage of the newly-built Peak Chair. Most people find the Peak Chair useless because it takes you up to the same place as Olympic Chair. When the Peak Chair was built, it was for the purpose of accessing more terrains in the tree, but we did not have enough snow this year to ski down through the trees. I think the Peak Chair is for skiers that just want to lap the Moguls and the Peak without going all the way down to the bottom of Olympic. There is also never any line ups at the Peak Chair so it is good for people who hates lining up for half an hour at the Olympic Chair. One more advantage of the Peak Chair is that it gives tourists access to the top of the Mountain (without forcing them to walk up) where the new Zip Line is.

In the afternoon, I taught two never-ever lessons back to back, walking up and down the bunny hill for 4 hours straight.

Day 27 – Pizza turns on Skis & Down-Unweighting on Snowboard

I had a Twitter conversation this morning with an avid skier Gillian Shaw (@gillianshaw) from Vancouver Sun.  She wrote an article called “Google Snow Report” in which it states “Skiing is 30 per cent more popular as a search term than snowboarding” and “Canadians search for the word ‘snowboarding’ more than any other country in the world.”  Now I understand why the majority of my readers are from Canada, some from the United States of America, and few from overseas.  Although lots of great Snowboard videos do come from the United States of America.  The two I watched recently that I really liked are “I ride Park City” and “Bear Mountain’s A Walk in the Park”.

Since reading that skiing is becoming popular again, I decided to take my Rossignal Bandit B2’s out for a run.  When I got up on the mountain I was hungry so I had a Vegetarian Pizza in the Cafeteria.  I then headed out to the slopes doing “Pizza” turns with my skis.  Instructors refer to Snowplowing as “Pizza” so kids can understand it better.

Last year the once and only time I was on my skis I took a lesson.  During my first run of last season, the Instructor took my class down a steep Black Diamond Run, I got freaked out and basically slid down the hill on my butt.  I decided to start on green runs this year and work my way back up to Black runs by the end of the season.  I stayed at Paradise (Bunny Hill) for an hour practicing my pizza turns.  My legs were getting pretty tired after a few runs so I started doing parallel turns.  The Snow was “Bullet-Proof”.  It was basically ice because of the rain from the past few days and the freezing temperature tonight.  If you look carefully at the photo below, you will see footprints in the snow, the skis can basically slide over these footprints without leaving a mark in the snow.

"Bullet-Proof" Snow at Grouse Mountain

My feet were becoming numb after an hour in the hard-boots (ski boots) so I decided to change into my soft snowboard boots and go riding.  I took a snowboard lesson 2 days ago at Cypress which improved my riding quite a lot so I decided to take a lesson here at Grouse too.  My instructor is a CASI level 3 Instructor and an Evaluator.  We worked on down-unweighting turns to prepare me for CASI 3 that I will be taking eventually.  Since the snow was bulletproof, there wasn’t really much room for mistakes.  Falling down on ice means bruises and injuries.  I struggled with it at first but by the end of the lesson I was doing moguls on my snowboard.  It was the second great lesson I had this season. Now I just need lots of practice to familiarize myself with these new techniques.

Aside from the hard-packed snow, Grouse Mountain was beautiful, clear, and warm tonight.

Grouse Mountain was Beautiful, Clear, and Warm tonight

Day 21 – Last day of 2008 @ Grouse Mountain (Video)

Song is Mos Def – Wylin Out

Day 21 – Last Day of 2008 @ Grouse Mountain

This morning started out with high winds so the chair was not open to the public until 10 am.

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Canceled Morning lessons due to High Wind

We all stood around the base waiting to hear whether the Tram will be open or not.  Some of the Instructors started shoveling and salting the ice on the ground.  Lots of customers decided not to wait and went home instead.

Instructors Shoveling

Great Team Effort !!

Instructors Shoveling

The staffs got to the top of the mountain right before 10 am, it was the most amazing view I have ever seen.

Grouse Mountain - The Cut @ 10 am December 31, 2008

Beautiful Scenery from the Tram

Grouse Mountain - The Cut @ 10 am December 31, 2008

Grouse Mountain @ 10 am December 31, 2008

Ally and Eileen

After the general public started getting on the mountain and the staffs finished setting up the signs, we decided to go for a run.  Since most of the general public went home instead of waited for the tram to open, the mountain was pretty empty the whole morning even though the tram was open to the public.

Fresh Tracks at Grouse Mountain

My friends and I went out and rode around for 2 hours.  We did the green run, the blue runs, and then the black and the double black diamond runs.  When we went down Purgatory (Double Black Diamond Run), the powder was so deep my friend C. decided to go for a big jump (see video).

Purgatory @ Grouse Mountain (Scott & Chrystal in the photo)

C. got really big air then landed right before a tree and banged her forehand on the tree.  Her forehead was pretty swollen afterward.  She also lost her goggles so we had to stop to look for it in the deep powder.

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Half way down purgatory, we decided to cut to the left to see what Outer Limit was like.  When we got down to the bottom of Outer Limits we saw beautiful untouched powder in the trees on the other side of the cattrack.  It was not roped off so we know the fresh powder in the trees is still considered inbound and there probably won’t be any avalanche danger.  We decided to go for it and it was amazing. We got to a part where the trees were too dense to board in and realized the only way back to the chair lift was to hike out.  My friends had one foot out and tried to skate out.  I made the mistake of taking off my board and stepping into the snow.  I sunk to my waist in the powder.  It took awhile to climb back onto my board and eventually climb back to the trails that led to the chair lift.

Grouse Mountain Snowboard Instructor teaching

Grouse Mountain Snowboard Instructor teaching against the beautiful backdrop of Vancouver

Grouse Mountain Snowboard Instructor teaching

Grouse Mountain Snowboard Instructor teaching

Grouse Mountain Snowboard Instructor teaching

Grouse Mountain Snowboard Instructor teaching

Grouse Mountain Snowboard Instructor teaching

Grouse Mountain Staff got onto the cover of the newspaper

My friend got onto the cover of a newspaper.

Pikachu visiting Grouse Mountain

and finally, Pikachu came for a visit of Grouse Mountain.

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