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.


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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 48 – Jumping and Spinning on Skis

Skier on Cypress Mountain

It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post, I have been working everyday from 8am to 4pm and then go skiing after work until 10pm.  Although I did take Monday off work just to ski all day in warm sunny condition.  As I am preparing for my CSIA level 1 (Ski Instructor) certification, I’m putting most of my energy into practicing skiing.  I still teach snowboarding and train once a week on snowboards but my focus right now is to get my skiing techniques up to par before the exam.

After practicing on my own for a few weeks, I figure I better take a lesson to make sure I’m on the right track.  As Cypress Mountain offer ski instruction at night (Grouse doesn’t), I naturally came back here for another lesson tonight (Thursday night).  My instructor for tonight is Elias.  He is a CSIA level 3 (Ski), CASI level 2 (Snowboard) instructor.  He has taught at Cypress Mountain for the last 5 years.  He has been skiing and snowboarding for 25 years, and teaching for 18 of those years.  He was a cross country skier before he started alpine skiing.  He has skied and taught in quite a few countries in Europe when he first started teaching.  He has also taught in the United States and skied in South America.

skiing at Grouse Mountain (January 24, 2009)

His vast amount of experience really shown through in his teaching.

My goal for tonight was to learn 3 techniques.

1. learn pivot turns

2. learn spinning on the snow

3. learn to jump off small kickers.

We started the lesson off with him explaining the technical side of pivoting.  He showed me on a blue run how to point my skis down the fall line (really scary), count to three, then pivot until my skis are pointing up hills.  I thought that was scary until he told me to do the same thing backwards.  We then started working on side slipping (like snowboarding), and then falling leaf – forwards and backwards.  It got better after I practiced a few times but the pointing skis down the fall line for 3 seconds is still really scary.

We then went over to Collins (Green run) where he taught me to traverse across the hill until my skis are on the snowbank, then ski backwards until the back of my skis are pointing up the hill again.  We then went on to learn how to do pivot turns backwards and then moved onto spinning on skis without using poles.  It was so encouraging to be taught by a ski instructor who is also a snowboard instructor.  He knows how to relate skiing to snowboarding, explaining in a language I would understand.

The last thing we worked on was our jumps.  We started off with jumping on the snow while we do pivot turns, then we went up on the side banks of Collins where he showed me the different techniques of jumping and worked up to a 180 degree jump.  When we were skiing down the hill, he also pointed out to me what I am doing wrong in my carving and showed me the correct way of doing it and why we do it that way.  It made my carving much more stable.

I would say this is the best ski lesson I have ever had, and I have taken a lot of ski lessons over the years.  Elias was really knowledgeble and could explain the mechnics of skiing simple enough so that a snowboarder like me could understand.  Elias teaches on Thursday nights at Cypress Mountain, I highly recommand taking a lesson with him if you want to become a better skier.

Day 11 – Coldest Day of the Year (Cypress = -20 ºC / -4 ºF)

Considering this is my last day to freeride at Cypress Mountain before the busy Christmas season begins, I decided to go up bright and early.  I did not expect how cold it was going to get.  I thought yesterday was cold, today was just freezing.  It was -20 ºC / -4 ºF at the base today.  It must have been even colder up top.  Even though I was wearing 2 neck warmers, I still could not feel my chin.  My chin was completely numb.  I had to go in and warm up after only an hour on the snow. both my batteries died within the hour even though they were both fully charged this morning.  Tomorrow I will start working everyday until the end of Christmas holidays.

I did, however, take a video of the terrain park, there were a lot more features in the park today, about 8 of them as oppose to 4. click on the video below to play it.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1605877&dest=-1]

Day 10 – Sunny and Cold (-12 ºC / 10.4 ºF)

This morning as I was driving through Stanley Park, I saw that there were still so much snow on the trees and on the grass because of the cold temperature we’ve been having

Driving through Stanley Park (Dec 18, 2008)

I went to check out Cypress Mountain Cross Country Ski Area today before heading up for some snowboarding.  I figured I would take some photos of the area because of the beautiful Sunny temperature we’ve been having.  It is interesting to see how these fences were reinforced.  It must have been the result of yesterday’s strong winds.

Reinforce Fencing

The cross country ski area was chopping down a big tree today…maybe for firewood because of Recession?

Cypress Mountain - Chop Down Tree in XC

Cypress Mountain - Chop Down Tree in XC

Below are some photos I took of instructors teaching a class at the bottom of the Collins on Cypress Mountain.  If you look behind the snowboarders, there’s lots of plants showing through the snow.  For the last few years, there were enough snow to cover all those trees and shrubs before the first lesson has even been taught.  This year, however, the Black runs in the background of this picture are still closed.

Collins

Cypress Mountain - Collins

Some skiers, however, still venture into the out-of-bounds area in search of powder.  I am not sure if it is worth it to wreck your $1000 skis to enjoy a few minutes of powder with trees sticking out everywhere.

Cypress Mountain - Out-of-Bounds

It has been a good day, only 2 more days until my teaching starts.  Riding at Cypress Mountain again today.  the Terrain Park Staffs were working hard on the rails and setting up new funboxes.  There was supposed to be a Store Wars competition at Cypress tomorrow, but it has been moved because there simply was not enough snow.

Cypress Mountain - Terrain Park

Cypress Mountain - Chop Down Tree in XC

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Cypress Mounatin Terrain Park Staffs - Prep for Store Wars

Cypress Mounatin Terrain Park Staffs - Prep for Store Wars

Cypress Mounatin Terrain Park Staffs - Prep for Store Wars

Finally, below is a pic of the Mountain I am teaching at this year.  It is located in the middle right side where the lights are.

Grouse Mountain - Lights


Where to Party in Vancouver for Ski Resort Employees

All the locals know this already, the answer to this question is none other than Mountain Madness Mondays at “The Royal” .  This is more for my fellow Australian, New Zealand, and English Instructors that were asking.  $9.75 Kokanee Pitchers and Mountain Staff gets in for free.  The Link is here – theroyal.ca. It is located at 1029 Granville street. There’s lots of different events and theme nights that take place there but my favorite is the indoor Rail Jam they have every year.  Below are the photos from last year’s Indoor Rail Jam. April 21, 2008.  Check out their Blog if you get a chance, it’s great to be able to meet other ski resorts employees from Vancouver :  Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, and Mount Seymour.

Day 6 – Cypress Mountain Opening Weekend (Dec 14, 2008)

This morning I got up bright and early and headed up to Cypress Mountain, the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics Freestyle skiing and snowboarding venue.  The new Lodge is done; well…the outside and the offices anyway.

Cypress Mountain Lodge

Cypress Mountain Lodge

The washrooms are definitely an upgrade to the Black Mountain Lodge.  The Retail shop seem to be smaller than before and the items are exactly the same as before: Cypress Brand everything…plus some oakley googles and Heli Henson Ski wear.  I still like Grouse Mountain shop better because it has more varieties and it’s got popular brands for snowboarders such as Quicksilver and Burton. ( I enjoy window shopping in the warm shop when it is freezing outside.)

As expected, it was really crowded, I had to park in the second parking lot, and I was up on the Mountain pretty early.  By next week (Christmas Holidays) people will be parking almost all the way to the Cross Country area and beyond.  It will be an hour walk to the resort from the car, 2 hour wait to buy a ticket, another 2 hour wait to get on a chair lift, and if you need rentals, even longer waits.  There will still be tons and tons of people that go to ski resorts during the Christmas season because for a lot of people, that’s the only time they can enjoy the holiday season with their family and their kids.

There were some brave souls that came to Cypress Mountain not willing to line up with the crowd.  They brought their split boards and snowshoes, ready to tackle the fresh powder beyond the ropes.  They, however, were not properly prepared because only 3 out of 5 riders had back packs on, which means 2 people are without Avi gear.

Backcountry Skiers and Snowboarders at Cypress Mountain

As I expected, there was a huge line up at Eagle Express Quad Chair on Black Mountain.  The lines were about a 10-20 minutes wait, which is not too bad.

Cypress Mountain Opening Weekend 2008

Cypress Mountain Opening Weekend 2008

The one thing I noticed from the above picture is the clothing color choice is completely different from the ones from Grouse Mountain (Day 5 – Grouse Mountain Opening Day).  It seems like a completely different crowd because most people are wearing dark jacket with dark pants whereas at Grouse Mountain, most skiers and snowboarders were wearing bright color jackets and pants with lots of bold patterns.

It made me think…

“A) is the crowd at Cypress more conservative than Grouse with their color choice ?

or

B) does riders wear different choice of clothing for different occasions? (i.e bright color for the Park, dull color for the groomed run…)”.

feel free to comment below what you think.

I did photographed a few people with bold color clothing…very few.

Cypress Mountain Snowboarder

Cypress Mounatin Snowboarder

and a few more photos of snowboarders from Cypress Mountain…

Cypress Mountain Snowboarder

Cypress Mountain Snowboarder

Panorama and the Olympic Boarder-cross trails were open and pretty tracked out.  I was glad all the old jumps from last year were still there.  The side of the hill was completely untouched so I try to get my board to go on to the right hand side of Panorama to get some air.  Instead of getting air, my board sank into the powder, all 96 centimeters of it and I fell into waist deep powder.  It was amazing !! It just look a long time to swim back to the groomed run.

After a few hours at the green and blue run, I decided to go check out the park.  Since I had such a great time at the Grouse Mountain terrain Park yesterday, I figure Cypress must have set up the park as well.  I was disappointed when I saw the park crew coming out of their hut with shovels just going up for the first time to do some digging.

Cypress Mountain Terrain Park Staffs

Cypress Mountain Terrain Park Staffs

The Terrain Park Staff has new uniforms.  I hope their Park this year will be even better with the Olympics coming and all.  Cypress Mountain created a Media Volunteer Program, which is similar to Grouse Mountain’s blogospondents, but with videos instead of words.

Here’s another picture of the new Cypress Creek Lodge and Black Mountain where the Olympics will be held.

Cypress Creek Lodge

Instructors

As for the instructors, it’s very similar to Grouse, I only saw 2 lessons been taught today.  There were some trainings happening but there were not too much to do except putting up fences and helping beginners that were having trouble on the hill.  I hope they have been handing out their business cards.  It’s a perfect chance to promote themselves by giving free tips.  A friend of mine got a private lesson request on his first day of work 2 years ago simply because he saw a struggling beginner snowboarder and decided to stop and helped the beginner get down the hill safely.

Cypress Mountain Instructors

Cypress Mountain Instructors

Cypress Mountain Instructors

Cypress Mountain Instructors

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