One of my goals whilst in Canada was to learn to snowboard. In New Zealand, we can do this, however, I never did since focused on other sports. When getting here people found it hard to believe that I would come to Canada wanting to snowboard with never having done it. But what better place to start when its right on your doorstep. I was privileged to have my first experience on the hill at Sunshine. My friend from New Zealand over here took me out and taught me the basics. I fell in love as soon as I learnt to get down the run without falling, which thankfully didn’t take to long. I have so far snowboarded numerous times over here at a mixture of Lake Louise and Sunshine and have got to know the runs fairly well. Firstly, Sunshine is a great place to learn, and would recommend it to anyone no matter the skill level. I did my first run down Strawberry and found it was a great place to start. I soon found that Sunshine has a few flat spots which if you don’t know about and don’t build up some speed to get through can be very annoying. But for a beginner I found it perfect and enjoyable. Sunshine over Lake Louise also seems to get a bit more snow, which for me I found easier to snowboard on. Lake Louise has longer runs which are also steeper so I found that once I hit Lake Louise more my skill level rose quickly. I managed to hit just under 70kms an hour the other day, and can now definitely say I am addicted. I am privileged to be able to work at Baker Creek Mountain Resort which has the ski resorts so close, which allows me to get out very often. So far I have broke a rib snow boarding, dislocated my thumb and pulled a ligament in my knee! But don’t let that put you off! I would never stop. Perhaps I just need to stop trying things that are way above my skill level. Like hitting a jump on my 4th time out!
All in all, no matter the skill level, Banff and Lake Louise offer a great place to ski and snowboard, and if anything, the views are absolutely breathtaking. There are great ski hiring facility’s and you are guaranteed to have an eventful fun day full of laughs heading out to the hill. What’s even better, is coming back to a place like Baker Creek, having a beer and unwinding with great company. Another great thing about heading out to the resorts is their restaurants, my favourite is the Kokanee Kabin, it offers inside and outside dinning, even has a fireplace to sit around! They offer a mixture of freshly cooked BBQ treats, (my favourite being the pulled pork burger) and also beers and other beverages. They also offer a chilli and bread combo for a small price, that certainly gets you going after lunchtime. Sunshine have many great places to drink and eat, I love the Mad Trappers Smokehouse at the base of strawberry. They have a great range of food and beverages. No matter where you come from, especially if you come from a place like New Zealand that hardly sees the snow, you have to get out here!
-Written by: Nathan Bates