Sunpeaks Resort 11 week CSIA/CASI Level 1 Course
I joined Winter Sports in the winter 2018/2019 season for the 18 week Ski Instructor Course in Sun Peaks, working through my level 1, 2 and 3 training and exams. I don’t think the review will ever do justice to my experience but I will give it a go!I’ve been an active skier since I was 11 but I had never heard of Sun Peaks before Winter Sports, if I had I would have definitely been there sooner! Any quick google search will tell you there is 3 mountains of 4270 acres boasting 138 trails and 13 lifts, but what that means in real terms is no lift queues so much more actual ski time, different runs and routes over the whole 18 weeks and, even on the busy days, so much space on the slopes to ski. I was always your typical groomed run skier, but when there is so many off piste tree, powder and mogul runs that no matter what your level at the beginning, no one will be only skiing groomed tracks by the end.The whole process with Winter Sports was so smooth and comfortable, as soon as I got through security at Heathrow airport I forgot that I was nervous to start this 4 month adventure. We met as a group, with our course conductor Rob, at Heathrow on the day we departed and it was arranged for us all to meet in a bar at Heathrow so we could start getting to know each other. The Hearthstone is one of the biggest hotels in the resort and we had almost a whole floor to ourselves. The rooms are huge, we regularly had 15-20 of us in a room watching movies (free to use in reception), the bathrooms had plenty of space for 3 girls to lay out all their toiletries, the heating in the room was enough for us to turn the room into a sauna if we wanted and the gym and hot tubs were always available to use. The only tiny issue we had with 3 girls sharing a room, there wasn’t a huge amount of wardrobe space so be prepared to keep some stuff folded under the bed.As my room mates have travelled from other parts of the world I was the last to arrive and, due to jet lag, we were asleep at 8pm and up at 5am for hours of getting to know each other before heading out with the group to explore the Sun Peaks village. Again a quick google search will give you the stats but in real terms what that means is nothing is more than a 5 minute walk away, including so many different ski shops with every brand you’ve ever heard of, a range of restaurants, cafes and bars, a supermarket, a dessert shop and liquor store plus a range of other quirky shops, you could never be bored exploring this village. After Rob gave us a tour of the village and we picked up our lift passes, none of us could wait any longer and we all got ready to get on the slopes as quick as we could. After a few lift rides together, many falls and some of my favourite group pictures, we were really settling in as a group together.We had a buffet breakfast served to us every morning at the Cahilty, thankfully I have never been much of a morning person otherwise my salopettes would not have fit by the end of the trip! Having such small learning groups meant we got so much one on one attention and help from our instructors which was so needed, after 16 years of skiing I thought I knew how to do it but wow was I wrong! Having some of the best instructors in the world (the lowest level teacher we had was a level 3 working towards their level 4) meant they were able to completely undo and redo our skiing in a matter of weeks. Not only has my skiing improved dramatically, I can also understand and tell you why it’s improved!A typical day was an 8am start, a buffet breakfast, ski school at 9.30, lunch at 12, ski school again at 1, back in the room by 4, free time until 6/7ish dependant on dinner timings then social/homework time. The dinners were organised by Rob, we rotated in groups of 6 (the groups were also rotated every week) across 5 different restaurants. I am one of the fussiest easters you’ll ever meet so the food was a stress for me before I left the UK, but I was silly to ever be worried. We got to know some of the staff in the restaurants too so after a couple weeks, they remembered that one of our group was coeliac so they always sorted dinner out with him before he arrived at whichever restaurant he dined at.I could spend all day writing about my experience with Winter Sports as it was truly the best few months of my life. Sun Peaks and the Winter Sports course are second to none in what they offer, I became a better skier, skied some of the best mountains and terrain, trained with some of the best coaches the CSIA has to offer, made some great new friends, some of whom I still see 2 years on, and made some amazing memories. I can’t thank Winter Sports and especially Rob enough for making my season so enjoyable. If you have any doubts about joining one of these courses trust me, all those doubts will disappear as soon as you’ve skied that first slope!