Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sunshine Village Race Weekend

Lara just completed another race weekend, again near Banff, but at Sunshine Village ski area, which sounds tranquil and small, but was in fact a huge skiing area, reached by a 15 minute gondola trip from a parking lot, which itself was 7km from the main road, so it was quite remote.
The weather was great, not too cold, and some fresh snow falling, so the problem was more with too much snow (can make skiing harder) rather than the too-little snow that we're used to at Nakiska, where icy patches are common.
On Saturday Lara had two runs on a "Kiddie Kombo" course, which is a shorter course, mixing slalom (small poles stuck in the snow, fairly closely spaced) with grand slalom (more traditional "gates", spread further apart), then on Sunday she had two runs down a longer Grand Slalom course, which even some coaches were saying was very long for kids, with 25 gates to negotiate.
Lara did really well, not missing any gates, on any of her four runs, and whilst her times meant she was some way off getting any awards, that's not the point at the moment, these races are about teaching her to get down in one piece, without missing gates, and to enjoy all the fuss that goes with racing. The faster times will come in the future.
Dan didn't do any skiing this weekend, he was happy to play in the fluffy snow or watch his tablet, and I am happy to stick with skiing with him at Nakiska where I'm familiar with the pistes, and we'll not go somewhere by mistake that might be a bit too hard for him. Or me.
Without knowing it, I did venture out of Alberta and into British Columbia at one point - one of the chairlifts I took on Saturday to the top of the mountain crossed the border, so for a few hundred metres and 10 minutes or so, I finally made it to wild BC, until I skied all the way back into comfy, homely Alberta.
One more treat at this resort is a heated chairlift! The seats are heated, and once you've sat down on it, you pull an orange, perspex cover down over the chair and ride up to the top station in relative warmth and comfort.
To make life a bit easier this weekend, we stayed at a hotel in Banff, so the kids were very excited to go and try out the hotel pool. It wasn't the biggest or best hotel pool we've stayed at, but Lara was happy, and her best ski-buddy Lillian was also staying there with her family, so that worked out well.

Here are a couple of short videos, the first one is the Kiddie Kombo, with very vocal support from her teammates, and the second is the end of one of her Grand Slalom runs: