Learning to Ski at Big White

This past year excluded, Gunther and I typically prefer to exchange experiences over gifts for birthdays and Christmas. With some of British Columbia’s premier skiing mountains in close proximity to our home, we decided to gift each other ski lessons for Christmas a few years ago. Neither of us had ever tried downhill skiing before so we knew we were in for an adventure. 


Living in Kelowna, Big White Ski Resort was the natural choice for a learning ground. Not only do they offer great deals for beginners, but the ski hill is also less crowded than the Lower Mainland’s North Shore mountains where I grew up. 


We started our lessons off on the bunny hills and we both killed it! The instructors were very friendly and knowledgeable and made us feel at ease. However, my failed attempts at snowboarding as a teenager and Gunther’s natural athletic ability should have been an indication of how things would pan out as the lessons progressed. 


By lesson two we had moved off the bunny hill and onto the “easy greens.” Apparently, no matter how good you are at pizza-ing down the bunny hill, once you hit a certain slope, it is completely ineffective. Cue the panicked dive into the snowbanks along the edge of the ski hill for me. Meanwhile, everything just clicked for Gunther. Turns out he’s a natural. Used to propelling himself down steep hills from all of his mountain biking, he glided down the hill like a seasoned pro, even stopping briefly to gleefully spray me with snow off his ski edges before continuing down to the bottom. 


From there, I stuck with the beginners clutching my ski poles until my knuckles turned white, while Gunther was learning “jumps” and racing down the blue runs in the intermediate group. 


Even though I started out a little shaky, with lots of practice and encouragement from friends, by the end of the season I was finally able to join Gunther on the longest nighttime ski hill in all of North America and actually enjoy it!


For roughly $250 per person, we had access to four small group lessons, four days’ worth of equipment rentals and four day passes. In order to practice between lessons and make the most of the season, we took advantage of their Friday night skiing deals, which at the time were $10 lift passes and $10 equipment rentals. We topped those night ski sessions off with a Fondue for Two at The Woods restaurant in the village, which made for several memorable date nights. 


While things look a little different at the ski hills this year with the pandemic, we’d highly recommend checking out Big White in the future. If skiing isn’t your jam, the mountain is also home to several snowshoeing trails, a tubing area and Canada’s highest outdoor skating rink. 


Do you know how to ski? Where did you learn? If you don’t know how, what’s holding you back?


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