There’s no day like a snow day – Cross Country Ski Lessons at Cypress Mountain


Flickr: Totororo.roro

Interested in cross country skiing? For years I have threatened to learn this fabulous outdoor winter adventure sport. Don’t misunderstand, I absolutely love skiing, but my past adventures have always been of the downhill variety. Despite the balmy, spring like weather this past weekend, the snow-capped North Shore Mountains were calling my name. Definitely time to head to the hills and register for an Introductory Cross Country Classic Ski lesson and rental package. Only thirty minutes from downtown Vancouver, Cypress Mountain, the 2010 Olympic Venue for snowboarding and freestyle skiing, is located in Cypress Provincial Park. On a clear day you can see for miles and savour incredible views of downtown Vancouver, Mount Baker, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.


Photo: J. Martin

Literally, I could feel the excitement building during the drive up the long, windy road to the ski area. Leave early to enough to allow time to stop at one of the roadside pullouts. The views will not disappoint! Climbing from sea level to the lodge the forest thickens. My pulse always quickens at the first sign of snow on the side of the road. That initial glimpse of the downhill alpine runs awaits as you round the bend. Hello winter! The Nordic parking lot is a separate area from the main alpine lodge. Be careful to watch for directional signs. A joyful, bustling place, there is an energy and vibrancy to the Nordic facility. Brightly coloured toques and snowsuits coupled with squeals of delight from kids in the sliding area greeted me as I approached the Guest Services building. I enjoyed watching the little ones tube and slide, something about that youthful enthusiasm is invigorating.


Photo: J.J. Koeman Location: Cypress Mountain

Despite delighting in the antics of the children, I couldn’t procrastinate any longer. Time to face the music and meet my cross country ski instructor. I was surprised to feel nervous, after all how difficult could cross country skiing be? For years, I have avidly watched the Olympic Winter Games and the cross country athletes appear to circumnavigate the course without difficulty. Surely I would be able to kick, stride and glide with the best of them. My fearless instructor Bryon introduced himself to the group and welcomed us to our session. With a calm confidence he assured us that we would love cross country skiing and be tackling the trails in no time. Hesitantly, I followed Bryan and within seconds I found myself on the ground doing a fantastic Bambi impersonation. This was trickier than it looked.


Photo: R. Weiss

Bryan immediately took away our ski poles and introduced a few balance drills. Balance without poles? “Remember to engage your core!” Bryan yelled. Frankly, I thought he had lost his mind, as one glance at me would tell him that I no longer had a core! My group progressed quickly and soon we found ourselves on the trails using the “herringbone” technique to climb upwards and relying on the “snowplough” during our downhill descents. Thanks to Bryon’s patience, knowledge and encouragement I am hooked! Hollyburn Mountain offers over 19km of groomed and track set cross country ski trails and 7.5 km are lit for night skiing. Be warned Cypress Mountain, I will be back.

Are you ready to try cross country skiing? Check out the Cypress Mountain website for information on lesson packages.

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