Let Spring Fever Take Over!

Assiniboine Lodge

Article by guest blogger Powder Matt.

You can go to Google maps and know geographically where you’re going but you have to physically be there to let the journey shape your outlook and your feelings.

We can’t hold back our excitement when Spring rolls around – sunny days, longer nights and a change in the weather are enough big-time reasons to get us in the mood for a getaway.

Let Spring Fever Take Over.

Take a ski tour, snowshoe or cross country ski to let the fresh air of Spring fill your lungs and carry away the daily grind.

This is one fever you’ll want to catch – so book your trip now, have something to look forward to and feel the goodness when you try a new experience.

Fernie Alpine Resort

Places to take that first step. Book your Canadian Rockies region ski vacation with a twist.

Spring time is the perfect time to take a ski vacation into the Canadian Rockies region. Whether it’s your first time or you are a seasoned shredder, pick a ski resort like Fernie Alpine Resort, in Fernie, British Columbia, or Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, located in Golden, British Columbia, where you can easily ski to your door with on-mountain stays, along with a variety of other activities nearby to try.

  • Snow running, leisurely walks or snowshoeing make a great way to catch fresh air in your face and keep up on your cardio program, with the added benefit of nature time. Enjoy time in a log cabin, stay in Snow Creek Cabin, nestled in a cedar forest and snowshoe right out the front door. Or take the Mountain Heritage Snowshoe Tours offered by Fernie Alpine Resort’s Telus Winter Sports School, a guided tour that ends nicely with pasta and wine.
  • Nothing beats evening cross country skiing on the trails, after a day of fresh pow at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, return to your private ski cabin in the woods and check out the line up at Lush Mountain Accommodations. Kick and glide out the back door to the Golden Nordic Centre, offering a variety of trails to match your ability level.
Snowshoe Fernie, BC

Place to go wild.
Stay unplugged in a fly-in or ski-in only lodge in the wilderness.

Stride along.
Go old school with a classic cross-country ski vacation into a cluster of cabins that provide lodging, warm up next to the fire in the historic CPR cabin and enjoy homestyle meals at the Brewster’s Shadow Lake Lodge in Banff National Park. A bonus is that newly announced lodge managers, Katie and Leo Mitzel, are famous for service and incredible foodie experiences.

Assiniboine Lodge
Take beautiful steps deep into history.
Snowshoe trails abound here and the views can’t be beat with Mount Assiniboine looming above you – known as North America’s Matterhorn. After your tromp through the snowy meadows, kick back in the historic main lodge of Assiniboine Lodge, for the best social ever (unplugged, of course). After amazing food, grab hands and take a star-filled-sky walk back to your own private log cabin for your own version of story time. Your guides Claude and Andre are here to assist in providing memorable mountain time adventures, ready to break trail and share the joy.

First ski touring here.
Purcell Mountain Lodge, located high in the powder rich Purcell Mountains, a short heli flight from the alpine town of Golden, British Columbia, sets the bar high for luxury in the backcountry, with all the comforts of home. It is best to go with a guide when you are beginning the sport of ski touring. Ask for Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), like Ken and Stef, who will provide you with not only knowledgeable instruction, but to also include picking safe routes and discovering how to use the specific gear. They will make you feel like a champion on and off the slopes.

Fernie Alpine Resort
Adventure Gear Essentials

Wear a sweet helmet
The best helmet is the one you wear and the one by Sweet is a good way to go. Get the latest Sweet helmet with game-changer use of technologies combining lightweight, comfortable fit with the impact shield liner for safety.

Winter traction in the backcountry
Snowshoe easy, with the Tubbs new line up, allowing you to explore, providing a balanced and natural stance, making deep snow walks look and feel much easier.

Stay warm
Never forget the basics. Winter feels better when you wear base layers next to your skin. Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Pants and tops are perfect for all cold weather activities.

Poles matter
You can’t have any issues when you are out in the wilderness so get poles like G3 Via Carbon that are easy to adjust and most importanly durable.

Sticks that rip powder and the mountain
Rossignol Soul 7HD is hands down the best powder and all mountain play sticks you can put on your feet.

Build Forests
After ski or in the lodge, you’ll love the comfort and fit of a Tentree tee or sweatshirt and your doing good- as they plant trees for every item sold.

PowderMatt-250x300Powder Matt is hooked on Powder! Skiing has been part of his life for 40yrs! From ski racing to backcountry touring there is not a part of skiing that he does not like- in fact he will often say that spending a day in the mountains ‘Life is good when you do what you enjoy’ or refer you to his motto Eat.Sleep.Ski . He has been working in the Ski Resort business for over 20 years. He is the Senior Vice President, Resort Experience, at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. He looks forward to your comments. Make it a Powder Day! www.powdermatt.com

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Escape the City and Embrace BC’s Winter Mountain Culture

Whistler, BC. Photo: Andrew Strain

Article by guest blogger Powder Matt.

Something special happens in the mountains as we optimistically look forward to spring: the mountain air and sunshine are a bit warmer and the days are longer. That means it’s time to ski, ride or try some new winter activities in the fresh snow of a beautiful day.

I recently skied with Mountain Man Cole, athlete and social media influencer. He reminded me with his sunny outlook that just getting outside and trying a new sport or activity can nudge your busy self into a stress-free, happy place.

“Optimism is very important for success both in sport and life,” says Cole, as we skied at Fernie Alpine Resort. While stopping abruptly and spraying powder in my face, he added: “It’s important make time to get outside, meet winter head on and challenge yourself to a new mountain activity.”

Sure, Cole is an accomplished athlete, but with a little effort and a can-do attitude, you can get more out of your winter. Try one –  or all – of these winter activities.

Whistler, BC. Photo: Andrew Strain
Nightlife, Nature, Luxury

Whistler Blackcomb, the largest ski resort and village in North America, packs not only a peak skiing and riding experience, but a full lineup of activities and experiences, from pumping nightlife to serene snowshoes trails.

If you need anymore reason  to get here, Whistler Blackcomb has had its snowiest season of the past 10 years. Check out these statistics, which includes the fact that March and April are when the resort gets the most snow.

Powder Highway Magic

Kimberley Alpine Resort, Kimberley, BC: The laid-back vibe, mix of winter-loving folks and cool craft shops dotting a pedestrian-friendly downtown, make this place special. It’s a fantastic mashup for a stellar winter. It also includes a super-sized Nordic centre, fat bike trail network in one of Canada’s largest municipal parks, and a ski resort dotted with ski-in and ski-out lodging options. Kimberley Alpine Resort also offers a heart-pumping fall-line and powder-filled trees that will make you want to ski until the lifts stop every day. Families with small children will also find a private learning area, no through traffic, making first turns fun, safe and easy.

Fernie, BC. Photo: Powder Matt Mosteller

Fernie Alpine Resort, Fernie, BC: Feel the power of being surrounded by tall rocky crags, walk a historic main-street filled with local shops and dining, and stand mountain top on the biggest vertical ski area in the Canadian Rockies. This is the real deal; it’s hard to top this mountain town with tons of trails for your winter exploring. Pick your pleasure: snowshoe, fat biking and even mountain-side yoga to start your mornings at Fernie Alpine Resort. Stay slopeside in your own private place, with a hot-tub, then hit Cirque Restaurant and/or the Canadian Rockies only Stoli Ice Bar at Lizard Creek Lodge. If you’re looking for the ultimate in seclusion, where you can ski to your door of your own private enclave nestled in tall cedars, check out Snow Creek Cabin.

Fernie, BC. Photo: Taylor Michael Birk
Add one of these activities to your ski vacation

Thinking of trying something new? Take that first step with a lesson. You’ll be sliding, stepping or pedaling in no time.

Take a guided snowshoe tour to get up to speed quickly, learning simple steps that will have you feeling like a pro in no time. Many sessions also offer lunch or a hot beverage along the trail.

Cross Country
Take a lesson from professionals who will will show your classic strides or skate-style. Pick your own pace as you can head out for peace on the trails.

Fat Biking
Try the fast-growing sport of fat biking with a guided tour or with friends. Similar to mountain bikes, they have beefier tires to give you the ability to ride anywhere – and not just in snow but also in sand and mud.

Get More Adventurous
Check out the Backcountry Basics workshop at Fernie Alpine Resort. The two-day course provides coaching on how to use ski touring gear, uphill travel techniques, mountain environment awareness and snow safety.

Try Some Top Gear

Snowshoes: Check out Atlas Snowshoes, perfect for your city and mountain snow walks to pump up your fitness program. Don’t forget to bring your G3 poles; they’ll provide the added balance assistance.

Backcountry: If you’re getting started with backcountry ski touring this winter, try the new G3 climbing skins to make humping up that slope so much easier.

Stay warm: Enjoy you piping, hot coffee longer with a Yeti Rambler cup. It fits nicely in the drink holder of a or in the side pocket of your backpack.

Stay cozy: Nights out on the town feel comfortable along the Powder Highway or browsing the Whistler Village, in your free and easy Tentree Hoodie.

Pack it: Load up your gear in style with the Herschel Supply Parcel Luggage Bag, perfect for a multi-day sporty holiday.

Fernie, BC. Photo: Powder Matt Mosteller.
Start planning your BC winter getaway here.
Learn more about what to expect along the Powder Highway and at Fernie Alpine Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort.

PowderMatt-250x300Powder Matt is hooked on Powder! Skiing has been part of his life for 40yrs! From ski racing to backcountry touring there is not a part of skiing that he does not like- in fact he will often say that spending a day in the mountains ‘Life is good when you do what you enjoy’ or refer you to his motto Eat.Sleep.Ski . He has been working in the Ski Resort business for over 20 years. He is the Senior Vice President, Resort Experience, at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. He looks forward to your comments. Make it a Powder Day! www.powdermatt.com

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8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Rossignol

“We aim to be known as the most progressive and authentic mountain brand on the market.”Rossignol

Known as a leader in the ski industry, Rossignol is one of our go-to ski brands year after year. Having been around for 110 years, Rossignol continues to innovate and defy expectations in their manufacture of skis, boots, bindings and apparel. Learn more about what makes the brand unique and how it has stood the test of time.

  1. After Abel Rossignol made his own pair of downhill skis in 1907, a brand was born. This makes Rossignol the oldest surviving brand name in skiing, and also the oldest surviving factory in skiing!
  2. Rossignol skis were used in the 1936 Winter Olympics – the first Games to include alpine ski events!
  3. While Rossignol did not invent the concept, the company’s first laminated ski, the Olympic 41, was an advance in design. In only ten years, production of the ski quickly climbed to several thousand per year.
  4. Rossignol has been associated with the biggest names in the ski industry such as Emile Allais, three time world champion in 1937. Allais worked in partnership with the brand to design notorious ski models like the Allais 60: the first metal ski used to win an Olympic gold medal!
  5. Rossignol’s first ski made out of fibreglass was the Strato 1. It featured a woodcore laminate stuck with epoxy resin and had an innovative shape with sidecuts to enhance turns. This was by far the best selling ski in Rossignol’s history.
  6. When the company was incorporated as Skis Rossignol S.A. in 1972, Rossignol had become the world’s best-selling brand of ski.
  7. By the year 2000, almost 40% of all downhill skis sold throughout the world were manufactured by Rossignol.
  8. The brand’s motto is Another Best Day, which says it all. Rossignol wants to offer to all skiers of all experience levels great products featuring modern technologies and high quality materials.
“Rossignol’s wish is simple: to share with you our passion for the wonderful world of winter sports.”
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Tune-Up Services at Sporting Life

Markus Eder, Retallack, BC, Canada. Photo: Adam Clark

Since 1979, we have lived and breathed the Canadian winter. We are proud to be your one-stop shop for all things winter – especially equipment and tune-ups for the ultimate mountain experience.

If you are just getting into skiing or snowboarding, you may wonder…why tune my equipment? The answer is pretty simple. Just like any equipment – a bike, a car, an instrument – your skis need to be tuned to reach their top performance potential. The more you ski, the more wear and tear your equipment will endure. To get the most use out of your skis and to ensure that they stand the test of time, regular tuning will keep you and your equipment safe.

“Regular” tuning can mean something different to every skier; a racer will require more frequent ski tunes than a casual family skier who hits the mountain a few times a season. The look and feel of your skis will tell you when it is time to bring them in for a tune.

Are the edges rough and the base worn? How do they feel while you are skiing – is it harder than usual to stay on track?

Dull edges are a surefire way to have a less than ideal skiing experience. Along with sharp, smooth edges, skis also require wax to function properly. As they are made from porous material, skis need wax to keep water and dust out of their pores, making for a faster and more responsive ride.

If you aren’t sure, bring your skis into your nearest Sporting Life! Our staff can tell you in a second whether your skis are due for a tune-up. A proper tune will ensure that no matter the snow conditions, you will have a great day on the slopes.

Boyd Callaway from Sporting Life Market Mall.

We’ve tuned for the pros, and we’d love to tune for you! Our staff have learned from the best when it comes to the art of tuning – have you read our blog post on tuning skis in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, or our post on a week spent with the NCOST? Each of our locations boasts top of the line Wintersteiger machines, guaranteed to send you to the slopes in peak form.

Want to learn more? Watch the video below, featuring our Collingwood shop expert Bill, or visit our website to learn about the specifics of each store’s tuning machines.

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Let’s Meet Along the Powder Highway

Why a road trip with a full serving of snowflakes is good for you

Article by guest blogger Powder Matt.

The snow is falling again. Faces with powder crumbs – a normal look – highlighted by colourful toques line up for rides up to Fernie Alpine Resort. It’s the first stop on our week-long road trip to four deep ski destinations dotting the aptly named Powder Highway.

This famed stretch of pavement threads its way through forested valleys and over jaw-dropping alpine passes, making every powder aficionado drool as they land in one historic and homey mountain town after another.

Get ready because your Insta account will be filled with photos of you being silly and playful – kind of like those college road trips you used to take.

Here’s what a skier or rider’s holiday looks like.

First base: Fernie, B.C.

We take an evening stroll along the snow-filled streets of downtown Fernie, minutes from the ski resort of the same name. Music spills out onto street, accompanied by the occasional blasts of the freight train, as we checked into the iconic Brickhouse. Beer has been poured here for many decades to fuel the thirsty miners and now skiers, who enjoy pints of Fresh Trax, made by the Fernie Brewing Co.

Next morning, we get up early from your secluded slope-side Snow Creek Cabin, to make the first chair, on the “old side” as locals call it. This is where our powder safari begins across five bowls, starting with Cedar Bowl. We hit up the perfectly spaced trees somewhere off to the skier’s left. (Just ask a local if you can’t locate it.) We end our day with last chair to a sharp rocky point, Polar Peak. This is a milestone for advanced skiers and riders, where you stare down your slot, turn after turn of thigh-burning fun, all the way to base and beers at the famous Griz Bar.

Powder tip. Pick a ski resort that offers ski-in and ski-out convenience. That means no need to pack up each morning and more time on the slopes or just relaxing. Our stay was sweet and easy with your own private cabin, at Snow Creek Cabin and taking a dip at the full-service Lizard Creek Lodge, complete with slopeside pool. There’s no need to get up too early when you’re just 50 feet from the lift.

Second base: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden, B.C.

The following morning, fueled up with coffee from the Valley Social, we head north up the big valley, sculpted by glaciers and cut by two rivers named the Kootenay and Columbia. Forested sides give way to jagged peaks on both sides as we descend into Golden, B.C., home of loggers, railroaders, hard working folk, ski bums, mountain guides and adventure seekers. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort rises above town, with large runs cutting across nature’s canvas. This bucking horse has the fourth largest vertical in North America, at more than 4,000 feet. Lifted to the summit by the Eagles Eye Gondola, we slide skier’s left to the Stairway to Heaven Chair. Up a short stair case, we’ve reached the ridge top and drop in. Honking it down Whitewall’s steep goodness we reach the base and are ready for another lap. Later, we try a run called Crazy Legs, accessed from the top of Terminator 2 Peak. A stop at the Whitetooth Brewing Co., delivers Blower Pow a fresh and lively pale ale, the perfect match for fire-side hot tub, and cabin in the snowy woods from Lush Mountain Accommodations.

Powder tip. You can enhance your skills on these big mountains by taking a clinic. Try the Big Mountain Clinics led by all-mountain professionals at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

Third base: Red Mountain, Rossland, B.C.

Rossland is just shy of a three-hour drive over Kootenay Pass from Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook, B.C. (WestJet is adding service in early March). It’s easy to allow your mind to wander and dream at Red Mountain.  We head right up to the north side of Grey Mountain and buckle up. We’re about to dig into a buffet of tree-lined chutes and powder. If that doesn’t fire up your quads, then take another lap on the next one over. Rossland offers plenty of apres ski and dining options along its main street. Check out ski-in and ski-out lodging right at the base of the mountain.

Powder tip. Don’t forget skiing and riding with a helmet is safer, warmer and more comfortable. New models come with lighter and stronger materials, like the Smith Quantum Helmet, using Koroyd (a kind of crushable plastic). The helmet also has removable ear pads.

Powder tips. Add the Max Pass to your Blue Mountain season pass and get five free days of skiing at Fernie Alpine Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Keep your craft beer cool with the Yeti Hopper for the hot tub celebrations. Wet boots are no fun, so keep that DryGuy handy for easy after-ski drying. Walk the main streets in comfort, Kootenay style, with one of Bog’s Tall Boots so your feet stay warm while you dance under the street lights and snowflakes.

You can fly into Canadian Rockies International Airport, in Cranbrook. From there, rent a car and journey along a giant loop, from Fernie to Golden (Kicking Horse) and then onto Red Mountain with a free ferry ride across massive Arrow Lake, to Rossland and then east back to the airport.

Read more on SnowSeekers.ca and Powder Matt’s recent adventure:

If You Go:
Fernie Alpine Resort
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Red Mountain
Start planning your BC Powder Highway ski holiday here.

PowderMatt-250x300Powder Matt is hooked on Powder! Skiing has been part of his life for 40yrs! From ski racing to backcountry touring there is not a part of skiing that he does not like- in fact he will often say that spending a day in the mountains ‘Life is good when you do what you enjoy’ or refer you to his motto Eat.Sleep.Ski . He has been working in the Ski Resort business for over 20 years. He is the Senior Vice President, Resort Experience, at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. He looks forward to your comments. Make it a Powder Day! www.powdermatt.com

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A Week With The NCOST

This month, Eric Bernard from Sporting Life Ottawa had the opportunity to spend a week with the National Capital Outaouais Ski Team (NCOST). He represented the Sporting Life Race Department as an assistant for on-hill training and learned from the best of the best. Below is his daily log from his experience working with NCOST elite athletes!

Day 1

This is an excellent opportunity for me to assist the team in their journey through the season as well as further my understandings of the ski racing world. The athletes had grins ear to ear seeing me show up at the airport this morning. The weather on the other hand wasn’t too pleased to see me go. From the moment I rolled out of bed to takeoff at YOW; big, fat, white gold making its way down. Luckily we were able to takeoff on time. The flight went well, got a chance to finally watch the sequel to one of my favourite movies (Bon Cop Bad Cop 2). Definitely worth the watch. Skis, tools and equipment made it through the unforgiving hands of the baggage handlers OK. We got settled in to our rooms at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge. Skis were unloaded and prepped for training tomorrow. We’re starting things off nice and easy tomorrow with some GS freeskiing. Getting down to business with some lane space and gates in the ground in the afternoon. I can’t wait to see these kids shred some gates and slay some arcs. After slaving over their equipment since July I’m curious to see it perform on the snow.

Day 2

First day of training was off to a good start. Woke up to the most extravagant of sunrises I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. Mountain peaks, sunshine, snow.. What more can a skier as for? With vans packed and athletes still half asleep, we left for Nakiska. We arrive to the pleasant sight of 30 fresh centimeters of white gold.

Err.. Well.. Pleasant for me!.. Not so much for the 80 odd some racers occupying the mountain alongside me. These guys need hardpacked and groomed conditions to truly perform. Luckily we had a dedicated training lane on the upper mountain in the afternoon and not the morning. Leaving all the snow clearing and hard work to the Italian team in the AM. We had a couple laps on the lower mountain. Athletes attempting to carve through the crud on their race skis whilst I was cruising and shredding with ease on a demo pair of Rossi EXP 88’s. After having lunch with few of our friends over on the Ontario FIS team, we head out to set for the afternoon. Boy oh boy do I not miss schlepping bundles of gates. As we set our way down the mountain Joey (coach of the team) was getting increasingly worried about the ruts left by the Italian Super-G course. Finally with gates in the ground and sore legs from slipping, the course was ready for racing. One by one athletes made their way down the mountain. The first few runs were rough. Athletes looking flustered trying to work the new GS skis around the gates. Fog settled in, as did frustration with a few athletes. Most disappointed in their skiing performance. Luckily a few breakthroughs were made towards the end of the training session to raise morale. Tear down was clockwork, working with experienced athletes makes a world of difference. Kids knowing to roll up gate panels, or bungeeing bundles made Joey’s work easy.

Back to the base of the mountain we went. Gear off, vans packed we head home for the evening. Back at the lodge a few bindings needed inspections. Exhausted I wrote this email, now it’s time for bed.

Day 3

Day two of training was off to a later start today. We had our training lane in the afternoon again so we figured we would let the athletes sleep in a little longer.

Faire la grasse matinée as we say in French. Yesterday was a long one. Vans again loaded with racing equipment and groggy racers, we made our way to the hill.

Morning free skiing was a hit, snow was stellar and the kids were skiing well. Over lunch, Joey worked some of his socializing magic and scored us the course the Albertan team had set in the AM. No need to set gates for us! A bit of slipping and adjusting gates and the course was ready to race. The athletes were tearing up the course run after run. I spent most of my afternoon slipping and standing on the sideline listening to Joey’s critiquing of the young racers. Mostly repeating the same thing. These athletes all seem to suffer from the same technique failures. Incomplete turn shapes forcing them to step to the next turn. Video footage was taken by Joey’s assistant in order to help the athletes understand the crucial changes they need to make to their skiing. Once we were back at the lodge, Joey proceeded to take the athletes aside, one by one to go over the footage. During this time I had the chance to spend some time in the tuning room with the athletes as they prepared skis for the next training day. This granted me the opportunity to correct a few tuning misconceptions, adjust some bindings and make sure the skis I worked so hard to make fast stay that way! With skis ready to race and athletes eager to work on their skiing, I now make my way to bed.

I’m curious to see how the athletes will ski tomorrow after the video feedback.

Day 4

Day three of training was an interesting one. The weather seemed promising on the way to the hill. The sunshine was peeking its way through the Rockies. The morning’s freeskiing session went smooth as athletes were adjusting to the soft and warm snow. Once we got up to the summit for the afternoon was when the tables turned. A cold front had made its way to the hill and flipped the conditions for the worse. Rain was starting to come down on the mountain making the soft snow even softer. This had far worse repercussions than anticipated. Due to the extra-soft snow, ruts starting forming at speeds faster than we could work them out. As a result, one of the athletes skied off the race line and into a rut, only to get bucked and bent the tip of his ski. After that, we called it a day and pulled the course. Things were getting too hairy to keep racing. Once back at the lodge Joey  attempted to bend the ski back into shape with no success. I fortunately was able to get a hold of our Volkl rep and got him to send out a replacement pair for the athlete. The athletes and I spent the evening in the tuning room going over tool maintenance and equipment maintenance as well. Cleaning files, keeping base brushes clean, regularly checking bindings, tightening boot buckles. The forecast for tomorrow isn’t very inspiring either. Rain day in and out.

Keeping my fingers crossed the rain turns to snow in the altitude of the mountain.

Day 5 & 6

Day four of training was not much to write home about. The non-stop rain had Nakiska underwater and closed for the day. So the athletes and I took advantage of the opportunity to go over the skis, make sure all edges were sharp and bindings well adjusted. Day five on the other hand, was an awesome day of training.

We showed up to the hill with a few cm of new snow on the ground. Freeskiing in the morning was great. The athletes were skiing well and the sun poked out of the clouds to soften the hard choppy snow under the powder at the base of the mountain. After lunch we took the training to the reserved lane at the summit. The conditions there were spectacular. The new snow had been blown clean off the mountain by heavy gusts. Leaving only the rock solid man made tarmac to race on. Ideal conditions for peak performance. Now that the athletes were on familiar snow, they really started to shine. Some talent that had been held back since the beginning of the camp was starting to become apparent. With gates in the ground and timing set up the competitive atmosphere was booming. Athletes were huddled up at the finish of the course waiting as their teammates made their way down. Comparing times, discussing different skiing tactics, approach lines and such. It was fascinating to see how skiing performance drastically changed when timed runs were thrown into the mix. At the end of the day, high-fives were exchanged by all followed by laughs and a lot of “I’ll get you next time!”‘s.

The ski racing happening up the road from us has the kids stoked and really in a racing mood. Can’t wait to see our Canadian Cowboys race Lake Louise tomorrow! Go team Canada!!

Day 7

Day six of training was like none other we’ve had all week. No skiing was to be done. Dreams and goal setting on the other hand was the theme of the day. We got to Lake Louise just as the racers of the day were warming up for the race. Until today, I’d never had the pleasure of attending a World Cup ski race. This is no U14 local race. The men out here are charging for the podium. As start time approached, the NCO athletes and I strategically posted ourselves in the finish corral with good view of the race track. Chris Powers’s and Fuzzy’s athletes got the chance to run the track as forerunners. An excellent opportunity for them to get some World Cup grade speed skiing under their belts. After the they made their way down the crowd was humming in anticipation for the first racers. The atmosphere was electric. I can’t imagine what it was like at the other end of the track. One by one, the racers hauled their way down the race track. Steep right out of the gate. Two pushes from the gate and these guys were cooking. Crouching the tucks as aerodynamic as possible through the Sunset Flats, anything to hold on to that precious speed. Flying around Coaches, hanging on with every inch of ski edge they had. Only to get thrown from one side of the hill to the other on the Fallaway. You could hear the crowd hold their breath every time someone came buzzing around that corner. Banging out of the Gun Barrel with ludicrous speeds.

Finally the racers would come into view at Claire’s Corner. Flat out tuck to the finish to a roaring crowd. Every time one of these guys crossed the line, the only thought that crossed my mind was such. This is racing. The podium was as follows, Beat Feuz 1st, Mathias Meyer 2nd and Aksel Lund Svindal 3rd. There was one performance that stood out from all the others. Broderick Thompson climbed his way into the scoring field of the race from starting bib 38 finishing 23rd.

An impressive result given the quickly deteriorating track conditions. After the award ceremony everyone made their way to the Chateau Fairmont for the bib draw for the SG tomorrow. Food, cocktails and ski racing. Now that’s a party. I got the chance to catch up with my Race Dpt teammates, coworkers and mentors, Chris and Fuzzy. I ran into a lot more Ottawa folks than I expected. As the night went on, the racers were called up to the stage one by one to pick their starting position for the next race. Chris and I were trying to guess who would pick what number, what strategy they would go with. We were surprised to see bib 1 left to the last racer. With the start list ready for tomorrow, we called it a night and head back to Canmore.

I can’t wait to go see another one of these races. Never have I felt so much thrill watching these people stare danger right in the face and conquer.

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A Guide to Custom Boot Fitting

Your ski boots provide control, steering, balance and comfort. With each of these, you’ll be skiing as effectively as you possibly can! Our in-store custom boot fitting services are perfect for skiers of any level, whether this is your first or fifth pair of boots.

When a ski boot doesn’t fit properly or the shape isn’t quite right, your foot loses its battle against the boot. Our boot-fitting expert Cam compares custom boot fitting to finding the fourth leg for a 3-legged table – the goal is stability!

We’ve laid out a few common problems associated with ill-fitting ski boots. Our boot fitting technicians would be happy to sit down with you and address any issues you may have, whether they are listed here or not. Visit your nearest Sporting Life and find the perfect fit!

boot fitting wall
boot fitting
Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are the result of your foot banging against the shell time and time again, causing grievances to your foot. The body builds up calcium in that area as a natural band-aid, but this can cause long term pain.

To relieve the tenderness associated with bone spurs, our technicians will often dremmel out a small crevice in the shell, and pad the area around the spur. We will also ensure that you have a properly made footbed to reduce rubbing on the spur.

Cold Feet

There are a variety of reasons that your feet could be cold while skiing…the biggest misconception is that cold feet come from a boot that touches your toes. In fact, if your toe isn’t touching the boot, there is dead air space in the boot which will reduce the overall temperature.

The best way to prevent cold feet is clean, dry socks. ONE PAIR ONLY! Two pairs of socks interferes with a proper fit, which is the best way to keep warm. Instead of choosing a chunky, padded sock that won’t wick away moisture, choose a thin sock that keeps your boot fitting properly.

Another way to keep your feet warm in your ski boot is with a heater. Heated socks and liners come in many different styles which suit different styles of skier. While a ski racer may prefer a streamlined heated sock – such as a pair by Lenz with Bluetooth capabilities- any skier would fare well with the Conformable Pro Set Remote Foot-Warming System. It may ring in at a higher price point, but your toes will thank you after a full day on the mountain!

Shin Bang

“Shin bang” is exactly that – a bruise on the shin due to banging against the boot! The most common problem is that the boot is too big, and that pressure is not evenly distributed on the leg as the boot flexes. This can also be due to a lack of proper footbed – the angle of the leg changes, causing the shin to bang against the boot.

Aside from selecting a boot in the correct size, a booster strap can often fix the problem of shin bang. This dynamic power strap replaces the existing strap on your ski boot. Not only will a booster strap prevent your shin from banging against the front of your boot, but it will also lead to better ski performance & control and better shock absorption within the boot.

Toes Falling Asleep

If your toes are falling asleep, that means your boots are too tight, right? Not necessarily!

While our technicians will check the toe box to ensure that your toes aren’t being squeezed, the typical cause of toes falling asleep is an improper footbed. With an ill-fitting foot bed, the foot’s circulation is being cut off in an area where you may not feel it (i.e. inside the ankle or near your arch).

A proper footbed is key to a well-fitted boot. Our technicians will remove your sock and measure both of your feet while sitting and standing. This will ensure that your footbed allows for the collapse of your foot arch as your ankle bends. Our go-to brand of insole is Superfeet; these insoles are low volume, thinner, and are perfect for someone skiing less than 100 days a year.

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Why Your Child Needs a Helmet This Winter


We all know the importance of wearing a helmet when you ride a bike – pavement is no joke! However, we often forget that a helmet is just as important for snow sports. Any time you hit the slopes on skis or a snowboard, you need to protect your head from unexpected impact. Even the most experienced skiers take a tumble once in a while! We stressed this idea last season for adults, but we feel as though we need to drive the point home for parents of kids just learning how to ski.

Even if a skier isn’t moving very quickly, a fall on snow can lead to some gnarly head injuries. According to a report from the New York Times, wearing a helmet when skiing has reduced head injuries such as fractured skulls, facial lacerations, and head lacerations by as much as 50%! Helmets also protect your neck from whiplash. Hit a bump and went down hard? Your helmet is what kept your neck from taking the brunt of the impact!

The last thing you want is a scary injury putting an end to a fun, carefree day in the snow – be prepared!

When choosing a helmet for your child, you need to be sure that it fits just right. A helmet is not something to “grow into” – in order to be safe, it needs to fit properly right away. It shouldn’t wobble from side to side, it should be snug, and the chin strap should secure comfortably without being too tight. After you have figured out the right fit, you can move on to aesthetics! Helmets come in all kinds of fun colours to keep your look fresh on the hill.

While many ski resorts do not require helmets, we do not recommend stepping out onto the mountain without one. Our experienced staff at our stores would be more than happy to help you in picking out the perfect helmet for your child’s head.

Along with a helmet, goggles are a must for safety when hitting the slopes. Paired together, a helmet and goggles will keep sun and snow out of your eyes. A helmet also helps goggles fit better; a good fit means less wind and moisture can get in! For busy ski parents, try this new helmet from Salomon – the built in visor will keep you from hunting for lost goggles, perfect for the little skiier on the go!

During our Kids Can’t Wait For Winter ski & snowboard event, junior helmets, goggles & ski poles are buy one get one 50% off!

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5 Reasons to Shop Kids Can’t Wait For Winter

Temperatures are on their way down – winter is coming! Our favourite season of the year is just around the corner, and just like us, we’re sure your kids can’t wait for winter. Skiing, snowboarding, snowball fights, tubing, building a snowman…you want your kids to be prepared to go barrelling out the doors once the first snowfall hits. Now is the time to get their coats, snowpants, and gear ready to go!

Our Kids Can’t Wait For Winter event is on now, and we are offering tons of deals on kids snow gear to prepare you for the imminent cold weather. Below are 5 of the best reasons to shop now – the slopes await!

1. Buy the Jacket, Get the Pant

You can’t play in the snow without snowpants and a jacket! When you buy any new arrival junior ski or snowboard jacket, you get the pant 25% off. Have your kids looking fresh as ever as they fly down the hill this winter – find bright colours with brands such as Reima, Columbia and Sunice!

2. Hardgoods BOGO

Keeping your kids safe on the slopes is the #1 priority. When you buy a junior helmet, goggle or ski poles, get one 50% off! The coolest new Salomon helmet has a built in visor, and new poles will help them improve their stability run after run.

3. Buy More, Save More

You can never have enough accessories to keep your kids warm. The more you buy, the more you save! Buy 2, save 10% – Buy 3, save 15% – Buy 4, save 20% on children’s winter hats, mitts, gloves, and long underwear!

4. Boots on Boots

These boots were made for playing. Sorel, Cougar, Kamik and Bogs are some of our most trusted winter boot brands, and during this event, selected styles are $49.99-$59.99. Keep those toes toasty warm all day long!

5. Junior Half Back Program

Have you heard of our Junior Half Back Program? You can learn more about it here – After purchasing a ski or snowboard package, you as a parent may return the package at the end of the season for a credit of half the value purchased to use for the following year!

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Powder Time in the Rockies

Article by guest blogger Powder Matt.

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Treat Yourself

Not surprising is the fact that more than 70% of what we do is motivated by rewards. But it is not just that bonanza goal of getting a bigger home or new car, as these benefits are less regular. What really provides your inner fire the fuel it needs to charge is positive weekly or monthly treats. Not only do you reap the goodness of having something to look forward to, but the benefit of the recharge or adventure is super awesome for you.

Make Powder your pleasure this month! Forge new friendships, play in a big-mountain playground, fly into Calgary International, or head out on a road-trip to British Columbia that will provide that beneficial disconnect you need and flavor your face with powder, at one of these famed pleasers. Now let’s get on with our Sporting Life.

British Columbia is Calling!
Golden Plate.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, only 6 feet shorter than Jackson Hole, a rugged place, earn your badge of courage here, challenge yourself to champagne powder in one of the over 80 chutes, enjoying North America’s fourth biggest vertical.

Chatter Creek, one of North America’s largest cat skiing operations, a vast area, imagine you and only 36 friends on close to 60,000 acres of your own private powder playground.

Purcell Heli Skiing, offers you the triple threat, enjoy deep and dry Purcell powder, with some of the most experienced guides in the heli skiing industry and a vast terrain spread across a region famous for snow. There is a reason this is where heli skiing was started.

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Fernie Flavour.

Get to know Fernie Alpine Resort, the leader in the Canadian Rockies. Bigger than its Banff cousins, Fernie offers more runs to enjoy, deeper snow to play in and more vertical for thigh burning fun. Plus enjoy that ski in and ski out lodging which makes any ski vacation sweeter.

Fernie Wilderness Adventures, cool vibes, and down right deep snow, make this the best value in cat skiing in Canada. Professional guides will get you some deep fun and you’ll make friends for life inside the cab sharing tales of deep turns. Stay in four star Lizard Creek Lodge, enjoy some days skiing Fernie Alpine Resort in preparation for your deep turns with Fernie Wilderness Adventures.

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Powder tips for making the most of your week in the Rockies.

You Eastern skiers have got this one.

Just like skiing hard-pack or running a GS course, you have to have a balanced stance on your skis. Feel the front of your boot, specifically pressure on your shins vs your calf. Don’t get in the back seat, sitting back, you’ll spend more time digging out than enjoying the bliss of floating run after run.

Yoga and Powder Have Flow
Movement or flow is vital to keeping the skis moving in deep snow. Get some speed and keep the momentum moving forward and you are good to go.

Ski Size Matters
The ski pros at Sporting Life can assist here. Fat or wide skis, will not only make it easier to enjoy your powder turns but they also conserve energy, so you can enjoy more vertical.

Don’t Fight
Let the gear work for you. You got this, let the skis move, remember that flow is key and a bit of speed, you’ll be making famous powder eights in the snow in no time!

PowderMatt-250x300Powder Matt is hooked on Powder! Skiing has been part of his life for 40yrs! From ski racing to backcountry touring there is not a part of skiing that he does not like- in fact he will often say that spending a day in the mountains ‘Life is good when you do what you enjoy’ or refer you to his motto Eat.Sleep.Ski . He has been working in the Ski Resort business for over 20 years. He is the Senior Vice President, Resort Experience, at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. He looks forward to your comments. Make it a Powder Day! www.powdermatt.com

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