18 Week Zero to Hero Course Review

Sun Peaks Resort

“For anyone who is interested in this kind of thing – do it, save up & jump in feet first, even if it’s just to improve your skiing / boarding skills just do it, you won’t regret it.”

I originally set out with the goal of getting my level 1 & 2 certification in snowboarding. While looking through the search results I came across The Winter Sports Company.

After talking and sending emails with Steve and Beth running through my options I opted for their 18 week course in Sun Peaks, B.C. I could not have imagined it going so well for me.

Initially the cost can seem like a lot but when you break it down between flights, transfers, accomodation, meals, lift pass & training it is great value.

The snow in Sun Peaks is excellent, there is a lot of variety in all of the runs and the atmosphere in resort feels like a holiday all season.

The schedule keeps you busy for the majority of the trip and can be quite flexible depending on your goals.

Training was Monday to Friday, the instructors pick apart your technique and improve it so well they’ll have you riding more efficiently and with more confidence after only one week. We had the option to go and practice or mess about for an hour before training as the Sundance lift opens one hour before training starts. This extra hour before training was a great way to practice stuff from previous lessons if you felt you needed more time to grasp certain things.

At the end of each day we had the added bonus of being able to soak in one of the two hot tubs in our home away from home – The Hearthstone Lodge – much needed after some of the colder days when the temperature dropped to around minus 30 degrees and you felt as if your toes had frozen.

Over the course of the 18 weeks I became certified in level 1 snowboard (CASI) & completed a 3-day avalanche training course in December.

I January I completed Level 1 ski and level 1 adaptive sports (CADS), in February I did level 2 snowboard and park level 1 snowboarding in March.

I was fortunate enough to gain some excellent experience and meet some lovely people through working with CADS in resort most weekends from the beginning of February as well as building some shadowing hours on ski & snowboard lessons through the ski school. My instructor for level 1 & 2 snowboard training and the park certification was Kyle, any future students will be lucky to have him – you learn & improve every single day while also having a lot of fun, the tree runs are especially entertaining.

For 5 weeks from the last week in February I also took part in level 2 ski training but decided to delay my level 2 ski exam for my next season as I was leaving a few days before the exam was scheduled. Plus I needed to work on my skiing some more at that stage anyway!

Every single weekday morning I woke up excited for the buffet breakfast at Cahilty. Porridge, cereals, cakes & Danish pastries, fruit, yoghurts, rotating options like waffles/pancakes/french toast, bacon, sausage, scrambled egg, maple syrup & honey, several different breads, jam & peanut butter all washed down with o.j, tea, coffee or even hot chocolate. Enough to keep you going for an hour at least! If you went to training hungry you only had yourself to blame – and arriving hungry is not something I would recommend. Five evening meals per week were spread around the resort with rotating groups, this was a great way to get to know everybody over the first few weeks. I have zero complaints about the food or restaurants where we ate, Bella Italia was a favourite, they do an amazing spicy chorizo pasta.

It was great to see such a large group getting along so well and looking out for each other in and out of training, we even managed to get a few study groups going in the hotel to bounce questions off each other and practice our lesson teaches before each of the exams which really helped to calm the nerves. Most of your weekends can be free if you are not working / shadowing which means you can have plenty of free time to explore or catch up on rest. During the course we managed to have a few parties, made a few trips to Kamloops, went to see an ice-hockey game and one day we hiked to McGillivray lake.

I made some great friends on the trip, I was blessed with 2 very entertaining room mates, the training I received was brilliant and I had some amazing experiences.

For anyone who is interested in this kind of thing – do it, save up & jump in feet first, even if it’s just to improve your skiing / boarding skills just do it, you won’t regret it.

Thank you to Steve, Karen & Beth for all of your help with any concerns I had before going.

And a major thank you to Rob our course co-ordinator, friend & mentor who sorted out issues for everyone as soon as they came up. We would have been lost without him.

Sean Monahan

Sean achieved the following during his season with Winter Sports:
  • CSIA Ski & CASI Snowboard Instructor
  • Level 1 CADS Instructor (Adaptive sports)
  • Level 1 Park Instructor (snowboard)
  • Level 1 AST certified

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