Hitting the slopes on a budget: Canadian Ski Council encourages snow sport participation to stay fit, active during the winter months

Vancouver’s winter has been an unprecedented flurry of snow and ice. With ski and snowboarding areas reopening this winter season, what better way to spend it than to hit the slopes!

The Canadian Ski Council, a national non-profit organization that represents Canada’s 237 ski areas and is focused on increasing interest in snow sports across the country, released a media callout encouraging people to participate in winter sports to stay fit and active during the colder months.

“I think the interesting thing about skiing and snowboarding is it’s a sport for life,” said Paul Pinchbeck, the Council’s president.

“There are many activities that we all do that are fantastic sports, but very few are social and as applicable throughout your lifespan as skiing and snowboarding. When you combine that with the need for Canadians to stay active in all 12 months of the year, we think that skiing and snowboarding are a very compelling option for Canadians.” These financial constraints are particularly true for students who are often on tight budgets.

However, skiing and snowboarding are both daunting sports to undertake, especially when people have financial constraints and a lack of foundational knowledge. It requires a lot of equipment, safety precautions and time to learn.

Many people feel apprehension when it comes to where to start, what equipment to use and buy and who to reach out to. The Canadian Ski Council runs a trial program for beginners called Never Ever Days, which is a beginner’s program that covers life prices, lessons and equipment rentals for only $25. The lessons provide basic foundational knowledge on equipment and vital skiing skills such as turning, going and stopping.

Due to high demand, the Never Ever Days program has limited spots each season which go out fairly quickly. However, each ski area also has its own programs aimed towards introducing the sport in a beginner-friendly manner, and it’s simply a matter of doing research and checking out local ski areas to find out which program is the best fit.

Pinchbeck also suggested reaching out to university ski clubs for more information and opportunities for skiing in a group setting and for discounts, such as the UBC Ski and Board Club.

In terms of obtaining ski equipment, renting is a financially safe option for beginners, as most ski areas have up-to-date and high-quality equipment available for rent.

Pinchbeck also recommended reaching out to independent ski retailers who sell high-quality, lightly-used equipment at an affordable price, as well as looking out for online sellers who sell used items.

Most ski areas at this time offer promotions on ski lifts through season passes or online bookings, according to Pinchbeck.

The Canadian Ski Council also has a set of protocols called “Ski Well, Be Well,” which promotes prioritizing the health and safety of patrons and staff during the pandemic. The use of masks or face coverings indoors, vaccination passes and social distancing — even on hills — is mandatory.

“We believe that the best way to keep our sport open and viable is to keep everyone healthy and safe,” said Pinchbeck. “Indoor masks and vaccination passes ... all of those things that you’re experiencing in the university, or in downtown Vancouver restaurants are the same things that we’re experiencing in ski areas across British Columbia.”

For more information refer to the Canadian Ski Council’s website.