2 Thumbs Up!
4 years ago, my wife and I signed up for Extremely Canadian's 2 day clinic just before we attended NSP's Powderfall and the World Ski & Snowboard Festival at Whistler/Blackcomb. EC's clinic was more of a guide service than a clinic (as opposed to Powderfall where the PSIA demo team was clinic-ing).
We enjoyed the 2 days with EC
much more than we did with the demo team.
EC's Clinic was about skiing hard, pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, and skiing terrian that you would never ski by yourself (rocks are your friend - they provide good footing while traversing/sidestepping into chutes
: ) or find being a tourist there. While Powderfall (and skiing with the demo team) was about skiing a controlled line, body position, why are you loading up the ski so much
: (because I can!
: ), and saving one of the demo team's students from sliding head first over a small rock band (I had to personnally tackle/self arrest the guy while all the demo team members didn't know what to do and just watched in disbelief). Anyway, enough PSIA demo team bashing.
After a ski-off separating skiers into same skill groups (I was in one group while my wife was in another - good for our skiing, good for our marriage), we spent the first day on Whistler. My group's (led by Nigel McKissock
) first 2 runs were on The Couloir and The Cirque whereas my wife's group (led by Joe Lammers
) went off to Whistler Bowl. Anyway, lots of hard charging, off-trail, crud and powder skiing, with some tips on how to be a strong skier, not blocking the turn in steep terrian, but falling away from the hill, and skiing big, GS type turns in the crud and powder. My wife's group was working on the same thing, but just in a little bit more mellow terrain. They ended up skiing The Couloir and The Cirque later in the day. (FYI - she was the best skier in the "second" group so she had to do some waiting, but not that much where she got bored.) My group probably skied somewhere around 35,000' and my wife's group around 30,000'.
On day 2 we went to Blackcomb. Our first steep run was skier's left of Pakalolo, traversing in under the rocks on a 47 degree slope (rocks our your friend!). The reward - crotch deep powder for 250 yards right under the Glacier Express lift. Then it was off to skier's left of Couloir Extreme, skiing off the high point on the ridge, a 50+ degree slope. After 2 runs there, it was off to Spanky's Ladder and onto Sapphire, Garnet, Diamond, and Ruby Bowls. No ropes, just signs that say "Cliff" or just poles sticking in the snow (they mean "there's a cliff here stupid!). Incredible lift serviced skiing, much like the Alta Chutes, Tower 3 Chute, Rock Springs Bowl, or Granite Canyon at Jackson. We also skied Blowhole (stayed high skier's right until we got to the glacial ice and then did freefall jump turns back into the throat - short but fun), but most of the day was spent off of Spanky's ladder. My wife's group warmed up in Jersey Cream Bowl and then on the Showcase T Bar. After that they hit Couloir Extreme, Blowhole and then Spanky's Ladder (Sapphire, Garnet, Diamond, and Ruby Bowls). Video was shot and analysis/feedback on the video was performed. Skied around the same vertical feet as the day before.
By 3:30 pm, most were shot so it was off to Merlin's for nacho's, beer, and bragging.
I can highly recommend EC's clinics to anyone who is interested in getting this type of guiding/instruction. But be in shape and bring the fattest skis you own. Both my wife and I had 35+ days under us for the season (at Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole) when we showed up and we where both tired at the end, to the point where we took the next day off.
The guides Nigel and Joe were great. The best thing we got out it was knowing where to ski for the next week while we were there for Powderfall and WSSF.
Not to beat a dead horse, but after skiing with Nigel and Joe, skiing with the demo team for 3 days was downright boring.
We didn't stay at the lodge. We wanted to be at the hill, so we stayed at the Pan Pacific. I heard the lodge was great. 4 Stars for the Pan Pacific.