Hitting slopes made easy

By Darren Lum

Part of embracing winter is to make it fun by participating in winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding which for most can be a costly endeavour.
However the Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride hill in Eagle Lake is offering free beginner ski or snowboarding packages (rentals lift ticket and two hours of instruction) for first timers only aged between six and 60 on Sundays at 1 p.m. until March 20 except on Feb. 14 when it is offered Feb. 15. There is a limit of five participants per day and pre-registration is required with Dysart township’s Andrea Mueller at 705-457-1740 ext. 35 or amueller@dysartetal.ca.

On Saturday mornings the hill is also offering beginner packages as part of the Canadian Ski Council promotion of Discover Skiing and Discover Snowboarding packages offered across the country.

Sir Sam’s snow school director Mike Zapfe who has taught at the hill for close to 10 years said beginner packages benefit the public and the industry.
“It’s a good way to get into it … It’s not the cheapest sport in the world and so it’s a good way to try it out and get off the couch in the winter time. Everyone hates the winter blahs so let’s get out and have some fun” he said.

The cost is $65 for skiing and $85 for snowboarding both including tax.
The packages include a lift ticket rentals (boots and board for riders or boots skis and poles for skiers) and a two-hour group lesson including a helmet for children and adults. These group lessons are held every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. The lift pass enables access to the lower run Easy Street. For those who want access to all of the lifts and the runs after the lesson there is a $20 upgrade fee. Call the hill for anyone under six-years-old for lessons and packages.
Zapfe recommends people preregister because space is limited. However they will accept same day registration. Zapfe said the practice at the hill is to keep the ratio seven students to every instructor.

Another offer is the Canadian Ski Council’s SnowPass which enables Grade 4s and 5s (or nine or 10 years old who have equipment) to ski or ride at each participating ski area across the country for three times for $29.95. Applications are required. Certain restrictions may apply depending on the location. At Sir Sam’s a paying adult must accompany the child. See skicanada.org for more information and the full list of participating locations.

There is also a Discover Cross-Country package available at participating locations.
The Canadian Ski Council was founded in 1977. According to its website it is a national not-for-profit ski and snowboard organization whose mandate is to increase participation in recreational skiing snowboarding and cross-country skiing in Canada.

As of last week Zapfe said Sir Sam’s had five runs open and five lifts operating on 35 centimetres of base.
He adds Sir Sam’s is ideal for beginners who benefit from a strong cast of instructors.
“We pride ourselves on our lessons for beginners. We have some good terrain that’s great to learn on” he said. “All of us have been doing it for a long time and there is nothing more you love than to get a little kid and seeing the joy on their faces when they actually do it.”