Expedition #3- Ridgelines & Coastlines Cohorts

Words & Photos from Isabel C.

For the third expedition day, the Ridgelines and Coastlines hiking cohorts went up for a ski day to Mt. Washington. We combined this trip with the other outdoor groups; Paddling and Sampler, as well as the Ahousaht: Exploring Cultural Roots cohort. Students in the cohorts had the option of learning backcountry skills working in Strathcona Park, snowshoeing, or downhill skiing or snowboarding. We met at school at 5:15 am, so it was a pretty early start to our day! We took a 3 hour bus ride up as the sun rose and got to Mt. Washington just as the slopes opened.

Once we were there, we geared up and headed out. Some people brought their own equipment while the rest of us got rentals. There were many options to choose from, but I chose to do downhill snowboarding. When I heard that we were having a ski day I was very nervous. I haven't snowboarded for years and was very worried that I would not remember a thing. When I got there, my excitement started to grow and my nerves faded away. Everyone on the ski trip had to have a lesson at some time throughout the day. Mine was in the morning, and I found that it was very helpful and a good way to awake my old snowboarding skills. I started off by doing easy things and slowly worked my way up, challenging and pushing myself further. Everyone in my group was very supportive and it was a great way to grow closer to my classmates. Before I knew it, it was lunch time and we all regrouped to quickly eat before heading out again. After lunch, we had some free time to go and ski or snowboard. We stayed in groups of around 3 to stay safe. I improved enormously with my snowboarding skills as well as my confidence on the slopes. Although I am no expert at snowboarding, it was one of the best and most memorable days I have ever had. I am so grateful for this experience and I know that every single person had a blast. The day was beautiful with not a cloud in the sky and the bright sun shining down on us. Most of us got goggle tans and very pink cheeks.

At 3:00 pm I went on the ski lift one last time, taking in the view around me. Then, I did one last super fun run with my classmates and headed back inside. By the time we were on the bus again and moving, we were all so tired, we felt like we could sleep for a century. Overall, this expedition day was a great learning experience that helped me rekindle some old skills, learn new skills, as well as push me out of my comfort zone!