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Nonstop Ski & Snowboard - Course reviews?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hey guys,

Been a skier for about 13 years but started snowboarding this year too.

I want to go out for a snowboard improver course this winter and was looking at NonStop, who do a 2 week improvement course in Fernie, Canada. 2 weeks is the maximum I would be able to take time off work for in one go. Will also be going skiing in the 3 valleys later on in the season.

I wonder if anyone knows about this/has experience and knows if it's any good? There's a thread from 2009 but I understand it's quite different now.

Things I'm interested in:

- I'm 31 - are there going to be lots of other people my age or is it mainly going to be the gap year/early 20s crowd who only want to go out and get smashed
- What is the instruction like?
- What is the quality of the accommodation like?

Many thanks for any help!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Mrs t_m did a course with them in Fernie a few years back. She was about 40 at the time, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Instruction was top class, accommodation (shared houses) was fine, and there was a good mix of people.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
That's great to hear!

Did she choose to stay in a shared house instead of a twin or single room in the hotel that Nonstop own (Red Tree Lodge)?


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sat 3-08-19 18:46; edited 1 time in total
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From my research most people are 30+ on a lot of the courses and the more advanced courses 40+ and beyond esp. at places like big white. Improver course may be a younger crowd but I guess it's a luck thing too. I'd love to do the off piste course with them for the full 6 weeks and probably would if I were single. This is only research mind I haven't been with them.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks Gainz - that's good to know. The only info I could find was from 2009 when someone from Nonstop replied to a thread saying it was about 35% gap year, 30% 20s, 25% 30s and the rest older, thought that was for the 11 week courses.

Where have you done your research from? Other than the official materials on the website, and a couple of articles I haven't managed to find much information about the nitty gritty details of these courses. The course PDF booklet certainly makes it seem like it's an incredible experience. I'm sure I'd have a lot of fun and learn a lot, just thought I'd get some more information first if possible, as it does end up being about £3000 for 2 weeks plus expenses out there.
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Met a few people that have been with them and seen the groups around in BC. All been very positive. I don't know about ages, but got the impression everyone was focused on skiing/snowboarding rather than partying (I assume that's part of your age worry?). I would say that on the face of it they are very expensive compared to what you can do independently, although I've never looked into all the details of what they provide.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@karansaraf, so I spoke to them via email/ online chat last year and also snow skool and snow trainers*. They all said roughly the same about age ranges. Instructor courses and beginner/ improver courses tend to be younger in the bigger resorts and 30s and 40s in the smaller resorts. It does vary though season to season. I eventually decided against doing an instructor course with snow trainers because .... well it was like skool!

Nonstop courses look a better bet but I'm determined to get my dream season in whistler for the same money!

* just remembered them.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
boarder2020 wrote:
Met a few people that have been with them and seen the groups around in BC. All been very positive. I don't know about ages, but got the impression everyone was focused on skiing/snowboarding rather than partying (I assume that's part of your age worry?). I would say that on the face of it they are very expensive compared to what you can do independently, although I've never looked into all the details of what they provide.


Well I'm all up for actively doing apres/social stuff with my group members, I just didn't want to be one of the odd ones out in a group of 18-23 year olds who just want to get trashed and go clubbing, which one review suggested happened all the time (from 2009). In fact, I'm well aware that I could do a holiday up there much more cheaply, but I don't want to be stuck on my own for 2 weeks without other people to hang out and socialise with, it's just that the type of socialising I want to do consists of dinner/bar and having fun chatting to people, rather than clubbing with people that are in a different stage of life than me.

For reference, they charge ~£2400 for transfers to Fernie from Calgary, 2 weeks' accommodation, breakfast every day, 3 dinners/week, lift pass for 2 weeks, 40 hours of group tuition max 7 people over 8 days and 4 days on the slopes without tuition. Also included are a day of cat skiing/boarding and if you want to give up one day on the slopes, then you can do an avalanche course. The only things not included are gear - I have my own - and flights, approx £500-600.
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I've been in BC on my own the last 2 winters. Never struggled to find people to socialise with, Canadians are very friendly, plus I stay in hostels which makes things easier. My worry with non-stop would be not liking my group who I am stuck with 24/7 for 2 weeks.

I had a look on their site and looks like £2800 (twin room) or £3304 (private room) for the 2 week fernie course. Also it looks like cat boarding is an optional extra, not included. Perhaps if you spoke with them directly they offered you a different price/package.

Season pass for fernie is around £750. The resort runs 3-day coaching courses including 1 apres video analysis session for £200. So for a similar amount (9 days instead of Cool you would be looking at £600. Transfers with fernie shuttle are about £150 return. Private room somewhere nice likr 3* powder mountain lodge would be around £900. Of course there are cheaper options too, avoid raging elk though which is a big party hostel.

So around £400 saving, plus 1 extra day coaching and a private room not twin if you go independent. Of course the non stop option is a nice package that puts everything together for you, which may be worth the extra cost to some people.
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karansaraf wrote:
That's great to hear!

Did she choose to stay in a shared house instead of a twin or single room in the hotel that Nonstop own (Red Tree Lodge)?


She chose to stay in the house as it seemed a better opportunity to meet people. She was there for 11 weeks on the CSIA level 1 course, and subsequently did CSIA 2 with Nonstop in Zermatt. Now works as a ski instructor here in Wengen.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
boarder2020 wrote:
I've been in BC on my own the last 2 winters. Never struggled to find people to socialise with, Canadians are very friendly, plus I stay in hostels which makes things easier. My worry with non-stop would be not liking my group who I am stuck with 24/7 for 2 weeks.

I had a look on their site and looks like £2800 (twin room) or £3304 (private room) for the 2 week fernie course. Also it looks like cat boarding is an optional extra, not included. Perhaps if you spoke with them directly they offered you a different price/package.

Season pass for fernie is around £750. The resort runs 3-day coaching courses including 1 apres video analysis session for £200. So for a similar amount (9 days instead of Cool you would be looking at £600. Transfers with fernie shuttle are about £150 return. Private room somewhere nice likr 3* powder mountain lodge would be around £900. Of course there are cheaper options too, avoid raging elk though which is a big party hostel.

So around £400 saving, plus 1 extra day coaching and a private room not twin if you go independent. Of course the non stop option is a nice package that puts everything together for you, which may be worth the extra cost to some people.


Yeah you're right in that it could definitely be done cheaper if you book it yourself. The all mountain snowboard improver course for 2 weeks in Fernie is 2570 (twin) right now on their website. And yeah, whilst the brochure says the cat boarding day is an "optional extra" I think that's just worded incorrectly, as they said that yes it's an option for you to do if you want, but if you choose to do it, it's included. I may have misinterpreted but they said "extra activities like cat skiing/boarding are included in the 2 and 3 week courses [not the 1 week]"


So you stay in hostels out there on solo trips and meet people to socialise with no problem? How old are you if you don't mind me asking, and what are the age breakdowns of people that stay in hostels over there? My hostel experiences so far in Europe and elsewhere (general travelling, not on the slopes) have been that it's all mostly the younger crowd in hostels, but snow holidays might be different I guess?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I really doubt that cat skiing is included at that price, but you should double check with them. If it is included it's an absolute steal as a day cat skiing is usually around £350 per day (which is kind of why I doubt it's included).

I'm 31. Hostel crowd covers a huge range from 18 to mid 50s. As long as you avoid a hostel with a bar you are generally ok. Most of the interior resorts people are there to ski, theres not necessarily much nightlife on offer anyway. Usually included in the crowd are at least a few people out for the season (holidays, lifties, or ski patrol) so often some great people to ride with.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Yeah I'm sure you're right. I'll double check anyway.

I guess the hassle with doing it yourself is you don't know much about the practicalities eg. if you book accommodation, how are you going to get to the slope every day, is there a shuttle directly outside, do you have to walk a bit etc. versus one where everything is organised for you in advance with no worries at all, though of course you pay a bit of a premium for that.

But I suppose if I can save quite a bit, then it's worth doing the research and saving. It's funny, I always do research and sort out all the details for other holidays (and have never even considered a "package" holiday), but for some reason see snow holidays as being different and want stuff organised for me Laughing eg. chalet holidays in the alps etc.
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
There is a shuttle to get to and from the hill https://tourismfernie.com/maps-travel/transportation/local-ski-shuttle

I don't think non-stop are in any way a bad choice. It comes down to if you think the premium cost is worth it. How much you can save really depends on how fussy you are with accommodation. A hostel dorm can be around £20 per night, but I realise this is not for everyone.

If you go independent you also have more flexibility with dates and could even look at other resorts (pros and cons).
ski holidays     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Yeah I think you've given me some useful stuff to think about! So thanks a lot for your input Very Happy

Do people tend to stay more in the downtown area of Fernie, or the resort town? I guess they're only about 15/20 mins by bus so it's not far. Presumably the resort is more expensive. I've just been looking at quite a few accommodation options.

Where have you previously stayed?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Many years ago I lived in the Samesun hostel for 3 months - now reconverted to the Powder mt lodge motel it seems. Short notice season trip.

Absolutely excellent fun. Good crew of seasonnaires getting out riding everyday plus enough throughput of visitors to make things fun. Social scene included keg parties and BBQs on hockey nights and Saturdays but rooms stayed pretty quiet if you wanted an early night.

Bars in town worked on a rota of what was on so there was always a crowd around but often just beers in the lounge was all we needed.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Yes the resort is more expensive "luxury" accomodation. I'm not sure there's a lot going on up there in the evenings. Most people stay in downtown fernie. (This is true for a lot of North American resorts staying in the local town and commuting to/from the hill each day - some Europeans used to staying in the village slopeside don't like this about n American skiing).

I've stayed in Rossland (red mountain), golden (kicking horse), and whistler long term. I've also visited some other places including fernie for a couple of days at a time. I would say whistler offers the best all around experience - but you pay for it. Fernie is a good choice forma first time visit, nice range of terrain, decent little town with a Canadian feel, good snow record etc. Some resorts like kicking horse are quite one dimensional (alpine steeps and chutes) you need to know if your going to enjoy it before committing for 2 week stay.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'd just do it. Fernie is great.

We stayed at the Red Tree once and it was really nice for the money.
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@karansaraf, Bleedin' expensive but good company, craic, and tuition. I do think they are squeezing the udder harder than needed but at the same time they're no worse than the competition and they have a very good reputation. I had two weeks with them a couple of years ago and although conditions were horrendous, I did get far more out of the time than I thought I would, especially as I was still in physical rehab from an injury the winter before.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Just a note, the Fernie RV campground is open through the winter . . . You could go full on Bear Grylls for the winter (the bogs and showers are heated) I've had a winter in a tent in Finland, with the right kit it's quite comfortable even without the centrally heated ablutions . . . Though I'm not sure my bladder control would be up to it now Crying or Very sad
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I believe Canada teach head to feet, so everything you have learned may go out the window!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Mr.Egg wrote:
I believe Canada teach head to feet, so everything you have learned may go out the window!


Thanks for your feedback @Masque, glad you got a lot out of it.

In not familiar with this term - head to feet?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@karansaraf, the head to feet thing is part of the CASI qualifications standards. If you're just going for their 'improvers' courses you could be taught by instructors from all over the world with many different styles. Mine was a far too elegant skiing Italian who made skiing on frozen crud look like he was cruising around on a billiard table Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad

Age, anything from 18 to 60+ Embarassed It's a big mix and people do gravitate to their peer groups for social fun. You'll find lots in your age group so don't worry about it. Some old farts can party a lot harder than the young squirts . . . you've never been to the eosb? Shocked

And don't forget, their prices are in Canadian $'s so it's better than you may think . . . though with the £in the toilet . . . Sad
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