Frequently Asked Questions | About | OttawaSnowhawks Ski & Snowboard School | Toronto + Ottawa Ontario
  • Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions - Ottawa

We get so many questions that we have dedicated a whole page to the most common ones.

If you require futher info or clarification, please contact us. We're more than happy to speak with you, or send an email reply.

Please select the appropriate set of Q&As

Teen & Youth Programs refers to Saturday, Sunday & March Break programs

Wednesday Adult Getaways refers to both the full Wednesday program, and the Flex Pack

Skiing/Snowboarding-in-Schools refers to the mid-week, after-school programs

  • TEENS + YOUTH PROGRAMS
  • WEDNESDAY ADULT GETAWAYS
  • SKIING + SNOWBOARDING IN SCHOOLS

General FAQs – Teen + Youth Programs

  • What is Snowhawks' teaching philosophy? +

    Snowhawks provides excellent skiing and snowboarding instruction in a safe and stimulating environment which promotes friendship, self esteem and physical fitness. We believe that all skiers and snowboarders, from beginners to most advanced, should be challenged to develop their skills, and to develop confidence to ski and/or snowboard in all types of conditions and over diverse terrain. We also believe that everyone can and should meet with success, so our instructors plan lessons carefully to select the proper terrain, set reasonable goals and structure the learning at a comfortable pace. Above all, we pay close attention to the individual needs of each member to ensure that they are learning, having fun and feeling comfortable with others and with themselves.

  • What if my son/daughter doesn’t like it? +

    We will do everything in our power to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible. To begin, we will discuss the matter with you to collaborate on possible solutions. If we feel that the director or coordinator should ski or snowboard with your son or daughter, or if a group change will do the trick, or some one-on-one attention, we will do it! We also offer the Snowhawks guarantee for children aged up to nine years old on the Saturday Laurentian Traveller or Sunday Gatineau Traveller: "If the parent or child after three weeks does not want to continue with the program for whatever reason (no questions asked) we will refund all of the monies pro-rated!" That’s how sure we are that your son/daughter will enjoy themselves.

  • What if an injury or illness precludes my child from continuing with the program ? +

    Provided that Medical Cancellation Protection is purchased, anyone unable to continue with the program due to medical reasons will be issued a pro-rated refund (less a $20 deductible) for the remaining days. A note from a physician is required for cancellation. Medical Cancellation Protection is available for a cost of $10 to $25 depending on the program and must be purchased at the time of registration. Medical Cancellation Protection does not apply to a day missed owing to a cold, the flu or minor injuries; rather, we will allow make-up days provided we have the space to accommodate this on alternate days or programs (see below). If Medical Cancellation Protection is not purchased, a credit will be limited only to the value of unused lift tickets.

  • What is our make-up policy? +

    Make-up days are based on seat availability on the bus and are on a first-come, first-served basis. This involves attending on an alternate day of the weekend when a day must be missed, or doubling-up on a subsequent weekend, or attending a day on an alternate program (including a PD Day program, or the Spring Break Traveller). A member may also make-up a missed day by bringing along a guest on an alternate outing, provided the guest is not a beginner (requiring one-on-one attention). Please note that a small charge may apply to cover lift ticket differential should a missed trip be made up at a significantly more expensive ski centre. Finally, make-up days may not be carried over to a subsequent year.

  • What's involved in becoming a chaperon? +

    All Snowhawks youth programs have several parent-chaperons on each coach. In the morning, chaperons take attendance, collect lunches and ensure that the bus ride runs smoothly. Upon arrival at the slopes, chaperons place lift tickets on the kids as they disembark, and help us to check that nobody has misplaced or forgotten equipment or clothing. At lunchtime, chaperons secure table space and ensure that all members are able to locate their lunch bags. At day's end chaperons once again take attendance and provide supervision on the bus ride home. Above all, chaperons serve as “parents” to the kids on their program, assisting with whatever situations may arise. But chaperoning is hardly all work and no play! Throughout the morning and the afternoon, chaperons serve as extra eyes on the slopes, supervising the area as they enjoy the skiing or snowboarding. And there is no cost to being a chaperon. The lift tickets and transportation are complementary.

  • What if my son / daughter has a season pass to one of the hills visited by the program? +

    Provided your son / daughter brings along and uses their season pass at any given hill, we will track this and, at the conclusion of the program, issue you a refund or credit valued at the cost to Snowhawks of a single day, group rate lift ticket.

  • Can I get a receipt for the program? +

    Yes, once all fees have been received by Snowhawks, a receipt will be emailed to the primary email address that you entered into your online Snowhawks account, or listed on your registration form. The receipt then remains in your online Snowhawks account where you may view or print it at any time. To log in to your online account visit: registration.snowhawks.com

  • Are tax credits available for the Snowhawks youth programs? +

    You may be in a position to claim childcare costs for some Snowhawks programs. To be certain, it would be best to check with your accountant, financial advisor, or with Canada Revenue Agency.

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Bus Questions – Teen + Youth Programs

  • How long are the bus rides? +

    Travel time from the last stop to Vorlage or Cascades is approximately 30 minutes; to Mt Ste-Marie and Calabogie Peaks is about 70 minutes; and to the Laurentian hills is about two hours. DVD screenings help us to pass the time on the rides. Our objective is to arrive at the hills by about 9:15 a.m. and leave by about 3:40 p.m.

  • What kind of buses do we use? +

    Snowhawks uses only deluxe motor coaches from Bell-Horizon, and never school buses. All are equipped with washrooms and with DVD players. Skis, poles and snowboards are stored in baggage compartments underneath the buses.

  • Can my son / daughter be on the same bus as their friend? +

    In most cases the answer is yes. However, if there is more than one bus on a particular program, each bus will follow a different route within the city and your son/daughter’s friend may be riding a different bus. If this is important to you, check with Snowhawks to confirm whether the two stops are on the same route. If they are not, then you may wish to drive to a different stop on the other route. The choice is yours.

  • Can my son / daughter go up on one bus and return home on another? +

    The rule of thumb here is no! Allowing this can only add confusion. In addition, there may not be space on the other bus. Having said that, accommodation can be made in certain circumstances. For instance, IF there is space and IF it is arranged in advance, allowance may be made for families where a parent is going to be out of town, or a when child is sleeping at a friend’s home, etc. Also, in cases where a child alternates between the homes of two parents or guardians, we will accommodate this.

  • How are buses supervised? +

    All buses are supervised by Snowhawks adult chaperons (generally parents of kids in the program). In addition, most of our instructors ride the buses. Our staff is there to take attendance, establish and enforce some reasonable guidelines for conduct, and to generally assist members at all times.

  • How will I know which bus to look for in the morning? +

    Snowhawks is chartering coaches from Bell-Horizon. Coaches will stop at their appointed locations and times and there will always be a Snowhawks chaperon on the bus to greet you. They will have your child’s name on their list.

  • What if I am late for the bus? +

    Snowhawks aims to run bus routes promptly. Other than the first week (where they will wait for 5 minutes), buses will leave their designated stops at the times indicated. Should you miss the bus, you have two options to save the day:

    1. drive directly to the hill and join your child into the program; confirm with the director/coordinator as to whether your child will return home on the bus;
    2. drive to the next or the final bus pick-up location and try to catch the bus there.

    In either case, please email Snowhawks immediately to report your situation and plan.

  • How do the kids get from the bus to the hill? +

    The buses will let the kids off as close to the hill as possible, generally very close to the lifts and chalet. The kids will be given their lift tickets as they disembark. They will get off the bus wearing their boots and will then gather their skis or snowboard which the instructors will have just unloaded. Our members then walk to a designated meeting area very close by where instructors will gather their groups together. Our youngest members will be assisted with their equipment as required. At this time, chaperons are nearby to lend assistance. Once all children have cleared the bus, the chaperons will carry all lunches - in big hockey equipment bags - to the chalet where the kids and instructors will find them at lunchtime.

  • How does pick-up at the end of the day work? +

    We ask that parents be 5 to 10 minutes early when picking up their child at the end of the day. If a parent is late, either an instructor, chaperon or responsible adult will stay with the child, or in some instances a chaperon may take the child home with them (if the parent is very late). On occasion, the bus may have to wait with a child and this inconveniences parents down the line at other stops, so please be on time. If we have advance knowledge that a bus will be very late (say more than 20 minutes), we will tweet an update to Snowhawks’ Twitter account - @SnowhawksOttawa. A few tips for meeting the bus at day's end: Always arrive early. Always stand back to let Snowhawks staff safely unload equipment. Always check that your child is leaving with the correct gear (since many bags and some equipment look very similar). Always double-check your child's boot bag or pack to make sure they have left nothing behind on the bus.

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Instruction – Teen + Youth Programs

  • From where does Snowhawks get their instructors? +

    More than half of Snowhawks’ instructors are graduates of our own Instructor-In-Training classes. This way, we are able to hire "insiders" who know our system well. Many hours of pre-season training, both dry-land and on-hill, ensure that all staff are clear on our approach and expectations. In addition, All are certified by the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA), the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI) and/or the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation (CSCF). Most importantly, Snowhawks instructors understand that they are concurrently teaching a skills and ensuring the safety and enjoyment of all their class members. Finally, having our own team of instructors allows for continuity in the learning process, even when we visit different hills.

  • Can my son / daughter be in the same group as their friend? +

    Most definitely, provided that they are similar enough in ability and speed. It is unfair to hold up a whole group for one who is not at the level of the others. It is also unfair to have one put into a slower group just so they can be with their friend. If we feel that the group is not homogeneous enough, we do reserve the right to make changes for the benefit of all.

  • Can my son / daughter do a mix of skiing, snowboarding? +

    Most definitely! A Combo Option mixing skiing and snowboarding for four weeks each is available on the mid-winter programs (eight Saturdays or eight Sundays); however, two sets of equipment are necessary. A rental option may be worthwhile in this case.

  • My son / daughter wants to learn to snowboard but I want them to perfect their ski skills first. +

    This is a common query. Ultimately, the kids should be able to do that which interests them. The benefits of both sports are without question. In both cases, the kids are learning a skill, they are in a safe and positive environment and they are having fun with other kids. Many children want to learn snowboarding so why not let them! One may also consider our learn-to-snowboard option on our Spring Break Traveller or a Combo Option (explained above) on our mid-winter programs.

  • What if my son / daughter progresses quicker (or slower) than the rest of the class? +

    We begin the year by setting the groups as homogeneous as possible in terms of ability level, speed and age. In every group, someone has to be the quickest and someone has to be the slowest. The instructor will attempt to progress the class as a unit. Some kids may pick up a particular new skill quicker than others. Often group members will leap frog each other as the year progresses. In cases where one child progresses at a more rapid pace than the others, adjustments can be made.

  • Will my son / daughter receive extra attention if necessary? +

    Absolutely! Occasionally, a member needs an extra confidence boost or just a little extra help to reach that next level. That’s what we’re there for!

  • Who has an all-day lesson, who has a half-day lesson? +

    All children aged 9 and under have an all-day lesson as do all beginners; the rest have a half-day lesson. The full-day lesson for students aged 6-9 allows for fuller supervision, with new skills taught in the morning, and supervised mileage and practice in the afternoon. Half-day lessons for those aged 10 and up afford plenty of time for learning new skills in a group environment, which also facilitates making new friends for buddying-up during “free” time. Parents of children aged 10 may also request full-day instruction if preferred. Finally, Instructor-in-Training classes sometimes run the full day, which allows for some apprentice teaching time.

  • My son/daughter is a capable skier/snowboarder. Can we register for Snowhawks but decline the lessons? +

    Yes and No... For students up to and including grade 9, lessons are an integral part of our programs. Snowhawks instructors don’t like standing around any more than do your children! Our teaching approach involves little talk and lots of mileage, with pointers, exercises and fun activities along the way. Each member will be challenged to develop their skills, while maintaining comfort levels in terms of speed and terrain. Besides, joining a group is an excellent way to meet skiers or snowboarders at a similar level and, in turn, to make new friends, new ski/snowboard buddies, and have plenty of fun! 

    For students in grades 10 & up, the Snowhawks Express is now offered within the Saturday Laurentian Traveller. At a discounted price, Snowhawks Express members may free ski/snowboard on the Saturday program, enjoying the varied terrain of many ski centres without taking lessons.

  • How does the free ski / snowboard period work? +

    The half-day free ski/snowboard period is a chance for our members aged 10 or 11 and up to enjoy some independence and mileage in a less structured environment. Our kids are buddied up in pairs or small groupings with friends or others from their lesson group or other groups, and they are then allowed to free ski/snowboard. The rule, however, is that everyone must be with at least one other person. In addition, buddies have to stay within sight of each other at all times. They plan their runs together on the slopes, and plan their breaks together too. For those who don’t have a buddy, or if their buddy is away one day, the director/coordinator will assign buddies. It should also be noted that our chaperons and instructors are watching out for all members at all times. We identify all our members by placing a Snowhawks sticker on their helmet on Day 1 of the program. Finally, directors, coordinators, chaperons and instructors keep in communication via two-way radios to assist us in finding buddies quickly.

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Equipment + Dress – Teen + Youth Programs

  • Where should I get equipment? +

    Snowhawks can help you source new gear at discounted prices. Our members and their families receive 20% off helmets and/or goggles at Kunstadt Sports, plus 15% off all other new equipment, clothing and accessories. For further savings, Kunstadt also sells reconditioned used equipment, and you can trade in your current gear for store credit. There are also many ski swaps across the region each autumn; the biggest one is at the the Ottawa Ski, Snowboard & Travel Show. If you go the second-hand route, shop carefully and make sure you pay close attention to ski binding safety, and to proper fit. Rental gear is also an option, and Snowhawks has rental equipment available exclusively for its members. For Mid-winter programs, you can arrange for a personal fitting, pick up the equipment at Snowhawks' office in the fall, use it for the season, and then return it to us in the spring. For Spring Break Traveller or Camp, you may sign out the equipment for a week. Rental prices are very attractive, starting with a deeply-discounted Beginner Special for beginners (never-evers) for the full season.

  • What equipment should I get? +

    Yes, kids are always growing, so no need to source top-of-the-line gear. And you can aim for the large side of a good fit, but still make certain that the fit is right. One of the most common problems we see with new gear is boots that are too stiff. Make sure that your child can flex their boot, while still feeling supported and secure. For skis or board, also avoid overly-stiff gear which may be "more" ski or board than needed. Snowhawks has arranged for member discounts and benefits at Kunstadt Sports in part because we feel their staff provides capable and caring guidance on sourcing appropriate gear and securing a proper fit. And even if your child will use current equipment, his or her Snowhawks membership includes a free binding safety check and calibration at any Kunstadt sports shop, a service worth having each year before the first outing.

  • Are helmets necessary? +

    At Snowhawks we not only teach how to ski and snowboard; we teach how to practice these sports safely, and helmets are an integral aspect of safety. Besides, helmets are comfortable and much warmer than hats or head bands. Helmets are mandatory for members on all Snowhawks Ottawa youth programs and Skiing + Snowboarding in Schools programs. Members must wear a dedicated ski or snowboard helmet. A hockey, football, cycling, riding or any other type of helmet is not acceptable. Need a helmet? Snowhawks members receive a 20% discount on new helmets at Kunstadt Sports. You can also rent a helmet from Snowhawks at $25 for the full season, $5 for a Spring Break program, or $16 for a 4-week after-school program.

  • How should my son / daughter dress for the day? +

    Listen to the weather forecast, or check the Snowcast on the Snowhawks website for the destination of the day. Make sure that your child has a single pair of dedicated ski or snowboard socks. Never wear two pair of socks, and do not wear gym socks or wool socks. Sports underwear, designed to wick moisture away from the body, is a good idea, both top and bottom. A good pair of insulated, high-waist or overall-style ski/snowboard/snow pants can be worn over longjohns, although some kids also wear sweat pants, allowing them to strip off snow pants for the bus ride home. On top, layers are helpful allowing adjustment through the day as temperatures change: t-neck or zip-neck, vest or sweater, topped with a ski/snowboard jacket. Gloves or mitts are needed with water-repellent surfaces - no wool or fleece mitts. Note that mitts are warmer than gloves. A neck warmer or a balaclava is also essential, as it can reach right up to the base of the goggles on a cold day! Goggles are absolutely required, and ski/snowboard helmets are mandatory. Some like to add a thin helmet-beanie or silk or fleece balaclava under the helmet; however, do not squeeze a thicker hat or toque under the helmet.

  • How should one pack for the day? +

    Make things as simple as possible for your son/daughter. Although not required, a well-labelled ski or snowboard bag will protect equipment in the baggage compartments underneath the bus, while also making it easier on mom or dad collecting gear at the pick-up location at day's end. (Note that most ski or snowboard bags will hold two sets of equipment.) For all items coming onto the bus, a boot bag, small duffel bag or back pack will do. Once on the bus, ski boots (because they are hard & heavy) must ride under the seat. Remaining items, in their pack, can then fit in the overhead bins. Please help us educate your son/daughter to put everything back in their pack once they get back on the bus after skiing (including helmet, goggles, gloves/mitts, neck warmer, other loose clothing, etc.). Lunches bags will be collected upon arrival at the bus stop in the morning. This way, they cannot be forgotten behind on the bus after arrival at the hill. So for snacks or drinks meant to be consumed on the bus, please pack in a separate bag that may be kept at the seat on the bus. Finally, please label names onto absolutely everything! We will make sure that misplaced items are returned to you if they are labelled.

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Lunches + Snacks – Teen + Youth Programs

  • How does lunch work? +

    Kids may either buy their lunch in the cafeteria or bring their own. On all programs the chaperons will collect lunches on the bus from those who brought one. Please ensure that all lunch bags are labelled! The kids will meet their chaperon in the chalet at lunchtime and pick up their lunch. They will sign in with the chaperon at this time, allowing us to ensure that all are present and accounted for. Some children have developed mild to severe allergies to nuts, so we ask parents to refrain from sending lunches or snacks containing nuts or nut products! For our youngest members buying a lunch, or perhaps a hot chocolate or snack, instructors will supervise them in the cafeteria line. Also, our 6-9 year old members will eat as a group with their instructors.

  • Do the kids have a mid-morning or mid-afternoon break? +

    Our youngest members will be asked if they have to use the washroom and the instructor will oblige the kids whenever necessary. Snack breaks will also be accommodated at that time, though they will be limited to drinks and quick snacks so that we can get back outside quickly. For older kids and teens, the classes will generally stay on the slopes for the duration of their lesson period, unless the weather requires otherwise. Those in half-day lessons may plan breaks during buddied free ski/snowboard time.

  • What about snacks for the rides? +

    Kids on all programs are encouraged to bring drink and snacks for the bus rides. Breakfast on program days is eaten very early, and lunch break at the hill is generally not before 11:30 or 11:45 AM. A snack, eaten on the bus before arrival at the hill, provides the nutrition necessary to keep warm and active all morning. For the ride home, water or other thirst quenchers are a particularly good idea as dehydration is a part of any active sport! These can either be purchased at the hill or brought from home. If brought from home, they should be left on the bus, rather than lugged in and back out during the day. To avoid expensive mark-up costs, and to encourage members back to the bus on time, Snowhawks manages a tuck box at the bus at day’s end, with selected chocolate bar and candy sales for $1, and bottled water for 50 cents.

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General FAQs – Wednesday Adult Getaways

  • What is Snowhawks' teaching philosophy? +

    Snowhawks provides excellent skiing and snowboarding instruction in a safe and stimulating environment which promotes friendship, self esteem and physical fitness. We believe that all skiers and snowboarders, from beginners to most advanced, should be challenged to develop their skills, and to develop confidence to ski and/or snowboard in all types of conditions and over diverse terrain. We also believe that everyone can and should meet with success, so our instructors plan lessons carefully to select the proper terrain, set reasonable goals and structure the learning at a comfortable pace. Above all, we pay close attention to the individual needs of each member to ensure that they are learning, having fun and feeling comfortable with others and with themselves.

  • May I bring a guest? +

    You may bring a guest on any Wednesday outing provided you book ahead to ensure that there is space on the bus. Request for a guest booking, as well as return confirmation, is best done via email. Cost to bring a guest varies based on destination, and any individual guest is limited to two Wednesday outings per season. A Guest Registration Form, with pricing, will be sent to you via email in early January. Please note that we cannot cannot accommodate beginner-level guests (unless by prior arrangement and additional cost for private lesson).

  • If I registered for 4 Wednesdays and used them up, may I add a 5th or 6th? +

    Yes, you may add a 5th or 6th day incrementally. Guest & Extra-Day registration forms will accompany your final bus schedule in an early January email.

  • If I register for 4 out of 6 Wednesdays, do I need to book them in advance? +

    No need to pre-select your outings. We are quite flexible! We’ll send you the schedule of all six outings and you simply show up for any four. No need to call ahead to confirm. Just be on time for the bus. We’ll have room for you.

  • What if an injury or illness precludes me from continuing with the program? +

    Anyone unable to continue with the program due to medical reasons will be issued a prorated refund for unused lift tickets and rental equipment only. To receive a full prorated refund you must purchase “Medical Cancellation Protection” at the time of registration at a cost of $10, $15 or $25 depending on the program selected. A note from a medical doctor will be required. In case of colds, the flu or minor injuries, Medical Cancellation Protection does not apply; however we will allow make up days (see below).
  • What is our make-up policy? +

    If you anticipate missing one or more of your outings on the Wednesday package, for whatever reason, you may send along a guest in your place (spouse, friend or whomever, so long as they are not a beginner requiring one-on-one attention). Or, you may bring along a guest on a subsequent outing, provided there is space on the bus. However, your guest or replacement may not be a currently-registered Snowhawks member. Please note that if bringing along a guest in lieu of a missed day, a small charge may apply toward lift ticket differential if replacing one hill with another that is significantly more expensive. Finally, please note that make-up days may not carry over to a subsequent year.

  • What if I have a season pass or pre-paid lift ticket to one of the hills visited by the program? +

    Provided you bring along and use your season pass or pre-paid lift ticket at any given hill, we will track this and, at the conclusion of the program, issue you a refund or credit valued at the cost to Snowhawks of a single day, group rate lift ticket.

  • Can I get a receipt for the program? +

    Yes, once all fees have been received by Snowhawks, a receipt will be emailed to the primary email address that you entered into your online Snowhawks account, or listed on your registration form. The receipt then remains in your online Snowhawks account where you may view or print it at any time. To log in to your online account visit: registration.snowhawks.com

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Bus Questions – Wednesday Adult Getaways

  • What kind of buses do we use? +

    Snowhawks uses only deluxe motor coaches from Bell-Horizon, and never school buses. All are equipped with washrooms and with DVD players. Skis, poles and snowboards are stored in baggage compartments underneath the buses.

  • Can I be on the same bus as a friend? +

    Yes, you can ride with a friend. If your friend gets on the bus at an earlier stop, they can save you a seat. However, there are two buses running each Wednesday; if your friend is on a different bus route, one of you would have to drive to an alternate stop to catch the other bus in order to travel together.

  • How long are the bus rides and when do they depart and return? +

    From the last stop, trips to the Laurentian destinations take roughly two hours. Generally, our buses depart Glebe and near-west end stops around 7:00 AM, although your pick-up time may be 20 to 30 minutes earlier or later depending on your stop. We aim to arrive at ski centres by about 9:15 AM. The return to stops in and around Ottawa ranges from 5:50 to 6:45 PM, depending on your stop.

  • What bus should we look for in the morning? +

    We have contracted with Bell-Horizon. However, please note that on occasion charter bus companies do "borrow" buses from each other. In any case, there will always be a Snowhawks chaperon on the bus to greet you and they will have your name on their list.

  • What if I am late for the bus? +

    We work hard to keep to schedule. Other than the first week (where they will wait for 5 minutes), buses will leave the designated stop at the times indicated. Should you miss the bus, you have two options to save the day:

    1. drive directly to the hill and join us there; or
    2. drive to the next or final bus pick-up location and try to catch the bus there.

    In either case, please email Snowhawks immediately to report your situation and decision.

  • What happens when we arrive at the hill? +

    If you are very keen, you may have put your boots on as we approach the hill. In this case, we’ll get you your lift ticket quickly so you can enjoy a warm-up run or two. However, most prefer to change inside the base chalet. During this time, the bus chauffeur will mind your skis or board. Within 30-45 minutes of arrival, lesson groups will gather at our appointed meeting place with their instructors.

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Instruction – Wednesday Adult Getaways

  • From where does Snowhawks get their instructors? +

    Some Wednesday Adult Getaway instructors are graduates of our own Instructor-In-Training classes. In that way, we are able to hire "insiders" who know our system well. Other instructors join us from the ranks of various local ski and snowboard schools. Many hours of pre-season training, both dry land and on-hill, ensure that all staff are well prepared and clear on our expectations. In addition, all are certified by the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA) - the majority are Level III, the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI) and/or the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation (CSCF).

  • Can I be in the same group as a friend or partner? +

    Most definitely, provided that they are similar enough in ability and speed. It is unfair to hold up a whole group for one who is not at the level of the others. It is also unfair to have one put into a slower group just so they can be with their friend. If we feel that the group is not homogeneous enough, we do reserve the right to make changes for the benefit of all. Should this occur, there is still plenty of opportunity for free skiing or snowboarding with your friend in the afternoon.

  • Can I do a mix of skiing and snowboarding? +

    Definitely! A Combo option mixing skiing and snowboarding is a feature of the mid-winter programs; however, two sets of equipment are necessary. A rental option may be worthwhile in this case. On the full Wednesday Adult Getaway, you may mix skiing and snowboarding half and half.

  • I feel that I am ready to consider certification as an instructor. Can Snowhawks help me with this? +

    Yes, we offer our Instructor-in-Training program on the full six week program. Half-day sessions focus on refining technique, mastering demonstrations and learning the skills progressions. There is also an opportunity to do some apprentice teaching. At the end of the program, you will be given an indication of your preparedness for the Level I instructor certification. There is a small surcharge to participate in the Instructor-in-Training program.

  • I haven’t skied in years! I’ve changed. The equipment has changed. Will there be a group for me? +

    Definitely! You are not alone. Many Snowhawks members enjoy returning to the sport after a long absence and they build both confidence and friendships by joining a small group of others in a similar situation. Skiing with a Snowhawks instructor, everyone develops at a pace with which they feel comfortable, and there is always the possibility of starting slowly, then joining a quicker group once you rediscover your ski legs. Further, Snowhawks can assist you to demo some new shaped skis should you be planning to replace older equipment.

  • I have never skied (or never snowboarded). Is it too late to get started? +

    Of course not. Besides, look at the bright side… You have no bad habits! Working with an instructor from the start, your progress will surprise you, and it will only be limited by the number of Wednesdays you can free up for Getaways! And do feel free to contact us in the pre-season to discuss equipment and clothing considerations.

  • Who has an all-day lesson, who has a half-day lesson? +

    On the Wednesday Adult Getaway you’ll join a morning group and your instructor will guide you over the most suitable terrain of the various centres that we visit. Your instructor is available all day, so after lunch, you may continue with the group, or feel free to head out on your own to free ski or snowboard with a buddy. Some afternoons, Snowhawks will offer 90-minute afternoon clinics focusing on specific skills (such as carving, timing or moguls, etc.) and this will offer a chance to learn from more than one instructor over the course of the program.

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Equipment + Dress – Wednesday Adult Getaways

  • Where should I get equipment? +

    There are many options here. Kunstadt Sports, with three locations in Ottawa, offers our members significant discounts. Second-hand shops and swaps are also an option, but please be careful. If you go this route, go with someone who knows equipment and make sure you pay close attention to the ski bindings. Snowhawks has limited sets of rental equipment available for members as well. You simply arrange for a personal fitting, pick up the equipment in the fall, use it for the season, and then return it to us in the spring.

  • How should I dress for the day? +

    Consult the weather forecast, or check the Snowcast on the Snowhawks website for the destination of the day. Then dress accordingly, from head to toe: helmet (with optional helmet beanie or thin silk or micro-fleece balaclava); goggles or sun glasses; neck warmer or face mask; adjustable layers on top (polypropylene long underwear, warm fleece or sweater, vest, and ski or snowboard jacket); ski/snowboard/winter mitts or gloves; layers on bottom (polypropylene long underwear or sweat pants, snow pants, with cuffs secured over the boot tops); dedicated ski or snowboard socks (one pair only); ski/snowboard boots.

  • How should one pack for Wednesday? +

    In the morning, a well-labelled ski or snowboard bag will protect the equipment in compartments underneath the bus and then also make it easy on you at the pick-up location at day's end. A boot bag or back pack can carry boots, helmet, goggles, gloves, etc., and lunch. Once on the bus, boots should be placed under the seat. Remaining items will then fit in the overhead bins. After skiing, boot bags can return home in the baggage compartments.

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Lunches + Snacks – Wednesday Adult Getaways

  • How does Wednesday lunch work? +

    You may either buy lunch in the cafeteria or bring your own. If you bring your own, we’ll lug it into the cafeteria for you. We place hockey equipment bags by the bus door and you can toss in your lunch, spare gloves or socks, etc, as you disembark. It will be waiting for you in the cafeteria at lunchtime, then back by the bus door as you embark after skiing. Please ensure that all lunch bags are labelled.

  • Is refreshment available? +

    Snowhawks pampers you during the ride! Our morning coffee & tea service starts once we’re on the highway. The coffee and tea is on us, so bring along a reusable travel mug. And members often bring baked goods to share, so if you are in the mood to bake cookies or squares, go right ahead! On the ride home, we serve some après ski refreshment. There’s plenty of chance to share stories of the day with friends old and new.

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General FAQs – Skiing + Snowboarding in Schools

  • What is Snowhawks' teaching philosophy? +

    Snowhawks provides excellent skiing and snowboarding instruction in a safe and stimulating environment which promotes friendship, self esteem and physical fitness. We believe that all skiers and snowboarders, from beginners to most advanced, should be challenged to develop their skills, and to develop confidence to ski and/or snowboard in all types of conditions and over diverse terrain. We also believe that everyone can and should meet with success, so our instructors plan lessons carefully to select the proper terrain, set reasonable goals and structure the learning at a comfortable pace. Above all, we pay close attention to the individual needs of each member to ensure that they are learning, having fun and feeling comfortable with others and with themselves.

  • What if my son/daughter doesn’t like it? +

    We have plenty of experience at this and will do our best to ensure a fun program with good opportunity for learning. Still, please communicate with us if you would like to discuss a problem or issue – perhaps the need for a quicker or slower lesson group, problem with rental equipment, trouble finding a buddy, whatever... We can’t fix it if we don’t know about it, and the earlier in the week that we hear from you, preferably well in advance of the next outing, the easier it’ll be to work things out.

  • What is the policy on refunds for Skiing/Snowboarding-in-Schools programs? +

    Refunds are available for cancellation in advance of 21 days before program start; however, this will incur a $20 administrative fee. There are no refunds for cancellation within 21 days of program start, and no refunds for missed outings for any reason, except for full withdrawal from the program for medical reasons (see below).

  • What if an injury or illness precludes my child from continuing with the program? +

    Withdrawal from the program for medical reasons requires a physician’s note, and allows for a pro-rated refund, less a $22/day hold-back to cover busing and other fixed program costs. Refunds or make-up days are not provided for days missed owing to colds, the flu, other conflicting commitments, or any other reason.

  • What if my son / daughter has a season pass to one of the hills visited by the program? +

    Provided your son / daughter brings along and uses their season pass at any given hill, we will track this and, at the conclusion of the program, issue you a refund or credit valued at the cost to Snowhawks of a single day, group rate lift ticket.

  • Can I get a receipt for the program? +

    Yes, once all fees have been received by Snowhawks, a receipt will be emailed to the primary email address that you entered into your online Snowhawks account, or listed on your registration form. The receipt then remains in your online Snowhawks account where you may view or print it at any time. To log in to your online account visit: registration.snowhawks.com

  • Are tax credits available for the Skiing/Snowboarding-in-Schools program? +

    You may be in a position to claim childcare costs. To be certain, it would be best to check with your accountant, financial advisor, or with Canada Revenue Agency.

  • Does Snowhawks offer programs other than Skiing/Snowboarding-in-Schools? +

    Yes, Snowhawks has offered travelling ski and snowboard programs out of Ottawa since 1988. The full range of Saturday, Sunday and March Break youth programs are detailed on the Ottawa Programs page of the Snowhawks website. Snowhawks also offers a Wednesday Adult Getaway program, destination ski/snowboard holidays, plus PD Day and other single-day recreational programs.

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Chaperone Questions – Skiing + Snowboarding in Schools

  • What is involved in volunteering to be a bus chaperon? +

    Before dismissal at school, chaperons meet at the bus and prepare to load equipment, then take attendance as the children embark. On route to the hill, they make sure that everything runs smoothly and that the children are comfortable and also well behaved. Upon arrival at the slopes, chaperons place lift tickets on the kids as they disembark, and help us to check that nobody has misplaced or forgotten equipment or clothing. Once disembarked, chaperons may assist with rental gear, especially with beginners. At the end of the evening, chaperons once again take attendance and provide supervision on the bus ride home. Above all, chaperons serve as “parents” to the kids on their program, assisting with whatever situations may arise. But chaperoning is hardly all work and no play! Throughout the evening, chaperons serve as extra eyes on the slopes, supervising the ski centre as they enjoy the skiing or snowboarding. And there is no cost to being a chaperon. The lift tickets and transportation are complementary.

  • How are chaperons selected? +

    If you volunteer during the online registration process, Snowhawks will share your name and contact info with the lead chaperon for your school, a parent who has offered to serve as the main contact with Snowhawks and to assemble your school’s chaperon team. Selected chaperons are asked to attend a 75-minute orientation session with Snowhawks in advance of the program, generally scheduled for a Sunday afternoon or evening. In selecting chaperons, preference is given to volunteers who can attend the orientation session, commit to all four outings, and/or who have prior experience chaperoning with Snowhawks. Generally, we select chaperons who can ski or snowboard; however, one or two per program who do not ski may still participate to help on the bus and to provide supervision and assistance in the rental shop and cafeteria.

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Bus Questions – Skiing + Snowboarding in Schools

  • What kind of buses do we use? +

    Snowhawks uses only deluxe motor coaches from Bell-Horizon, and never school buses. All are equipped with washrooms and with DVD players. Skis, poles and snowboards are stored in baggage compartments underneath the buses.

  • How long are the bus rides? +

    Travel time from downtown Ottawa to Vorlage or Mont Cascades is approximately 30 minutes.

  • Can my son / daughter be on the same bus as their friend or sibling? +

    If your school program is travelling on one coach, then yes. However, some schools send two to three coaches on a program. In these cases we make every attempt to keep grade and class groupings together. Should your child and a friend or sibling be separated for travel to and from the hill, you can check with Snowhawks about changing coach assignments, though we do try to keep changes to a minimum. Of course, they will still be able to spend ski/snowboard and break time together at the hill throughout the evening.

  • How are buses supervised? +

    All buses are supervised by volunteer adult chaperons (generally parents of kids in the program). Snowhawks chaperons are invited to attend an orientation session in advance of the program, and they receive chaperon guidelines in writing from Snowhawks. Our chaperons are there to take attendance, communicate and enforce reasonable guidelines for conduct, to supervise throughout the evening and to generally assist members at all times.

  • How should my child pack for travel to the hill? +

    Students bringing their own equipment will be helped to store skis & poles, or snowboards, in the baggage compartments under the bus. These may be in ski/snowboard bags, or skis & poles should be secured together. Ski or snowboard boots and helmets should not be stored in the ski/snowboard bags, nor stashed under the bus. These should be brought onto the bus and tucked under the seat, partly to keep them warm, and because students will put this gear on before they disembark at the hill. Students may bring along a supper pack, if bringing food to the hill. Students should also bring their day packs to leave on the bus for the evening. However, please note that Snowhawks is not responsible for any lost items. Please do not bring or leave any valuables on the bus. Please label everything.

  • Can I pick up my child at the hill and drive them home? +

    Yes, but you must inform Snowhawks in advance in writing (email is best). Then, please come to the bus with your child at loading time (around 7:45 to 8:00 pm for most programs). Your child can collect their things off the bus and you can personally check in with the chaperon to explain your plans. Further, if you plan to also collect a friend or neighbour's child at the hill, please make sure that Snowhawks is notified in advance, in writing, by their parent. Finally, if you need to collect your child from the hill early, before bus loading time, we can make arrangements in advance for this too.

  • How do the kids get from the bus to the hill? +

    The buses let participants off as close to the hill as possible, generally very close by the lifts, rental shop and chalet. The kids are given their lift tickets as they disembark. Those who require rental equipment are escorted to the rental shop. Those with equipment stored in baggage compartments under the bus will find their gear on the snow or on racks next to the bus, as instructors and chaperons will have unloaded equipment while students disembark.

  • How does pick-up at the school work at the end of the evening? +

    We ask that parents be at least 5 to 10 minutes early to pick up their child at the school. If a parent is late, then a chaperon will stay with the child; however, the chaperons are volunteers, and they are parents too, and keen to get home with their children, so please be on time. If we have advance knowledge that a bus will be very late (say more than 20 minutes), we will record an announcement on the Snowhawks telephone line, and/or tweet to Snowhawks’ Twitter account - @SnowhawksOttawa

  • What time does the bus return from the hill? +

    Most Snowhawks skiing/snowboarding-in-Schools programs leave directly from the school at afternoon dismissal, and are scheduled to return to the school at or shortly before 9 PM. Some schools have a scheduled return of 9:15 PM. In any case, you will receive confirmation of timing in the info-sheet announcing the program in your school, plus in the confirmation material emailed to all registered families.

  • What if my child leaves something on the bus or at the hill? Is there a lost & found? +

    Before contacting Snowhawks, check first with your school office or lost & found box. Any items collected by the chaperons on the bus at the end of the evening will be placed at your school the next morning. And in many cases, provided your school’s chaperons email a photo of found items to Snowhawks, we will email this to you overnight, after each outing. If your item is still missing, you can check with the ski centres directly, or the bus company (Bell-Horizon). And if your item ends up with Snowhawks, we will contact you, provided the item is labelled with a name. We strongly encourage you to label ALL equipment, clothing and accessories.

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Instruction – Skiing + Snowboarding in Schools

  • From where does Snowhawks get their instructors? +

    More than half of Snowhawks’ instructors are graduates of our own Instructor-In-Training classes. This way, we are able to hire "insiders" who know our system well. Many hours of pre-season training, both dry-land and on-hill, ensure that all staff are clear on our approach and expectations. In addition, All are certified by the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA), the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI) and/or the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation (CSCF). Most importantly, Snowhawks instructors understand that they are concurrently teaching a skills and ensuring the safety and enjoyment of all their class members. Finally, having our own team of instructors allows for continuity in the learning process, even when we visit different hills.

  • Why is the lesson package compulsory for beginners on the Skiing/Snowboarding-in-Schools programs? +

    Students who have never skied or snowboarded, or perhaps been just once or twice, require lessons to get started safely, and will benefit from the greater degree of supervision provided by an instructor, to learn effective ski or snowboard skills from the start, to reinforce their safe skiing or snowboarding habits, and to learn how to use the ski lifts safely. Beginners may also access an instructor after their dinner break, allowing for continued mileage and practice under the guidance of a pro.

  • Is the lesson package compulsory for novice, intermediate or advanced skiers or snowboarders? +

    The lesson package is not compulsory for novice level and beyond, although lessons are still recommended. The small-group sessions are set according to ability and the Snowhawks instructors can challenge students at all levels, developing skills while covering plenty of terrain and having fun. Besides, the 70-minute lessons still allow for plenty of buddied free ski/snowboard time throughout the evening. For Beginners, the lesson package is mandatory.

  • When will the lesson take place? +

    Lesson timing differs by school and program. Some students taking lessons will do so shortly after arrival at the hill. Lessons will run 70 minutes. Others will report for the 2nd shift of lessons, part-way through the evening. The exception is Beginners, who will begin their lessons upon arrival at the hill, and then be supervised by a Snowhawks instructor again after their dinner break. Students taking lessons in the 2nd shift must make sure to fit in a dinner break in time to report for their lesson. All participants will receive information on lesson timing and meeting place upon arrival at the hill each outing.

  • How come my child is just skiing/snowboarding around? +

    Some parents contact us to say that their children were only "skiing/snowboarding around" with their instructor, but did not "get a lesson." In fact, skiing and snowboarding are active sports and our teaching methods involve lots of mileage, with an emphasis on specific tactics/exercises aimed at developing progressive skills, and not a lot of standing around explaining things. In short, when the learning works well, it is essentially experienced as "skiing/snowboarding around"!

  • Can my son / daughter be in the same group as their friend? +

    Students may be in a lesson group with their friend, provided that they are similar enough in ability and speed. It is unfair to hold up a whole group for one who is not at the level of the others. It is also unfair to have one put into a slower group just so they can be with their friend. If we feel that the group is not homogeneous enough, we reserve the right to make changes for the benefit and safety of all. To begin, on the first day as we form lesson groups, students should stand next to their friends (at same level) and ask to be placed in a group together. We will accommodate.

  • My son / daughter wants to learn to snowboard but I want them to perfect their ski skills first. +

    This is a query we hear often. Ultimately, the kids should be able to do that which interests them. The benefits of both sports are without question. In both cases, the kids are learning a skill, they are in a safe and supportive environment and they are having fun with other students.

  • What if my son / daughter progresses quicker (or slower) than the rest of the class? +

    We begin the program by setting the groups as homogeneous as possible in terms of ability level, speed and age. In every group, someone has to be the quickest and someone has to be the slowest. The instructor will attempt to progress the class as a unit. Some students may pick up a particular new skill quicker than others. Often group members will leap frog each other as the program progresses. In cases where one child progresses consistently at a more rapid pace than the others, or at a slower pace, group adjustments can be made.

  • Will my son / daughter receive extra attention if necessary? +

    Absolutely! Occasionally, a member needs an extra confidence boost or just a little extra help to reach that next level. That’s what we’re there for!

  • How does the free ski / snowboard period work? +

    Those not registered for lessons, as well as those enjoying some buddied free-ski/snowboard time, must at all times be with a buddy. Snowhawks will reinforce this during an assembly with students at their school in advance of the program. However, parents should also discuss with their children the importance of sticking with their buddy, whether on the slopes or in chalet. Meanwhile, general supervision on the slopes, around the base area and in the chalet will be provided by Snowhawks instructors and by volunteer parent chaperons. Snowhawks will counsel participants to ski or snowboard only on terrain appropriate for their level: whether novice (green circle), intermediate (blue square) or advanced (black diamond). Please explain to your child that if skiing or snowboarding with a buddy of lesser skill level, they must choose the gentler terrain to accommodate the less advanced partner.

  • Can I add the lesson package after having registered for the program without it? +

    Yes, just log in to your online account at Registration.Snowhawks.com. Then, follow the same steps as when you earlier registered; however, do not select the full school program item from the registration table. Select only the lesson package, and then follow through to the end of the process to sign the waiver and select payment option.

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Equipment + Dress – Skiing + Snowboarding in Schools

  • Can we rent equipment from Snowhawks? +

    Yes, equipment rental is optional and may be added during the online registration process. Rental gear can also be added in a separate order (in your online family account) after registration is completed. There are four types of equipment listed in the registration table online: “ski equipment” rental includes boots, skis and poles, but NOT a helmet; “snowboard equipment” rental includes boots and board, but NOT a helmet or wristguards; “helmet” rental includes a ski/snowboard helmet; “wristguards” rental includes a pair of snowboarding wristguards. (Note: wristguards are NOT required for skiers.)

  • When will my child receive rented equipment? +

    Ski and snowboard equipment, pre-set and personalized, will be ready for your child upon arrival at the hill each outing. It must then be returned to the rental shop (inside at the rental counter), at the end of each evening. Helmets and/or wristguards are owned by Snowhawks. Rental helmets and wristguards will be personally fitted and distributed to students during an assembly at the school before the start of the program. Students who are absent from the assembly, or who are late in renting this gear, may also receive their helmets and wristguards after arrival at the hill on the first outing.

  • When do we return the rented equipment? +

    Rented skis, poles, boots and snowboards must be returned each evening to the counter in the rental shop at the ski centre, before heading to the bus. New rental gear will be used for each separate outing. However, the rented helmets and wristguards are property of Snowhawks and MUST NOT be returned to the ski centre; else they will likely be lost. Students must hang on to rented helmets and wristguards for the duration of the program, bringing them home after each use. Snowhawks will then collect rented helmets and/or wristguards at the hill before students climb aboard the buses after skiing/snowboarding on the final evening. If you know in advance that your child must miss the final outing, please contact Snowhawks in advance to make alternate arrangement to return helmet and/or wristguards. Do not return them to your school! Any rented helmets or wristguards that are lost, or not returned, will be invoiced at replacement value.

  • Can my child use his or her own equipment? +

    Absolutely! Your child may bring his or her own ski or snowboard equipment for use on the program. It can be stored at the school during program days. Please make certain, well in advance of the program, that boots fit properly, that skis or boards are sized correctly, and that bindings are properly and safely set. Ski bindings should be set and checked by a technician annually as settings will vary according to height, weight, ability and boot sole length. Also, please make sure that skis or boards are well tuned, with sharpened edges and waxed bases. And note that Snowhawks members receive various discounts and benefits at Kunstadt Sports for ski/snowboard equipment, clothing and accessories.

  • I need to purchase some equipment. Where should I get it? +

    Kunstadt Sports, with three locations in Ottawa, offers Snowhawks members and their families significant discounts on new equipment, clothing and accessories. Kunstadt also sells reconditioned used gear at attractive prices, and will offer you store credit for trading in your own gear. Other second-hand shops and swaps are also an option, but please be careful. If you go this route, go with someone who knows equipment and make sure you pay close attention to the ski bindings.

  • What equipment should I get? +

    Yes, kids are always growing, so no need to source top-of-the-line gear. And you can aim for the large side of a good fit, but still make certain that the fit is right. One of the most common problems we see with new gear is boots that are too stiff. Make sure that your child can flex their boot, while still feeling supported and secure. For skis or board, also avoid overly-stiff gear which may be "more" ski or board than needed. Snowhawks has arranged for member discounts and benefits at Kunstadt Sports in part because we feel their staff provides capable and caring guidance on sourcing appropriate gear and securing a proper fit. And even if your child will use current equipment, his or her Snowhawks membership includes a free binding safety check and calibration at any Kunstadt sports shop, a service worth having each year before the first outing.

  • Are helmets necessary? +

    At Snowhawks we not only teach how to ski and snowboard; we teach how to practice these sports safely, and helmets are an integral aspect of safety. Besides, helmets are comfortable and much warmer than hats or head bands. Helmets are mandatory for members on all Snowhawks Ottawa youth programs and Skiing + Snowboarding in Schools programs. Members must wear a dedicated ski or snowboard helmet. A hockey, football, cycling, riding or any other type of helmet is not acceptable. Need a helmet? Snowhawks members receive a 20% discount on new helmets at Kunstadt Sports. You can also rent a helmet from Snowhawks at $25 for the full season, $5 for a Spring Break program, or $16 for a 4-week after-school program.

  • Are wristguards necessary? +

    Wristguards are for use by snowboarders, and never skiers. They are strongly recommended for beginner and novice snowboarders. They provide considerable protection to the wrists in the event of forward falls, when one’s natural reaction is to reach out with the hands to break the fall. Wristguards can make the difference between a bump or bruise, and a season-ending sprain or break.

    Need wristguards? Wristguards are available for rental or purchase from Snowhawks, at Registration.Snowhawks.com, either during or after the online registration process for the program itself.

  • How should my son / daughter dress for the day? +

    Consult the weather forecast, or check the Snowcast on the Snowhawks website for the destination of the day. Then dress accordingly, from head to toe: helmet (with optional helmet beanie or thin silk or micro-fleece balaclava); goggles (if skiing fast, or if it's a cold day); neck warmer or face mask; adjustable layers on top (polypropylene long underwear, warm fleece or sweater, vest, and ski or snowboard jacket); ski/snowboard/winter mitts or gloves; layers on bottom (polypropylene long underwear or sweat pants, snow pants, with cuffs secured over the boot tops); dedicated ski or snowboard socks (one pair only); ski/snowboard boots.

  • Is there anything my son / daughter should NOT wear? +

    Here are the most common errors made in dressing for warmth and comfort on the slopes: Socks: Never wear two pair of socks. They will crease and cause discomfort. The boots keep the feet warm. The purpose of a single pair of dry, ski/snowboard socks is to wick moisture away from the feet, keeping them dry and, in turn, warm. So use proper ski/snowboard socks. Do not wear gym socks or wool socks. The best advice is to put on a fresh, dry pair of socks when putting on the boots. Jeans: Do not wear jeans without a snow pant over top. Denim gets cold, then wet, then even colder. Mitts/Gloves: Do not wear cotton or wool mitts. Wear proper winter activity gloves or mitts which provide some weather proofing. Helmet comfort & fit: Do not wear a hat/toque under the helmet. The helmet provides warmth, and the hat can mess with the proper helmet fit. For added comfort and/or warmth, you can add a thin helmet beanie (thin cap) or a silk or micro-fleece balaclava.

  • Are there any clothing/accessory essentials? +

    Yes! Proper ski/snowboard socks are a must, as explained above. And unless one is wearing a balaclava, which covers the neck, a pull-over neck warmer is essential to protect the neck and lower part of the face. If it is truly too warm an evening, the neck warmer can be stuffed into a jacket pocket. Finally, goggles are must for skiing or snowboarding. They protect the eyes from cold, wind and precipitation, and they protect the upper part of the face from the cold. And if it’s too warm for goggles, they can remain up on the helmet, out of the way, but available if and when they are needed.

  • Does Snowhawks provide goggles? +

    Snowhawks does not provide goggles, but has arranged for a 20% discount on goggles for Snowhawks members at all Kunstadt Sports locations.  Goggles are required for protection from wind for those skiing or snowboarding at speed. Goggles are also required for protection from the cold. However, beginners - who will be skiing/snowboarding at slow speeds - do not require goggles on warm or even average winter evenings as they may overheat from exertion.

  • When should my child change into ski/snowboard clothes? +

    Students can slip into under-layers and snow pants quickly at the dismissal bell after school and before heading to the Snowhawks coach. Alternately, they can carry snow pants onto the bus and slip them on as they approach the hill. They must also carry helmets and ski/snowboard boots onto the bus with them (unless renting boots at the hill). Upon arrival at the hill, and before disembarking the bus, students must suit up for skiing/snowboarding. Stepping off the bus they must be WEARING all clothing, including ski/snowboard boots, neck warmers, helmets (with goggles), gloves/mitts and wristguards (for those snowboarders using wristguards). All bags must be left on the bus, with the exception of a supper bag or pack, which can be stored in the chalet.

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Supper + Snacks – Skiing + Snowboarding in Schools

  • What are the options for supper on the program? +

    Some schools have organized pizza suppers, eaten on route to the hill. These are organized by school councils (and NOT Snowhawks). You might consider organizing such a program for your school. Otherwise, kids may either buy their supper in the cafeteria, or bring their own. As some children have developed mild to severe allergies to nuts, we ask parents to refrain from sending suppers or snacks containing nuts or nut products! Please remember to send money for supper, or a packed meal in a labelled bag, or a bit of both. Those bringing a food bag may store it in the chalet while they are on the slopes. It is good idea to bring along some food in case the cafeteria lines are long.

  • When do children have the opportunity to eat their supper? +

    Those taking lessons with Snowhawks will have time to eat either before or immediately after their lesson. If taking a lesson during the 2nd shift, students will be told when and where to report for lessons. It is up to them to leave sufficient time to eat before the start of the lesson. Perhaps the best bet for those in the 2nd shift of lessons is to eat straight away, after arrival, and then use any free time before the lesson to have a few runs on the hill with a buddy. Beginners will head out for lessons directly, and then come in for supper break as a group, with their instructor.

  • What about snacks for the ride home? +

    Kids on all programs are encouraged to bring drink and snacks for the bus ride home. Bottled water or other thirst quenchers are a particularly good idea as dehydration is a part of any active sport! These can either be purchased at the hill or brought from home. If brought from home, they should be left on the bus, either on the seat, in the seat-back pocket, or in the overhead storage bin or shelf. Children may eat on the buses, though we ask that they do so with care, avoiding any spills or mess, and making use of the garbage bags beside most window seats, or at the front or rear of the bus.

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