First-time snowboarder: 'Wow, it was amazing!'

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Are you new to Canada and ready to enjoy winter and learn how to ski or snowboard? Our #NewSkiAB series of stories, videos and photos will inspire you to get out on the slopes with your friends and family. Use #NewSkiAB to tag us as you experience Alberta’s winters. 

It was an epic day of winter firsts for Kausar Kallaru recently: It was her first time visiting a Canadian Rockies ski resort, the first time trying a winter sport – and on a snowboard no less. 

Kallaru moved to Calgary from southern India in January 2020, but because of COVID restrictions, she didn’t really get to experience many activities during her first winter in Canada. But she seized the moment this year, and along with her sister, they donned helmets, goggles, snow jackets, pants and gloves and took their first snowboarding lesson at Nakiska.

“Wow, it was amazing! I’ve never done something like this!”

Finnigan, who’s been a snowboard and ski instructor at Nakiska for five years, said he was impressed with Kallaru and her sister since it was their first time on the snow. “She was doing amazing. They had more balance, and they were linking turns. It was inspiring to see.”

The lesson was an all-round positive experience, says Kallaru “It didn’t feel like two hours, it just flew by because I was really enjoying myself.”

In the days leading up to the lesson, Kallaru had a hard time finding ski wear at local stores. So, she started scouting Facebook Marketplace for second-hand gear and scored an entire outfit the night before. “Everything came together; jackets, pants, helmet, goggles and gloves.”

Nakiska Alberta Kananaskis #NewSkiAB snowboard ski lessons
Photographer: Karl Lee
The Kallaru family gets suited up in Nakiska's rentals shop.

Kallaru, 32, said they were eager to arrive early to check out the resort before their lessons. She didn’t realize how close Nakiska was to Calgary and loved the drive to the resort, heading south on scenic Highway 40 from the Trans-Canada. “The location is amazing.”

“I was so excited to get on the hill … the ambiance gives you a lot of energy,” she said. “There were kids passing by me. It was so good to see; they’d fall and get up again.”

Learn more about new skier and boarder programs at Nakiska

Any feelings of anxiety melted away after meeting her instructor Emmett Finnigan. Kallaru says her instructor made her feel instantly comfortable with his structured style of teaching.

“He knows who he is training so he was customizing his (lessons). He’s really good at what he does.”


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Nakiska Alberta Kananaskis #NewSkiAB snowboard ski lessons
Photographer: Karl Lee
Nakiska instructor Emmett Finnigan helps students learn balance.

Now that she has what she needs to get back out on the slopes again, she’s determined to try it again. And she thinks anyone who is hesitant to try it for themselves, shouldn’t shy away from trying at least once. “You should not stop yourself from trying even if it’s cold. If you have the right instructor, they will guide you.”

She’s keen to get back out for more lessons and says in the next year or two, she pictures herself getting out on her own because it puts her in a good mood and helps her to enjoy winter even more.

“I’m glad I had this experience. It will stay in my head for a long time…until I get on the snowboard again.”

Want to take a lesson?

SnowSeekers’ #NewSkiAB can get you and your significant other or you and a buddy on the slopes for your first lessons at Lake Louise. Sign up today for private ski or snowboard lessons at Nakiska and up those skills and your love of winter. There are lots of spaces available. 

SnowSeekers is stoked to partner with HEAD Skis, Lake Louise Ski Resort and our friends at Immigrant Services Calgary. A legacy of our #Calgary2026 work, we’ve formed this #NewSkiAB partnership, helping to welcome more diversity to Western Canada’s slopes. Check out this story about another new skier hitting the slopes. 


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