Local man teaching snowboarding

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake might not be a snowboarding town, but we do have a snowboard instructor.

MacLean Kew runs Variant Snowboarding in Slave Lake.

Kew has been snowboarding for about 30 years. About four or five years ago, he got his snowboard instructor license. There are a few levels, and he’s recently upgraded. He can also coach people who want to be professional snowboarders.

The existence of cross-country ski trails is no secret, but there are also places that local snowboarders know about to hone their skills.

“There are small hills around here,” says Kew, “and when the snow is here, you can learn all of the skills.”

A few years ago, The Leader got some photos of people doing flips on snowboards on a jump next to the Devonshire Beach parking lot.

These hills and other areas aren’t groomed, so there’s no guaranteed snow-base, says Kew. However, it is very suitable for beginners. Even on a big hill, beginners spend most of their first few days on the bunny hill.

The closest ski hill is Little Smoky, west of High Prairie. People also go to Jasper.

“People are willing to go to the mountains,” says Kew. “My opinion, it is a lot more enjoyable if you have this instructor,” who makes a plan ahead of time geared toward the learners’ personal goals.

Kew also teaches snowboarding sometimes at Terrace, BC, which is in a coastal mountain range. He has also taught at Whistler, BC, Jasper, and Nakiska, in southern Alberta.

Kew also trains people in the summer, through related skills – kite surfing, wind surfing, and skateboarding.

Wind surfing is the one where you stand on a surfboard with a sail.

Kite surfing is the one where people stand on something like a snowboard without bindings and hold onto a kite that is similar to a rectangular parachute.

Kew came to Slave Lake a few years ago as a lifeguard at the Slave Lake pool. He also works part-time at the High Prairie pool. He chose the Lesser Slave Lake area because of the opportunity for kite surfing on the lake.

If there’s a bit of snow, Kew will also take his kite surfing sail and his snowboard and sail on the frozen lake.

Kew also uses weight training and aquatics to train for the snowboarding season.

Exercising in the water allows people to work out while protecting their joints, says Kew.

It is no surprise, that with the lack of snow, Kew hasn’t been very busy this year with snowboarding students. However, he does have a few local students.

The year wasn’t a total right-off. Kew did the next level of snowboard instructor training. If he does the third or fourth, he could teach anywhere in the world.

Kew can be contacted at Variant Snowboarding, 780-918-1593.

MacLean Kew owns Variant Snowboarding in Slave Lake.

Share this post

Post Comment