Greetings again from Wanaka where this weekend just past brought 30cm of fresh snow to the top of the mountain, which is just the way we like it.  But back to the start of last week, our third down here in New Zealand.…

Just about everyone had a day off last Saturday after a big week of training.  And with Kate’s birthday coming up on the Monday, it seemed a good idea to go out and celebrate.  A few entered the curling competition at the Bullock Bar but – somewhat surprisingly – no one made it through to the finals.  While NZ is home to the only curling rink in the southern hemisphere, it certainly ain’t at Bullock Bar, Wanaka!  The photos will reveal the improvised conditions – a long strip of plastic, heaps of water to make the “rock” (if not the competitors) slide and the poor sweeper on the end of a cheap floor mop!  Still, the spirit was nigh on Olympic anyway, even if the equipment and style weren’t.  Sunday saw a few head up the hill but most had an easy day and a yummy roast chicken dinner at Bullock Bar before hitting the sack early, ready to do it all over again.

Week 3 of training started without any new snow – just rumours circulating it was on its way.  The skier groups were mixed around a little on what was a slow day with lots of practice teaching and drills.  Still, it’s got to be done.  Our dear caterers, Max and Brent, returned from their holiday in Bali and resumed their rightful place in charge of the kitchen.  Their first meal for the group was yumbo roast beef with lots of veggies, after which the skiers headed to Mt Aspiring College for their first classroom session.  That night it started to rain in Wanaka which meant…..

10-15cm of freshies waiting for us up on the mountain on Tuesday on what was the first powder day for the group.   While visibility was poor in the morning, it cleared in the afternoon and everyone had a great day.  New techniques were taught to help the group get the most out of the different – and divine! – conditions.  Some went out for a beer afterwards to celebrate the experience but most took their well-worked muscles to bed early.

Most of the new snow had been tracked out the next day. With no Skool on Wednesdays, the freestyle skiers started their course early in the day to make the most of what was left in the off-piste chutes.  Welcome to first grade!  There were some epic falls but most did a good job and had a great morning.  The freestyle boarders worked on their bumps and drops around the mountain while some hit the park for a bit of fun. Dinner was delivered to the apartments, followed by a night in watching DVDs for most of the group.

It was back to Skool on Thursday under sunny and clear skies.  The pressure of the looming Level 1 exams was starting to mount so time was put into perfecting those drills.  Friday was a bit different for some who were given the chance to do lap training.  This involves doing the same section of the mountain one by one, over and over again, all under the watchful eye of the trainers.  With individual feedback given each run, most enjoy this approach as they can improve on the same run each and every time.

Friday brought with it the first “Jug Fine Friday” for the boarders at Mint Bar.  Rules are you have to buy a jug of beer for each mistake or fall on the mountain during training.  Some of the guys had to buy a LOT of jugs – Kirk and Fiona had an expensive evening with 7 and 5 jugs respectively but luckily, a discount is offered.  Although the skiers don’t partake in the game, they also came along and the group had a great night in Mint and HQ before some finished at Opium. We hope Greg wasn’t too cold in his kilt – rumour had it he went commando but thankfully, there’s not a shred of real evidence to confirm it!

Check out some more photos HERE – and we thank Kirk for sharing some of his pics with us.

That’s the week that was in Wanaka.  This coming week is the last one of training before the Level 1 exams, so we’ll be working hard in preparation.



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