New Zealand is simply breathtaking and its list of assets isn’t exactly short. Lots of chocolate, four sheep per person, round-a-bouts and coffee shops galor. The views and cool air that greeted me off the plane was all the convincing I really needed though.
My first week was spent with some Local Kiwi’s and some Aussies at Oakridge Resort. This was my excuse for escaping to New Zealand in the first place: World Adaptive Snowboard Championships. This BoarderCross competition was held in conjunction with Snowsports National Championships which consisted of Slalom and Giant Slalom races. Adaptive competitions, although far inbetween and under budgeted, are about meeting up with old friend and challenging myself.
We had a decent turn out with five countries including Canada, The Netherlands, AUstralia, NZ, and the USA. Bibian Mental, my major competitor, turned up with a snowboard specifically designed for her and the way she races. We’re talking 161 alpine/all mountain versus my 149 Freestyle. HA. Smooth move Babs, smooth move! I swapped the Silver and Jodie Thring from Austalia took the Bronze. The guys ran a mighty tight competition and chased each other down by tenths of a second.
After the Group split, I crashed at a house in Wanaka, shredded with new friends and then hitch hiked to Queenstown. I’d have to say the first two weeks in New Zealand were the best weeks of 2009. Thanks to those who shared it with me!
The Park City Snowboard Team flew in on August 5th. All I knew was that they were coming, not a single other detail. The crew consisted of me, six teenage boys, Jacob, Bret, and some guy named Bruce, who claimed he was related to one of the kids. True or not, Bruce kept us laughing for most of the trip and aquired the nickname “captain lightweight.” I probably shouldn’t have told you that.
The ski resorts in New Zealand are. . . tiny compared to Utah’s many acres and bowls. The Remarkables, Cardrona,and Treble Cone all have three lifts while Snow Park has just One high speed Quad. I didn’t hit any of the other “resorts” but the list goes on and on. It would take a decent season to truely enjoy all the jackpots on SOuth Island.
A little advice:
1. If your planning on hitting Snow Park, go when you’ve got plenty energy! There’s not much of a lift line and laps are fast so its the ultimate park day workout.
2. I missed the good shred day at Treble Cone but I’ve heard its awesome when theirs freshies.
3. Cardrona is also known as “CROWDrona!” I was lucky and got to enjoy it minus the crowd but it was plastered for the rest of August. Which I think had something to do with the line up of competitions and three sizes of halfpipes!!! No lie, they had a mini, mod, and super pipe. Nice one Cardies!!!
4. The Remarkables is just like its name, remarkable!!! The view itself is worth the drive, top that off with three parks and a couple of powder bowls and theres always something to rock. This little paradise is about a 35 min off-road drive from Queenstown, (about an hour and a half from Wanaka) and is home to the TNT freestyle groupies. I hadn’t planned on spending alot of time at the Remarkables, but it’s now on my list of favorite shred spots. Its also the place I spent the only Powder day I had while in the Southern Hemisphere.
Our schedule wasn’t something to complain about, eat, drive, shred, eat, shred, drive, eat, sleep. Get up the next day and do it all over again. I’m not exactly as good as the kids on the team so Its kind of rediculous trying to keep up with them, but they sure are fun to watch. Thanks guys for putting up with an older chic!
A few more things to know, water boilers are more common than microwaves, and uh the internet is SUPER slow. Really though, whats not to love? Best month of my life! Sure I had my good and bad days just like I always do, but over all, it was living a dream. . . . that’s caught up to me on my credit card bill. Ouch.