Monday, 31 August 2009

holiday schnee

Schnee. Not knee.

So a couple of weeks ago, my sister and I headed over to New Zillund for a ski holiday. It started badly. I got up at 4am and caught a taxi to the airport. I was ready for my flight to Sydney to meet Lee and head across the ditch. The aeroplane was not, at least not until an hour and a half after it was supposed to leave. So, when I got to Sydney, Lee had organised for us to fly out the next day (which was great). We had a nice day in Sydney, visiting galleries and the gardens during the day, then going to the opera house for the Sydney Symphony in the evening, before a late but excellent dinner with Andrew & Steven, who put us up for the night.

The next day, we put into play the plans we had made for the day before. We flew in Christchurch, picked up a rental car, and drove down to Lake Tekapo to stay at the YHA for the night. Then, on Saturday, we drove down to Cardrona, and after some initial problems with directions, found our way up the mountain to Snow Park. There we met up with Di and Mike, and our hosts John & Mary.

We spent 6 out of our 8 days on the cross-country trails at Snow Farm, with conditions that went from very good to a bit slushy, although the groomer denied the warm wet weather to ensure that the trails were always accomodating. When we weren't on the snow, we hung out with Di & Mike, John & Mary, and a few other acquaintances who cycled through the Snow Park. All were accomodating, charming, and great company, especially those named. It was great to spend some time with Mike, who I'd previously only met for a day and whose company I really came to appreciate, and Diana in an environment I'd long known as one of her "natural habitats". Hanging out with John & Mary gave a really great insight to the park, with their stories about the history and operation of the Park/Farm adding real depth to the visit.

As for the skiing, I think both Lee and I really benefited from the lesson we got on the first day, which confirmed a lot of things I think we consciously or unconsciously worked out in Norway so many years ago, at the same time as giving us things to fix and concentrate on. I know that we both got a lot better during the week, especially at the things that had given us troubles, Lee on the up-hills, and me on the down. On the last day, we were still being breezed past by the Olympians (Canadian, Korean, American and Kiwi, all there for training and the Winter Games), but we felt less likely to fall over when it happened :)

A good holiday, despite a false start.

EDIT: Lee's photos from NZ are up here. I'll look at putting mine (unfortunately not many) up soon.

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