Month: June 2013

Meet Davie, the South Island version of Ruby and my temporary dog for this season

I really enjoyed taking care of Ruby, the dog, whilst in Auckland so the other day I had this idea of going to find a Ruby replacement in Wanaka. My first idea was talking to the vet and ten minutes later I had found my perfect companion for this winter: Davie, a five-year-old Golden Lab. It only took a quick phone call to his owner and she agreed that I could take Davie out for walks, hikes and runs whenever I want because she has issues with her ankle and can’t walk him any more. I met her the day after, spent a lovely morning at her house and went for a long walk along the waterfront with Davie. Turns out we get along pretty well and had an amazing time fooling around. Anyway, these are some pictures of our walk and his absolutely cute face. Turns out he loves water just as much as Ruby does… Looking forward to many more walks with this cutiepie.

“Yeah, nah.. not too bad. Just a bit chully.”

This is the typical Kiwi answer I get whenever I tell a local how much I am suffering from the cold. As a ski instructor AND being Austrian I thought I was used to being exposed to cold weather but it’s a different kind of cold we experience here. Although the temperatures are not as low as in Austria it’s the wet & humid NZ climate that make it so hard to handle. Plus the fact that there’s no heating. Which is probably the worst. Especially when you work outdoors all day…. you would really look forward to coming home, being warm, drying your wet gear and having a cosy evening. But as soon as I open the door to our house it and the expected feeling of warmth and cosiness does not kick in I remember why: We don’t have heating. And that’s not only the problem of our house, if basically applies to most houses in New Zealand. And I must admit: We are pretty lucky that we have a fireplace and double …

Multinational Ski Instructor Training

Today was my first day as a Ski Instructor on the mountain – not yet teaching but lots of training. Apparently there are 22 different nations on our team – from classic skiing nations such as the US, Canada & Sweden to exotic places such as Bermuda to South Africa – so it was very interesting to hear how different countries have different teaching methods. Everything is a little bit different in the New Zealand system: slopes are called groomers but not marked as such, they have runs marked green (the easiest ones) and there are check-in points on the slopes where you meet with other instructors to split up your students. A very informative and fun first day on the mountain – here’s a little insight into my daily life:

First impressions of my new workplace

When I popped my toes out of my electric-blanket-heated bed into the cold of a Kiwi-style unheated house this morning getting up to go skiing didn’t seem very tempting. I am glad I did though because it was the most awesome day out there. And the probably perfect day to explore my new playground. It had snowed the whole last week and our lovely colleagues from operations (incl. one of my housemates) worked hard and long hours to dig out the lifts under that fluffy white blanket. They didn’t quite get all of them ready for opening yesterday so there was one basin left that had not seen any crowds yesterday. And guess who was just standing at the barrier when ski patrol decided to open it? Yeah, right. A basin full of fresh powder just when I arrived up there. What a lucky coincidence! Don’t have to tell you that I rode in that basin almost all day – even when everything was already tracked it remained nice snow and awesome riding. Enjoying it …

Welcome to Winter in Wanaka

The last couple of days were filled with organising my new life here in Wanaka and lots of administrative tasks such as signing the rental agreement, handing in documents and employment agreement to my employer, organising bank account & tax number to get paid, getting a couple of things I will need at the house, etc. I’m done with most of the things by now and finally have some time for a blog update. Wanaka welcomed us skibums in the probably best way possible: with snow and freezing temperatures, snow-covered mountains around the lake and sometimes even snow down to the valley (which apparently is a rather rare thing to happen in New Zealand). At the same time we got a friendly and warm welcome into the Cardrona family (Cardrona Alpine Resort is the ski field I’ll be working for this season) during a well-organised week of staff meetings, team-building workshops, study sessions, a mountain visit, safety instructions, and of course: a staff welcome party. My personal highlight of this induction week was the first …

Ski Instructors have to get to work somehow…

I had to drop of my transfercar at Queenstown Airport early this morning and when I headed out of Wanaka it was still dark and I couldn’t see much of the place really. I opted for the shorter but more windy road via the Crown Range – a scenic route that I had in good memory from last year’s road trip. Turns out it’s just as breathtaking in winter conditions – only in a very different way. Luckily I had the perfect car for those conditions – my transfer car is a Subaru Legacy 4WD. Over here Subaru advertises their cars with the slogan “Ski Instructors have to get to work somehow” – which in that moment was right at the spot as my little car got me perfectly safe through the snow to my future workplace. Another thing that helped getting down on the other side of the pass was the grit spreading truck that I met just at the highest point together with another Subaru driver. After dropping off the car at the …