Austrian Friends - Kiwi Mates, Free Skiing, Mountains, Places in NZ, Road trips
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Season highlight: Racing road trip to Ohau with the Swiss boys

Two years ago, when traveling around New Zealand, I had stopped at Lake Ohau for some hiking and soon discovered the Lake Ohau Lodge. Back then, I went in to have a look at the place and say Hi! The owners Mike & Louise were just tasting wines for their son’s wedding and within minutes I was offered a glass of wine and not long after that dinner with the family. I decided to stay for the night and Mike showed me a primo parking spot for my van where I could see Mt Cook from my bed. The family also runs the ski field up the local mountain and when I said I was a ski instructor and keen to see it, the field’s operations manager gave me a lift up the mountain to have a look at it – in summer. While I’m reminiscing about it all I found a couple of old pics on my computer:

Ever since I first visited the Ohau Lodge and its ski field I wanted to go back to ski this place – and finally did! My Swiss Race coach friends Nils & Chris went there for a race with their kids and offered me the remaining seat in their car. While the boys did their racing thing I was mostly free skiing for myself, hiking the summit, having a muffin at the Café and enjoying the views. Some solid solo time for me! When I finally got bored with myself I watched the boys do their coaching thing and was impressed – it was inspiring to see how they teach their kids, so lots of learning for me and an opportunity to take pics. And believe me, that place doesn’t get boring when it comes to pictures…. see for yourselves!

The prize-giving ceremony after the races took place at the Ohau Lodge – and so it happened that I met Mike again (who still remembered me). A perfect finish to a perfect day and I’m grateful for the experience and the people. Thanks to the boys for taking me along. Thanks to the kids for including me in their little team for a day. Thanks to the parents for lending me their kids during lunch break – I had a blast. Thanks to the kids for helping me hide Chris’ skis while he wasn’t looking. Thanks to Nils for driving safely for once. Thanks to all the fab Kiwis who chatted to me on the lift. Thanks to Mike & Louise for remembering me and their hospitality two years ago. And finally thanks to six-year-old Mathilda – who showed me that it’s okay to aim for great goals and how happy you are when you reach them. Good luck with becoming the future Kiwi version of Lindey Vonn – I’ll keep an eye on your international ski racing career – in twelve years or so?

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