All posts filed under: Mountains

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 …

Life is not always glorious as a ski instructor

Whenever I skim through my blog I realize that my life might look amazing. Believe me, it is amazing – most of the time. And then there are days like today. When it’s pissing down, you’re soaking wet after your first group lesson and you know there’s another four hours in the rain ahead of you. Here’s the view from the magic carpet. You can probably spot it but yep – we’ve had a lot of rain last night and today. But then there’s also the fun part of the rain – such as the rather huge area of – let’s call it – very wet snow (a.k.a. water) at the bottom of McDougalls (a chairlift at Cardrona). “Listen up, kids! See that lake down there? It’s your lucky day because we’re going to do some water skiing today! Go as fast as you can and let’s see who makes it over the water! Are you going to make it, Johnny?” Full speed ahead and we all made it – even tiny Johnny! Coming home was priceless, even …

Opening weekend at Cardrona

Our ski field is finally open and we’re all really happy about that – especially if you consider the snow situation in New Zealand. Other Kiwi fields like Treble Cone, Mt Ruapehu or The Remarkables could not yet open and it’s thanks to our amazing grooming and snow making  crew (who did magic with the 20 cm snow base) that we have slopes to teach on. First days back at ski school were good fun and were a good reminder why I love doing this so much. In between we have enough time for fun runs amongst ourselves, freshly baked muffins at the café and catching up with ski instructors from around the world. When we finally take the vans down the mountain I am most of the time pretty knackered, just looking forward to the essentials: shower, food, sleep. It’s getting better though and sometimes I even make it to happy hour for some social drinks.

Freestyle Course on Planai

Last year I’ve participated in a Freestyle Course – on my snowboard. Since I’ve been skiing a lot more this season I thought it would be a good idea to do the Freestyle Course on skis this year. Well, a good idea in theory is not necessarily a good idea in practice. After so many falls from boxes and after kickers I am now sure I’ll never become a freestyle skier. Good fun anyway and Planai has been epic, with fresh snow!

Alpine Safety Training on Krippenstein

An essential part of the Austrian Ski Instructor Education is the Alpine Safety training, mandatory for everybody who wants to finish his or her certification (Landesschilehrer). And to be honest, I would actually consider doing the whole Ski Instructor education just for this one course. During the seven days we spent on Krippenstein (an off piste ski area) and Dachstein (the nearby glacier, both located at the southern tip of Upper Austria) we learnt how to guide guests in off piste terrain, where to find the best snow, orientation in unknown terrain but most importantly: loads about alpine safety factors such as weather and natural hazards. The week was intense but at the same time incredibly instructive & rewarding. One highlight was definitely the simulated avalanche exercise we had to complete as a group of sixteen people – from receiving the emergency call up to finding several avalanche victims – with and without transceivers, and finally digging out and transporting an injured avalanche victim to the helicopter. Even when you think you know a lot about it, there’s …