All posts filed under: Free Skiing

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 …

Flat White vs. Strong Black. Not talking about coffee here…

When I started investigating Ski Instructor Jobs in New Zealand a couple of years ago the first field that repeatedly came up was Treble Cone. Fellow Ski Instructors had worked there and I had seen stunning images of the view on Facebook and Co. Back then I inquired working there – but as soon as I had figured out that their ski school is basically run & dominated by Austrian (Staatliche) Ski Instructors I knew it wasn’t for me and opted for the more international and rather beginner-focused Cardrona Alpine Resort – on the other side of the mountain but still close to Wanaka. Although I had escaped the Austrian Ski Instructor community work-wise there was no way I could in my social life. They are dominating Wanaka’s night life and seem to be everywhere! Even at Cardrona Ski School parties, as I found out during last year’s welcome party where two of Treble Cone’s instructors had sneaked in (most of you can probably guess which dynamic Austrian duo that was). Nowadays I’m quite happy to count …

Finally skiing Treble Cone

Incredible that I’ve lived here for a full season already but actually never made it up to Wanaka’s other ski field, called Treble Cone. It was about time we headed up there and with Rachel, driving her old Japanese ambulance – transformed Campervan up there, it was the perfect opportunity to get a couple of Cardrona instructors together to check out the competition. When some Treble Cone ski instructors charmingly called Cardrona the “flat white” because of it’s lacking steepness I didn’t understand. But now – having seen Treble Cone’s steep couloirs, bowls and all the fun off piste skiing – I completely agree. Enough words – here are some pictures from our fun day, starting with out ride in the bespoken ambulance, the luxury of a six-seater-chairlift, Sanna & me in front of Lake Wanaka, Andrew pointing out Mt Aspiring (3033m high) to Sanna, and finally, the well deserved beer at famous Waterbar after a great day on the mountain.

One last look back at the Cardrona season

Today I went for the last ski up at Cardrona – all alone, with lots of time to look back on the season and reflect how it went. So many things are different over here in New Zealand – you have to drive all the way up to the base area of a mountain, everything at the ski field is owned by one company, there are canteen style fast food places instead of cosy chalets with good food, slopes are not marked as such, ski fields have a maximum of four lifts and lifties are actually friendly and good fun instead of grumpy old men. Yet, at the same time so many things are similar – you feel immediately welcomed in the ski instructor community, the town has a buzzing night life with happy hour drinking and in the end everybody is here for the love of snow. But the one thing that really struck me as the most challenging difference was the living situation: I had no idea that there is no central heating …

Skiing with the best Asian skier I’ve ever seen – and lived with.

Although we’ve been living together for a season now I never managed to go skiing with any of my housemates – so it came as a pleasant surprise when I met my roommate Jo on the slopes during one of my last skiing days. Jo is half Kiwi – half Filipino and is often teased for being half Asian – because she takes pictures of everything, she always does some Asian-style posing when pictures are taken and loves Asian food. But the one thing where she’s not Asian at all are her skiing skills. (Don’t want to be offensive but if you’ve ever taught Asians how to ski you know what I am talking about….)