A day off during school holidays is luxury so you better spend it well. Not much to do during those rainy days anyway but we probably need the rest to catch our breath and get energized for another week of crazy school holidays. Quiet days, cruisy mornings, a walk to town, coffee with the friends and relaxed movie nights with the housemates. Let’s just cross our fingers that the rain doesn’t reach our snow up at Cardrona.
Week One at Ski School was a slow one so we’re still full of energy for fun activities on our days and nights off. My Austrian friend Kathi and me had a big (and particularly long) night on Friday so it wasn’t easy to get up early for a hike on Saturday – but I’m glad we did! We headed up Mt Roy with our two Scandinavian friends Veina & Sanna (who turned out to be hiking racehorses) and my two American flatmates Ruby & Doriana (who decided to turn around half way up). Let’s say Kathi and me settled in between…. given our shape from the night before we had no chance of catching up with our two sporty Scandinavian friends. But we promised to get in shape for our next hike! Or rather take Veina & Sanna out partying the night before…. and then we’ll see who’s up there first (probably still them). Thanks for the lovely hike, girls.
When you’re wandering the streets and hills of Wanaka you wouldn’t believe that it’s actually winter time. The mild temperatures and sunshine rather feel like autumn and make for perfect hiking weather. I’ve been up Mt Iron a couple of times which has great views of Lake Wanaka and the town, walked along the lake and on Wednesday we did a little road trip to Queenstown. Nothing exciting really but a nice way to fill the time until season properly kicks off.
Guess what! I finally made it all the way to my new home in Wanaka (which are great – both the home and the town). It’s such a nice feeling to finally drop those bags for a while and not worry about whether or not I can carry them all at the same time. The first couple of days here were filled with countless Hellos at Ski School gatherings, meeting old friends and making new ones, settling into our winter homes and getting used to life in a bustling winter town. Funny side fact: The bus driver on the way from Queenstown Airport to my Wanaka home asked me where I am from. When I said Austria he told me he’s going on a vacation there this autumn. And the tiny little town he’s booked his accommodation at is called Gosau, also known as the ski resort where I teach during my Northern hemisphere winter. Oh, what a small world!
That title alone – in combination with my ever undecided personality – is a paradox itself. Those who know me well probably remember how bad I am at making decisions, how long it takes me and even long after I’ve made a decision I still ask myself “What if the other option would have been the better choice?”. Clever as life is it keeps confronting us with our weaknesses – in my case making choices and so I had to deal with some choices lately. When I was diagnosed with glandular fever some weeks ago the doctor made it very clear that it would affect my energy levels quite badly and that I shouldn’t do any sports for the next weeks, let alone ski instructing. With four weeks of the NZ winter season left I found it very hard to accept that my season would end earlier, that I wouldn’t be able to go up the mountain any more and hang out with my ski instructor friends. With a stubborn mind I thought I could …
The day has come that I had intended to leave Wanaka and our house behind: I had said good-bye to the friends, packed up my bags, done my part of cleaning the house, got my room inspected, fueled up the car and had just started driving when the worst of enemies struck me: a cystitis. Knowing immediately what it was I headed back to Wanaka, straight to the Medical Center to get antibiotics and then the rest of the day on the couch again. Life is ironic, sometimes….
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.
After last night’s blog post I quickly got up from the couch to check my bedroom temperature but with chilly 7 degrees there I decided that I would rather sleep in the living room where the fire was still going and the wind was howling in the chimney. My wake up call this morning was my roommate Jo who was super-excited and told me she’s going to Ohau Ski Field – a tiny hill two hours north of Wanaka (with one chairlift by the way!) because it’s a Powderday! That made me think I should tell you guys something about New Zealand Powderdays – a phenomenon very interesting to us foreign ski instructors because Kiwis get absolutely crazy about tiny amounts of snow. And when I say tiny we really talk about centimeters. To give you some examples – here are some recent Facebook updates of the Wanaka ski fields Treble Cone & Cardrona:w When Treble Cone has had 10 to 15 cm of snow it’s already massive for New Zealand so I can …
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 …
It’s quite late over here and I’m wasted after the long drive but I have finally arrived in Wanaka. Will tell you more about the house and the flatmates tomorrow – once I have dropped off my reliable 4WD friend (we encountered a snowstorm!). Have a good weekend!