Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Winter in New Zealand

Last summer was my first time to New Zealand and it quickly became one of my favorite places in the world. I was excited to find out that NZ camp was on the schedule again this year and the Snow Farm has lived up to expectations in every way! It's a long trip to travel over here. The time change is 16 hours ahead of the east coast, or 8 hours behind tomorrow, if that makes sense. So right now it's Thursday morning here and Wednesday evening in Vermont. Even though it takes a long time to get here, adjusting to the time change is relatively easy. I get tired early at night and wake up ready to go in the morning. The sleeping accommodations are dark, cool, and cozy, and I'm always shocked by how easily we adapt to life down under. In addition to the good sleeping, New Zealand has a ton of other things going for it. There is natural beauty everywhere and with only 4.5 million people in the entire country, it never seems over populated or crowded, especially where we are...sitting on top of a mountain above 15kms of switchbacking dirt road to get here. The food is also delicious. It's kind of a mix of asian fusion, lamb, and the occasional American or Mexican meal. What else is good about this place? The skiing! We're here a month and a half later than we were last year, so we're experiencing more early March conditions, but it's still not full blown spring skiing. We actually got a pretty big snow storm over the last couple days and are planning on doing some hard wax skiing this afternoon.
Back on snow with Matt and Liz our first afternoon in New Zealand

Morning view on our walk to breakfast...not bad!

Liz taking in the view on a drink break

Simi, Liz, and me at Bob Lee Hut
Chasing Liz down "The Loop"
We've done a couple intensity sessions, a couple speed sessions, and mostly easy distance training since being here. This weekend we are hopping in some FIS races that are being held at the Snow Farm, so that will be a good way to end the camp with a little intensity. The Snow Farm has basically everything we need up here. We can ski from the door, eat in the same building, and there's even a little gym we can use. Every once in awhile it's nice to drive off the mountain and go to the town of Wanaka, which is about 45 minutes away. Sometimes we go to a bigger gym in town to do strength and we will also go down and walk around town if we have an off day or afternoon. It's a beautiful little town sitting right on Lake Wanaka with a bunch of shops and good places to eat. There are also a ton of good running and mountain biking trails around town that I hope I can come back and explore one summer!
Interval day on a ribbon of snow (Matt Whitcomb photo)

Afternoon ski with Liz 

Bloody hand after getting my lactate taken on interval day

Liz and Jessie racing the Merino Muster

Sim and Hoff showing off their medals

Sunset cruise

Give an american a day off in town and...

Tea pot sweater!

Beach time in Wanaka

Intervals with the girls (Matt Whitcomb photo)

Jess and me at Bob Lee Hut (erika photo)

crust cruising! (Erika photo)
For the most part, we've had incredible skiing since we've been here. We've had the occasional day of wind, rain, or snow, but we have had a lot of sunny days. My favorite ski of the camp so far had to be yesterday morning. A big snow storm was predicted for the entire day, but just as we were getting ready to ski, the clouds parted and we had full blown sunshine and no wind. Plenty of snow had dumped the night before and everything was covered in powder. It had been a few hours since the groomer had been through, so we were making our own tracks for the morning. We explored a trail I had never been on before and had an awesome morning of waddling through the backcountry and making some powder turns. The snow was beginning to get a little thin here, so the storm was just what we needed and it looks like we got even more snow last night!
KO and Grove climbing up the hillside

Erika shredding the downs

Made it to the Kirtle Burn Hut!

Skiing out of the fog

We have five more days at the Snow Farm and I'm sure they will fly by. It has been an awesome camp and I'm hoping we will be able to return again next summer. Huge thanks to everyone at the Snow Farm who helps make this happen!
Happy girls post intervals (Matt Whitcomb photo)