Well, it has been a long and stressful wait for many for the ski season to finally start here in Queenstown. The reality is that we always knew it would start at some point, but for so many businesses relying on the ski season it was an intense period. You could almost hear the sigh of relief last Wednesday when nzski announced that Coronet would finally open! Remarks opens today with limited terrain, all thanks to snowmaking. The good news is that snow is on the way next week! Personally, I have enjoyed the break from the snow; my back probably needed the extra time off, and I have made the most of the time to physical train and sort out where to go from here.
There are a few changes to the way the NZ Team will operate this winter. Firsly, you will all be pleased and relieved to know that Nils is still at the helm. However this winter in NZ we will remove gender discrimination from our mandate and allow Taylor Rapley to join us for training. This is all part of a new set-up whereby Nils is employed as the elite coach for the Queenstown Alpine Ski Team (QAST) and those NZ Team members who chose to join QAST will be coached by Nils. Why, you ask? Money, politics and the way the winds blow. Nevertheless, I am quite excited about returning to my roots as a QASTie. And, in practise, the training set-up will be exactly the same – we will have our own lane supplied by Coronet Peak at Rocky Gully and will be based mostly in Queenstown. We have joined forces as a team with Queenstown Gym and Alpine Health and Fitness, and on a personal note I have joined POC headgear/protection; the newest, latest, greatest and most importantly safest stuff coming out of Sweden that isn’t put together from an IKEA kit.
This winter I will be working at Browns Ski Shop once again in the rentals 4 days a week, and will also be running Monday demos at Coronet Peak (so please stop in and try some new skis out – free to try!) Obviously without snow I haven’t been working for about a month now, which means I have had to take some extra hours on for the winter in order to get through. I have also decided this winter to complete my BA in Philosophy from Otago, where I have signed up for the final 2 papers needed. And, just because I want to make sure I have absolutely no free time whatsoever, I will shoot for my Level 1 & 2 ski instructors qualifications this season.
As far as racing is concerned we will have a pretty stacked season. The Winter Games are back on again and are shaping up to be a huge showcase of all winter sport, with multiple Olympic gold medallists expected to compete. These will be partly Coronet and partly Mt Hutt for us, and anywhere from Naseby to Snow Park for the other sports in the competition. Coronet will also play host to the NZ Nationals and the Southern Cup in August, while Mt Hutt will host the ANC finals in September. As usual we expect a plethora of foreign national teams training here in NZ, which will provide great racing opportunities.
See you all soon. This time in 10 days we will be wondering what the mountains looked like without snow on them!