We decided that we would go skiing in Queenstown. Just to give it a go. I had never before considered racing down a mountain on two small, thin pieces of plastic as fun before. But there’s a first for everything. Even though Tori had skied before when she was younger, she assured me that her knowledge of the hot chocolates on the mountain far surpassed her experience at skiing. So, we would both be learning to ski together, along with Kathy. The rest of our group were mostly German and Austrian and therefore skiing was second nature to them.
And so it was that at 7 in the morning we all donned ski outfits (Tori and I,naturally, matching) and headed off to Cardrona.
The weather was perfect. Bright blue skies and there had been a fresh snow fall (still not sure what this means but it seemed a positive thing).
The first thing to was grab our boots and skies. My oh my. I thought crampons were uncomfortable. For those novices (Ma and Pa) they are MASSIVE boots that push you knees forward and you are forced to walk in a bizarre, almost, crouching position.
Skis fitted and poles collected. Time to struggle with the skies and carry them up the mountain.
Our instructor was Anthony. He was either Kiwi or European, we weren’t too sure. Either way he seemed to know what he was talking about.
Basic manoeuvres included walking up the mountain sideways and ‘the wedge’ or the ‘lifesaver’. These were all pretty easy to pick up and as we were so advanced we were soon on the ‘baby slope’.
Quick practice descending the hill and Anthony informed us he’d never had such a good group before (I’m sure he doesn’t say that to every group).
Then we were allowed on the baby lift. This is essentially a moving conveyor belt, like the ones in Tesco, that you have to ski onto, which isn’t easy, and when it suddenly stops it feels like your whole body is going to fly back down the mountain.
At the top we were taught how to turn. Well, he vaguely told us something that didn’t make sense and then sent us down the hill. The idea is to pivot your feet to make them turn which direction you wish to go in. Now, ‘pivoting’ your feet with incredibly heavy boots on in sticky snow is no easy task, in fact I’d say it was impossible. The sensation when you are turning is better described as leaning slightly to the left or right rather than a pivot.
Time for the chair lift. After the luge I felt like I had mastered the chair lift. Tori, on the other hand, was convinced that we would fall over, be knocked out and roll our way down the hill. Anthony picked up on this and so the pink ladies were yet again singled out and we rode the lift with him. Perfect execution. No falling. Yet.
The views from the top were absolutely mind blowing.
Following Anthony we gradually made our descent. At one glorious point we got to go straight. I love going straight. Then it was back to curving. I thought I was getting the hang of it and gracefully followed ‘controlled Tori’ until I tried turning right and began racing down the mountain and crashing into some poor woman and sending us both flying.
Anthony then took this opportunity to use me as a demonstration on how to get up on the mountain side, no easy feat. And so it was that John zoomed passed us and got his only impression of us skiing all day as me on the ground and Tori taking pictures.
However, that was my only fall and soon, I think, I got to grips with turning both ways. Tori managed to fall over whilst standing still on the flat ground and Kathy, wonderfully, took out a row of people standing in a line.
One final straight to finish and to meet up with the ‘pros’ and the day of skiing had ended.
Then, Sam retold the dramatic tale of Kepa’s crash. Apparently Kepa collided at full force with another skier and disappeared behind a snow cloud, skies and boots flying everywhere. He then lay in the snow, unmoving and his face covered in snow. He did recover and is all fine now but it didn’t stop our womanly instincts taking over and us becoming like fretting mothers.
Exhausted from the incredible day but pumped for our final night with some of our group. A gorgeous meal at @Thai and we headed for drinks.
We were so sad to say goodbye to these guys. John had become our travel buddy, as you can probably tell, we were on the same buses for a lot of our trip. Thanks for looking after us John and cheers for being a great travel mate for so long. Gerhard, Michael, the Vikings and Kath would also be leaving us. You’ve all been so much fun and made our experience in Queenstown and the Deep South amazing! Have a fab trip and hopefully we will catch up soon.