First week of Winter at the Snow Farm!

By September 4, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments

Getting to ski in real winter conditions in the middle of our summer is such a dream come true! I’ve been waiting and waiting to finally get back down here after last year’s amazing camp…and this year has proven to be another awesome start to the training camp. The Snow Farm is a training center, lodge, ski rental shop…everything you need to come adventure and play around in the mountains.

Erika at the Queenstown airport with "The Remarkables" mountains in the background.

Erika at the Queenstown airport with “The Remarkables” mountains in the background.

Andy checking out the view from the deck. Not bad at all!

Andy checking out the view from the deck. Not bad at all!

We’ve just moved up to the lodge where we are staying in hotel style rooms, with access to a laundry machine (that part is very, very important after a few sweaty workouts in a row) and we’re on the lodge meal plan. The food here is outstanding, being a asian-polynesian-british fusion with fresh fruit and veggies always on hand. Yum. The wax room is downstairs and once you’ve scraped your skis, you only have 3 steps to take out the door before you’re on the ski trail and ready to go!

KO and Ida skiing on the "hanging valley" trail...possibly my favorite.

KO and Ida skiing on the “hanging valley” trail…possibly my favorite.

The most scenic water break! (photo from Erika Flowers)

The most scenic water break! (photo from Erika Flowers)

While we played it a bit risky coming here during their springtime, we still have all the main trails open and I can ski for over two hours without hitting the same trail. The sunny days have been so breathtakingly beautiful with mountain views every way you look, and the windy colder days aren’t bad as long as you layer up with the right clothing. Which was a challenge at first, coming from summertime and having to remember how to properly dress for winter skiing!

Erika cruising down the trail.

Erika cruising down the trail.

KO, Erika and I exploring an igloo on the side of the trail during an easy afternoon ski!

KO, Erika and I exploring an igloo on the side of the trail during an easy afternoon ski!

The sunset skis are amazing. I was checking out the crust in this photo from Erika.

The sunset skis are amazing. I was checking out the crust in this photo from Erika.

I hadn’t ever raced a World Loppet race before, but this year our training camp was the right time of year for the Merino Muster 42km! I was so excited to get to race a marathon distance and since it worked out with our training plan to get in some long intensity, I was able to race with Liz, Simi and Noah! Liz and I stuck together the entire race, getting warm sports drink feeds from the friendly volunteers dressed as Santa Claus at the “lolly feed stations”.

At the start of the race with Liz in the lead! (photo from Matt Whitcomb)

At the start of the race with Liz in the lead! (photo from Matt Whitcomb)

All the volunteers and organizers at the Snow Farm did an outstanding job making a fun and friendly event! We had such a fun time, and the snow was perfectly groomed, our skis were fast, and the sun was out so the temperature was perfect. Noah, Simi and Henrik Forsberg went 1-2-3 in the men’s race, while Me, Liz and Rachel Knott went 1-2-3 in the women’s race. There is an awesome video highlighting New Zealand and the race on the Worldloppet website: http://www.worldloppet.com and they did an amazing job getting race footage as well as video of the town and surrounding area!

Liz and I climbing up the Merino Glen trail (photo from Chris Grover)

Liz and I climbing up the Merino Glen trail (photo from Chris Grover)

Simi, Noah, Mary Lee, Liz and I after the race! (photo from Matt Whitcomb)

Simi, Noah, Mary Lee, Liz and I after the race! (photo from Matt Whitcomb)

It also made me excited for the day when it works out for me to be home to race the Slumberland American Birkie, because cruising around with one of my best friends, getting to ski for hours and getting chocolates and hot drinks at the end was such a fun experience!

Liz and I having an awesome time! (photo from Matt Whitcomb)

Liz and I having an awesome time! (photo from Matt Whitcomb)

Today we had a day off from training, and then tomorrow we’ll begin another week of quality training with some more races at the end!