After nine months in Australia, we headed to New Zealand where our adventures on our Kiwi Experience bus included glowworm caves, geysers, hiking across Mordor, horse-riding in Hobbit land, partying at the Poo Pub, heli-hiking a glacier, climbing a mountain and jumping of a canyon in Queenstown.
The night before, we went to the ski centre to sort out snowboarding for the next day. I changed to intermediate level so I didn’t have to waste time re-doing lessons I had back in April 8-15 2007 in Austria. This was August 10 2013 so it had been a while but I felt confident as I picked up my snowboard and boots.
We were up bright and early at 7am the next morning, partly because we were excited for snowboarding and partly because we got free toast for breakfast. I grabbed my snowboard from the basement locker and we hopped aboard the bus to Cardrona Alpine Resort. It took an hour and a half to get there but by the time we had wound our way up the mountain above the low clouds it looked gorgeous.
Charlotte and I headed off whilst Jodes and Katy went to their beginners’ lesson. We all just ended up on the beginners’ slope anyway to begin with. Snowboarding felt very familiar even though it had been 6 1/3 years. I still found it pretty tricky to turn on to toe edge, though!
Jodes and Katy’s lesson eventually started and I headed off on my own to try and shake off the rust of my already minimal skills. I got off the McDougall’s Quad lift and took the Footrot Flats route, then headed back up to the Westons Trail. I was slowly building up the confidence to turn rather than just using the tempting but clumsy ‘falling leaf’ approach.
Next I took a scary intermediate slope down to Valley View Quad via All Nations and Goldrush Downhill (gotta hand it to the Kiwis, they name their slopes well). I got the lift up again and boarded down through a super-echoey tunnel to the WhiteStar Express Quad lift – from the top of the mountain I boarded down to the beginners’ area again.
At this moment, the cloud lowered and visibility became seriously poor. Still, by shuffling towards signs I managed to navigate myself in the correct direction. I arrived just in time for my lunch date with Jodes and we met Alice and Katy for some expensive but well-earned meatball subs. I went out with a bunch of the others who helped coach me on snowboarding technique a bit (it helps if you point which way you wanna go in a really exaggerated manner).
I headed back to the beginners’ area to find Jodes, who had been doing so well earlier, had fallen on her tailbone and got hurt. This wasn’t great news as we had booked to spend twelve hours on a coach the next day on the Milford Sound trip. I took her to First Aid and got paracetamol for her. She tried the beginners’ slope again but was in too much pain so I took her back to First Aid to lie down with an ice pack for a while.
As the day ended we took some photos and got the bus back down the mountain from Cardrona to Queenstown. The views were stunning but the best pic I got was of Dan and Will asleep on each other on the bus. Back in town we grabbed a free cottage pie at Nomad’s, returned the gear and had two cookies for $3 at the bakery round the corner. Win.
Next time: What’s it like to drink at an Ice Bar?