Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Winterfest Fireworks

Queenstown's Winter Festival, a week long celebration kick starting the season, began with a bang.  Or the the plural 'bangs' is probably a better description.  On a Friday night the town was packed with families, locals and travellers a like, all there to eat, drink, watch live acts and above all, see some fireworks out on the water.  I made a lot of 'oooows' and 'arrrhhhhhs.'

There were also some kick-ass fire dancers in town to boot!

After hunting down a hot dog and soaking up the atmosphere (Read here; got a little impatient in the crowds - I didn't know NZ had them!) I ended the night in one of my Bars/Restaurants on town drinking hot sake.

I think the festival has been made a little extra special due to the recent fall of snow...

As one of my items on my Queenstown bucket list, attending the festival's opening was not a disappointment and I'm thrilled I got to see it.   Although due to work and on my days off, STILL attempting to learn to snow board, I may not see much else.  However, its great to see this town come alive at the darkest time of year.

Happy Winterfest everybody!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

My new board

With the sound of rain serenading me this morning and snow reports from coronet peak indicating bad visibility (buts lots of snow coming down), I decided that a snowboarding session wasn't going to happen. I just wasn't up to tackling the elements today.  

But the day wouldn't be a loss. I put on my coat and walked to 'Small Planet,' a skiing and boarding shop that sells some 2nd hand gear.  Hiring out a board and binders would be too expensive over the next four months and therefore, the smartest option was to buy my first board.  It just needed to be the right height, have binders the right size and be in an 'alrightish' condition. I came out of the shop five minutes later with a 144cm board (at 5"3 I am very small) and pink detailed binders.  With its lime green center at least I'll be noticeable on the snow.  The  sales assistant said all I need to do is get some wax on it and he'll be good to go. All for a grande total of $200!

It may not be the most stylish board and at the moment I have no clue what makes a good one, but he's all mine. I will call him Travis.

Friday, 14 June 2013

My First Attempt on a Snowboard

Lesson One:

How did I spend my first snowboard lesson? Falling over again, again and, yep again. Turns out my lack of coordination and reflex action do not make me a natural at this. It doesn't help when those in your 'beginner' lesson are freaks of nature who pick it up like ducks to water. All the while my behind spent a lot of time snuggled in the snow.  I was even thwarted by strapping myself in the board. One of the first parts of the lesson. I should have known what was to come.

Getting down the slope wouldn't be easy.  Control? Bah! That's for losers. Try crashing about the place with no idea where you're going, that 's an extreme sport! As I was knackered, by the end of the two hour lesson I began sliding my bottom down the hill to just get off the freaking mountain! I was feeling frustrated at my self, why couldn't I be like one of those wonder kids? Why god, why did you make me this way?  I sucked. Big time.  If I didn't buckle down and get some practice in, I'd be looking a lot like this fellow above.

The next day...

I really didn't want to go back to the slope alone. Dark thoughts of spending my afternoon making no progress in the learners corner began to surface. Self doubt is a very good friend of mine.  But then I started to think about a time I totally sucked at something and got through it.  I remembered having to learn to swim properly, aged twenty-two.  At the start it seemed impossible and a goal completely out of my reach. But after many hours in the pool, I got there. So why should this be different? I needed to put the time in and start to get a feel for snowboarding.

At around mid day I got to Coronet Peak and headed for the magic carpet - the conveyor belt that takes you up the beginner slope.  To my surprise,  I actually began to improve.  The first time down - four falls. The next - two. And then I was making it down in one go.  I could avoid people and maneuver (very crudely) away from danger.  It was only after three hours, when my legs began to ache and my concentration was waning, that I decided to call it a day.

 I may not be a natural, but I'm feeling positive about the next four months.  And hey, at least I didn't end up in hospital this time, which is always a plus.

Image found at www.jokeroo.com. 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Three months in Queenstown

Has is really been that long? It feels only yesterday we were getting off the plane, desperately searching for jobs and a place to sleep at night.  I remember feeling utterly in awe as the bus look us into town.  Mountains everywhere!!!!!
  In the first week we got jobs, in the third we found a house and slowly we begun to relax and enjoy our surroundings. After the clocks went back, the days got shorter, colder and autumn took shape. The leaves turned colour until finally, the trees were bare.

In the times we've been here, the building housing The World Bar and Bat Badgers Pizzas burnt down, a British tourist stole a quilt, it snowed a lot and then rained - a lot.

I did my first Para glide (which is totally amazing and I'd recommend to everyone and their grandmother), one of my closest friends left for England, I got to visit Arrowtown twice, watched Hangover 3 and the new star trek and to top it all off,  played mini golf. When the weather permitted we went for walks but probably not as often as we should. In short, domestic life took over.

  We really got into spending nights in our new home. Zim bought a cheese grater. I bought fluffy bath towels. My nights were mostly spent having delicious meals made for me.  I became addicted to instant lattes.   With a strong desire to do some snow sports this winter, I was obsessed with saving whilst I could. It has not been a life of fast living, drinking and women/men (whatever your preference).  Its been a time to get used to each others strange little habits and just be. I have a feeling its going to be the quietest three months we'll have for a while.

 And then a couple of weeks ago I got the news I'd be working on a ski field. Horay!!!! After a week of training as a Custodian, the slopes opened for business on Saturday. It was a crazy and exciting day with more than two thousand visitors passing through.  With this my new role, we'll definitely be planning to stay put over the season.

If I try and sum up how I feel about Queenstown, I find it hard to say the correct words. I feel I'm still getting to know this beautiful town and have only experienced a small amount that it has to offer.  So lets bring on the next four months and see what she can do!!!!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

I'll be working in the snow!!!

If you're one of my FB friends, this will not be news, but last week I was offered a role on one of the Ski fields and quite frankly, jumped at it. I don't think I've said  'thank you, thank you, thank you' so much when accepting a job.  I gave in my notice to my current employers and have spent the last week skipping around like a child.

This was the reason I wanted to come to Queenstown in winter. I had accepted that due to the high amount of applicants (over two thousand), working for the ski fields may not happen, but I was content to work in town and spend my days off on the mountain. If that failed, I'd stay as long as I could and try. I had to tell myself that after a run of unusual jobs in Australia, maybe I'd used up my luck.  I mean, I'd got to sail the South Pacific on a tall ship for seven months, something that had allowed me to experience enough adventure for two life times, I couldn't really complain.  I understood that perhaps the jobs available to me here couldn't compete with the past.  Then New Zealand showed me otherwise.

And now I have no excuse not completing one of the items on my Queenstown bucket list; 'learning to snowboard.'  I'm a complete newbie to snow sports but I'm determined to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.  

Exciting times are a head. Lets hope this season brings lots of snow and no broken bones!

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