Last month I had the privilege to join my Stratton teammates for a camp down under at the Snow Farm in New Zealand. Breathtaking views, phenomenal skiing, and sunshine so sweet that you couldn't stop smiling, it was a trip that was worth every penny and every hour of travel (40 hrs).
Driving up from the town of Wanaka you forget about summer and say hello to Winter! For the first week, the SMS team stayed in an apartment about 2 kilometers from the Snow Farm Lodge. Unfortunately, this became a battle between slick roads and a horrific rental van. Luckily, Coach Pat came to the rescue (along with a few strangers who chose to help us when we got stuck, multiple times...) and we made do for the time being. On the bright side, we were staying right above a car testing track where people from all over would come test whatever brand of cars and go for a "joy ride." We got some good afternoon entertainment watching Audi's drive around an ice rink for fun!
We made sure none of these van problems held us back and were able to jump right into skiing for hours and hours everyday. Turns out it's not that hard when there's always spectacular views to keep you company.
Part way through the camp we took a trip down into the town of Wanaka to go for a mountain run and get a taste of New Zealand tourism.
By the third week of our camp, we began racing. Jessie and I competed in the 42k Merino Muster, my first marathon ski race! I learned a lot in this ski race- like how to fuel before, during, and after such a long competition. After experiencing a boot-and-rally at about 14k, I learned my lesson and was able to happily and comfortably finish the race in third place.
Next were the 2018 New Zealand Audi Quattro Winter Games. The women competed in a freestyle 5k, freestyle sprint, and classic 10k, while the men raced in a freestyle 10k, freestyle sprint, and classic 15k.
After the races were over, we had a few days remaining. We spent every last second we could embracing the snow and sunshine including some great crust skiing.
It was an unforgettable three week trip with so much skiing and so many laughs. Can't wait to go back again sometime soon...