New Zealand was an incredible experience. At the end of July I was invited to attend the New Zealand Winter Games with the U.S. National Adaptive Ski Team. I already knew most of the athletes on the team from racing against them in various events in the Unites States and Canada, but this was an opportunity to train with them, race in the southern hemisphere, and show what skills I have.
The first four days on snow where in a resort north-east of Queenstown call Cardrona. It offered some great training slopes and was the slope for many of the extreme competitions like slope style, big air, and half pipe. While training, or rather wile riding the lift, I got to watch some of the competition. The Winter Games NZ are a lot like our X-games. The snow conditions were amazing, except for one day. On that day the mountain had to shut down due to the weather conditions. The next morning there was a good two to three inches of fresh powder. The part that sucks about being a pro racer is that training comes first. This being said, even though we were the first people on the mountain, we were not able to run any of the sweet powder lines that were available. Through the day I watched as all the fresh stuff got tracked out and I longed to grab a fat ski and rip it up too. Oh well, I was skiing in July.
After a day of rest, we changed mountains to Coronet which is located right outside Queenstown. It is truly indescribable to be at 3,894 feet and having an unobstructed view of the city and lake Wakatipu as the sun comes up over the horizon. At Coronet we had four races, Winter Games NZ slalom and giant slalom, and New Zealand Nationals slalom and giant slalom. Overall, I feel like I performed well and won the silver in the GS Winter Games NZ.
Although it was a short time away, it is always nice coming home. I think the hardest part is coming back to a heat wave after being in winter weather for ten days. I truly like it colder.