Eventually winter comes to an end in Whistler.à Last day of summer camps on Blackcomb glacier were mid way through July and with temperatures in the mid 30s every day I needed to get back to a cooler climate.

I flew direct from Vancouver to Auckland on a new service from Air New Zealand and I have to say that they are just about the best airline I have ever flown with.à Though it does help the that booking agent was an action sports photo fan and kindly hooked me up with a bulkhead seat so I could stretch out.

Of course I went through all the usual problems trying to get my bags within the weight limits but eventually after I had tossed a ton of non-essential items (clothes) out at the check in desk I sneaked everything into 2 bags at 32KG each.à One pelican 1610 hard case full of flash equipment and my huge DaKine ski roller bag which held a pair of skis, ski boots, light stands and a small amount of clothing.

The rest of my camera equipment travels with me as carry on in a Think Tank Airport International roller case.à I think the weight limit for carry on was about 7kg but my bag weighed at least 25kg.à No questions asked on the first flight but I did hear the dreaded words ” excuse me sir, can you just put that bag on the scales for me” when I was boarding my connection from Auckland to Queenstown. Busted.

Always have a backup plan!à No matter what the weather is I always fly with my ski jacket under my arm.à It has HUGE pockets and if the worst happens, I can put a lot of lenses in the pockets.à I slung my 300mm and my 1dMKIIN around my neck, my 70-200 on my 5dMKII over my shoulder and the rest of my lenses went in my jacket pockets.à The flight attendants were scratching their heads as I did this and they still made me check the Think Tank roller into the aircraft hold, but at least all the important stuff was with me.à Of course I looked rediculous boarding the plane, especially as I was the last one on by this time and it opened the floodgates to the usual questions….. ohhhhh how much does that lens cost, can you see the moon with that thing, your job must be very easy with such a nice camera etc etcà C’est la vie.

Once arrived I took a couple of days to chill out in Wanaka.à Every time I go to that town I am stunned by it’s beauty.à Simply breathtaking scenery but I didnt have much time to spare.à A quick day catching up with friends and then on the road north to Christchurch to meet up with the Atomic ski team for a 10 day shoot for their 2011 catalog….. stay tuned for chapter 2 later in the week.