New Zealand 2006
Some people save money to buy new cars, electronics, food/booze. Well I
save my money to travel. So when I saw a $700 flight to Auckland, NZ I
booked it. It just so happened that the New Zealand Freeskiing Open was
happening at the same time too.
didn't have much time between when the New Zealand Open began and when
I needed to be back in the States for the start of the Semester. So
basically, I had enough time to get there, get used to the jet lag,
then come home and start school. But I never once questioned the worth
of the trip since skiing in New Zealand has always been a dream of mine.
was flying out of Denver on August 10, to LAX, and planned to carry on
to Auckland, then to Queenstown. Unfortunately, while in the air
between Denver and LAX, 24 suspects were arrested in the plot to use
various liquids to blow up multiple transatlantic flights. When I
arrived in Los Angeles things were chaotic. Suddenly, when people
thought their bags were packed and ready to go they're told from one
TSA person that they can't bring any liquids, another TSAer says not
even pens, chap sticks, or deodorants, another says no carry-ons what
so ever. For me, my flight that would take me from LA to Auckland was
coming in from London. ... It would be delayed and wouldn't get to LA
for another 12 hours. Well the one convenience of that was that I would
have plenty of time to drag all of my ski stuff from the LAX domestic
terminal to their international terminal. For this I still hate LAX.
a couple of failed attempts at napping and complimentary airport
Wolfgang Pucks I finally got on the Air New Zealand flight. 17 hours
later I landed in Auckland and caught my domestic flight to Queenstown.
Flying into Queenstown in a beautiful experience in itself. The
Remarkables poke up at the plane and you wind your way down into the
valley floor. Somehow or another, despite my 12 hour delay, my transfer
van to Wanaka was there waiting for me.
drive from Queenstown to Wanaka is a great introduction to New Zealand.
You'll pass picturesque green fields backed by rolling hills dotted
with sheep (not surprising in a country with a greater sheep population
are dozens of inns/lodges/and hostels to stay at in Wanaka, especially
in the winter. Some of them are known for being quiet places for the
non-20something skiers and snowboarders and then the place where you
can always go for a good time. I settled for a good in between, the
Matterhorn South. And for even a few more bucks I was able to get a
private little cabin in back, perfect for me since I had sever jet lag
to deal with for only 4 days. But when you're not skiing or sleeping,
the common room was a great place to meet friends, friends who would
also be up at 4 in the morning and willing to make the 4am meat pie run
with you (Thanks Megan).
really was little need for me to rent a car while in Wanaka. Getting to
SnowPark is really an easy task. You'll either meet people who will
happily give you a ride up or you'll hitch from the local stop. Either
way, just pitch in a little on gas and you'll always have a ride. I did
find though that I always got to and down from SnowPark when I road
with a local Kiwi.
in the Kiwi winter, almost all the shops on the main drag in Wanaka
have ice cream. The good stuff too. Which is awesome to lick as you
walk around the parks near the lake.
only skied at SnowPark while I was in New Zealand. I was scheduled to
compete at Treble Cone, but high winds and snow canceled that day,
which was later spent crocheting in the Matterhorn South lounge room. I
also tried to schedule a day to go sky dive, but again, the wind
canceled that excursion too.
while I found Wanaka beautiful, fun, and amazing, I feel the desperate
urge to return for a longer stay and ski the whole island, sky dive,
hike, and do everything else that New Zealand has to offer.
Oh yeah, and the plane ride home was just as confusing as the way out.