Second week done!  It's been a mixed bag of weather this week with strong winds blowing all too often but with the L1 exams only a week away, we all persevered and made the most the circumstances.  The team's main distraction away from the mountain this week was an epic few rounds of paintball - no need for strategy as the group quickly adopted the much more fun approach of Fire! ... Aim! ... Ready!  Check out the photos below ..

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At the start of the week the Skoolers were treated to the kind of day you pretty much only find in New Zealand: 70km winds, sideways snow, and such cloud that you can't see your hand in front of your face!  Doesn't sound great does it? … but nonetheless, a useful opportunity to learn to really 'feel' the snow.  The skiers said goodbye to trainer Simon for a while and welcomed Jon as his replacement.  It adds so much to the learning experience to be able to train with a variety of instructors so the guys are pretty lucky.  The week also saw the introduction of learning how to teach, complete with the students running their own sessions in some practice teaches. On Monday evening, we were lucky enough to be given a talk by Ginny Rutledge who is a pretty big deal in the world of physiotherapy. She looks after the NZ ski team, has been to every Winter Olympics since 2002, looks after Ted Ligerty whenever he's not in the States and is pretty much just awesome! She talked a lot about injury prevention and some simple things the guys can do to help. Her suggestion of 10 minutes of core work three times a week is something probably even we can manage!
Good always come from bad and the good news about Monday’s tough weather (which included scraping the freezing fog from our goggles every couple of turns) was that Tuesday provided a chance to ride some powder. Scott was particularly proud of the icicles he managed to grow on his beard, so proud that many a photo was taken to prove it! The snowboarders need to be able to ride park for their exam and this week’s jib of the week was the nollie tail press. With Christie still taking it easy after her spill last week, she enjoyed some time in town with George and Harry, walking round the lake on a nice sunny day instead of suffering the fog up the hill.
Wednesday provided another chance to shadow and lots of the guys took advantage of their day off from training to come up and get involved in some beginner level lessons – great chance to see how the theory actually works in practice. Thankfully the weather cleared up on Thursday and we were treated to a nice day. On Friday, though, the winds were so strong that the resort had a delayed opening. This meant the guys got some valuable indoor time going through the manuals and doing some video analysis. We had a bit of a scare late on Friday when Katie had a fall and hurt her shoulder but the guys at the medical centre confirmed nothing was broken or fractured and she'll be good to go again in a few days’ time.  Friday night is always party night and after some pre drinks at the apartments is was on to Fitzpatricks’ for some pretty cool live music and yet another dance-off, this time between Luke, Scott and Ben. We’re expecting pretty epic things to come through the season!
Saturday was battle day. War was declared and the weapon of choice was a hard little pounch of paint - paintball! We headed off to Wanaka Paintball for the day and in two teams of ten we were briefed that the aim of the game was to try and steal the other team’s rugby ball and raise the flag.  But being an inventive and enthusiastic crew, we adapted the rules a little and went for the “shoot on sight” approach! Heather, who hadn't been too keen on coming, took one for the team to make up numbers and was pretty stoked to find an exercise bike in the middle of the war zone.  We think she’s got some interesting ideas to take back to her gym classes back home!  Matty had to miss out on the paintballing but only as he had something WAY more important and exciting to do ... his sister’s wedding!  He headed to Queenstown where all his family from Australia assembled for what had to be one of the most spectacular destinations for a wedding.  Everyone at SnowSkool sends their congrats to the happy couple and we have promised paintballing will happen again later in the season so Matty can experience the frenzy.
It seems Sunday is already developing into our traditional chill day, although some did head up the hill to do some more instructor shadowing. Scott was particularly gutted to see pictures of the big fry-up that was happening in his apartment with Nick, Clark and Grant sharing some pix while he was out on the hill working hard.
Only one week to go now before the Level 1 exams.  This week, the trainers gave everyone a clear idea of where they are at and how they are going. Everyone's looking good but there is still much work to be done before the exam hits next week – time to knuckle down and get it done! With the forecast for good sunny weather and nice cold temps we are thankfully looking pretty sweet for the week ahead.
Back soon!
SnowSkool Liz
Course Host - SnowSkool NZ 2014
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