Hello from New Zealand for the very last time.  Our ten weeks are all but over and we’re already moving on to our respective homes, to new travels and adventures…

The majority of our NZ 2009 SnowSkoolers are already making their long way home to the UK (nothing 36 hours of travel won't do for you), with a few heading to Australia first or stopping over in the USA.  After a huge night last night followed by an early start this morning for the long bus trip to Christchurch, all at least made it to the first flight on time, tired to the core but very satisfied.  As I write this, they should be on board NZ2, due to take off right about now.  I will miss them.  They have been terrific and I was sad to see them go.  We have achieved a baggage miracle - despite Air New Zealand having to take more fuel on board to get it all home only two have paid any extra charges, and then only because they opted to take a third bag with them.  Everyone else with only two bags (despite some astounding weights associated with them), went straight through.

I’m now at an hotel in Christchurch, with a well-earned and final NZ sauvignon blanc in hand, writing to you for the last time.  I fly home to Sydney tomorrow where I will start rallying the nearly twenty Australians who head to SnowSkool in Canada in January.  I can now tell them first-hand what a truly amazing experience awaits them.

Jamie will stay in NZ for a short time before visiting his pregnant sister in the USA on his way home.  Such a fine job has he done here that he’s going to help SnowSkool out at the ski shows around the UK before heading to Big White to help host our next course there.

The culmination of all the hard work came yesterday with the announcement of the results of the Level 2 exams.  After ten weeks of training and lengthy exams, everyone had worked hard and given of their best.  While the results were outstanding and well above the average pass rates, there were a few disappointed skiers who just missed getting their second certification.  All the boarders passed. We genuinely feel for those who didn’t quite make it – so near and yet so far - but be assured that those who didn't make it truly gave it their best. Several are already applying for jobs all over the world, looking to put their new qualifications to use.  It really has been an awesome experience for us all.  The two most impressive things I have seen from the group are….

The cohesion and unity among them.  The spread of ages – from 17 to 32 – and differing personalities and backgrounds were completely irrelevant.  Everyone was here for the same reason – to train hard – and they supported and protected each other extraordinarily well, and melded into a cohesive team.  

Secondly, how hard they worked – how hard they played was to be expected but how hard they trained was a knock out.  

We hope you have enjoyed our weekly updates and that they have achieved their purpose of connecting us all on opposite sides of the world.  We also hope you have a taste of what we have experienced, the fun we have had and a feel for this fabulous country.  For a few pix from this last week, as the snow melts away and spring takes over….

Photos from Week 10

Before we go, we would like to thank all those who worked so hard on our behalf – the awesome team of trainers at the HPC; John and Avril at the Belvedere; our caterers, Brent and Maxine; our bus driver John; and the guys at the much loved Kai-Whaka-Pai, down at the corner, who pulled all those Brewski beers for us.  Special mention to the team back at SnowSkool in the UK – to Phil, Dunk and Sarah, thanks for setting it all up so well in advance and for your on-going support throughout our time here.  To dear Jamie – couldn’t have done it without ya (and it wouldn’t have been half as much fun).  And to Phil, thanks for trusting Jamie and me with your “baby” – it’s been an honour and a privilege and we hope it has grown at least a little bigger and stronger in our care.

And to you as parents, whether your SnowSkooler passed the final L2s or not, know that they take with them great experience for life far beyond knowing how to ski or ride exceptionally well.  They are more mature and independent, they are more self-assured and confident, they are better communicators and teachers, they are more tolerant and supportive of others.  They took on a tough physical and mental challenge and met it head on.  Be proud of them – they are terrific young people and we wish each and every one of them the very best.  

We have thoroughly enjoyed sharing this time with your sons and daughters.  They will be back with you very shortly and we know you will have a great reunion.  If all goes to plan, Phil will be at Heathrow on Monday morning to help you welcome them home and we sincerely hope we have delivered on the SnowSkool promise to the group…..the best days of your life....with some fabulous memories, experiences and lessons for life.

Kia ora and poroporoaki – thank you and farewell. 



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