And the snow just kept on coming – buckets of the stuff.  As the bus left the hill on Tuesday afternoon, the snow had already reached right the way down to the main road, which was a first for us for the season.  We lost our first day of training this week when Cardrona closing due to high winds on Wednesday.  Already suited up and on the bus, the group started to make plans to head back to bed when the trainers advised there would be a classroom session instead, with skiers attending in the morning and boarders in the afternoon.  Having a day off mid-week was probably a good thing, to be honest – all seemed to enjoy the extra free time.  The other half-day of training was made up on Friday morning on the slopes at Cardrona – in picture-postcard conditions with brilliant blue skies. It was so perfect, even I went for a ski!  It was fun to see most of them on out there doing their stuff and seeing the dramatic improvements that have been made all around.  It was also an experience touring the mountain with Jamie, who has been up nigh on every day since late June.  He knows ALL the lifties, who, because of his frequent presence, have dubbed him the Cardona mascot!

This weekend, the L1s commenced on Sunday for the few re-taking the test or taking it for the first time, with results to be announced on Wednesday evening.  The L2s then commence on Saturday 10 September for the skiers and Tuesday 13 for the boarders, with results to be known early next Saturday evening - just hours before the group embarks on an early morning departure for Christchurch and the long haul to Heathrow.  Keep your fingers crossed for them all – they’ve worked really hard.

There are some great photos from this week after Jamie took Phil’s camera up for a ride on Friday.  In addition, we’re taking you on a tour of the township of Wanaka so you can be more familiar with the places we regularly visit and the beautiful scenery that surrounds us each day.  We’ve included a photo of the road up to Cardrona, taken from the Snow Farm, the cross-country ski venue, which is located on the other side of the valley.  It gives you some idea of the steep ascent the group makes in the bus each and every weekday.  Since the photo was taken, the storms last Tuesday brought the snow all the way down to the main road but the snowline has risen back up the hill again.  Even so, there’s a mass of snow and things are looking good for our final weeks here.

The weekend was fairly quiet after such a big week of skiing and riding on the new snow.  Fraser, Mike and Adam P headed all the way down to Milford Sound on Sunday - and struck good weather in a place where it rains about 360 days of the year!  Quite a few of the others enjoyed a leisurely lakeside picnic back in Wanaka that day and we capped the week off with our final meal at Amigos.  Check it all out at the link below:

Photos from Week 8

We have been trying to get the guys to think about how they are going to get all their gear home.  Any facing a baggage challenge have been given the option of taking one extra bag weighing up to 23kg on the flight (NZ$250) or shipping an extra bag/box up to 40kg in weight (NZ$220), but it’s proving a long and complex choice between the two!  Some progress is finally being made through conversations about sharing bags and boxes but time for us to get the sea freight option arranged is fast running out.

That’s our news for the week.  When we are next in touch, the L1s will be over and the L2s underway in the final week of our stay.  Hard to believe it’s gone so fast. 

Best regards

Marion and Jamie


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