It has begun! The students have landed! SnowSkool has hit Wanaka!  Welcome to the first round of news from SnowSkool New Zealand 2015. It’s been a great first week here in Wanaka with everyone arriving, getting to know each other and stepping right into training, with some great days up on the hill.  Some of the Skoolers such as Luke, Rex and Josh had already been in town for a few days / weeks / months but Saturday was the day everybody officially arrived and checked into the accommodation at Belvedere. Some had just a short hop across The Ditch from Australia while others travelled for ten times as long –over 40 hours! – but they all finally made it. And this year, so did their luggage! Yay!   Check out the photos below for an inside peek into what we've been up to in this our first week in the Land of the Long White Cloud ...


CLICK HERE for the pics to open up in a separate window if the technology gods are frowning on you today.
Our first evening together on Saturday was spent getting to know each other over a few (14!) large pizzas. Olivia Richard and Alex were please to arrive just in time before it all got demolished!
After everyone had had some sleep and fought off the jet lag as much as possible it was time to head to the Cardrona ITC (Intensive Training Centre) welcome meeting and meet Yoyo, the course conductor, for our first feel of what lay ahead for the next 10 weeks. The highlight of the day for many (especially for we course hosts who had a great time watching) was without doubt the gym session. We all headed up to Proactive Gym to have a chat about how important fitness, nutrition and generally looking after yourself is during a course, as well as during your career as a ski or snowboard instructor. Arthur was definitely the class clown and had everyone laughing even if they were struggling to manage a sit up at the same time. Mike, Richard and Nicola picked up some info about possibly joining the gym, although whether they felt the same when they woke up in the morning after that session remains unclear!
On Sunday, everyone had the opportunity to get their equipment sorted and buy any boots, skis or boards they needed. Richard and Richard (try and stick with us – if you hadn’t worked it out, there are lots of Richards and Alex’s on this course) both decided to demo some skis on the Monday to work out what they fancied for the course duration. Sunday ended with the first of many dinners in Relishes, our regular dinner venue, and everyone was pretty stoked with the food, especially when dessert was rolled out! A few drinks with the trainers from Cardrona ended the evening nicely and set up the next day perfectly for our first expedition up the hill. 
The bus picked everyone up at 7.15am. Nerves always emerge on the very first day as everyone wonders how they’ll stack up … or whether the might just plain stack!  But there’s something that always takes the Skoolers’ minds off this – their first experience of the Cardrona access road. For those of you who have never skied in NZ, it is a completely different experience and one which you should ask the Skoolers for details.  Be prepared for stories about steeping and winding dirt roads without any barriers … and many a sheep running ahead of you if the road is clear of snow.
Once up the mountain everyone was welcomed by some pretty sweet weather. The skiers had their trainers Ben, Sem and Jiri waiting for them and Sam and Leo were there to meet the snowboaders. Training for this week was focused on getting to know the mountain, getting to know the trainers and starting to work on personal technique. Everyone was encouraged to try new things and to start experimenting with different ways of doing things. Everyone got to watch their own riding back on video to see how they really look and also to have something to compare to in 10 weeks time!
We were busy in the evenings as well as this week with Tuesday night involving a visit to Base, a shop in town that closed its doors to the public and supplied us with beer. Always a good thing! Mike took his board and bindings in to get looked at but managed to forget the bolts that hold it all together. Luckily the Base team was on hand to help him out.  The guys got to see and use the equipment to help them learn how to care for their equipment. On Thursday everyone headed to Woody’s, a bar in town with a free pool comp.  And after a windy day on the hill on Friday the guys cooked up a storm, serving fajitas in Apartment 108 before heading out for some well-earned end-of-the-week drinks. 
Unfortunately this week we did have a few injuries but luckily nothing serious! Aden managed to pull off a trick none of the other guys want to learn – the 270 to face plant! After scaring everybody by being taken down the hill in an ambulance and full neck brace with back board, the x-rays gave him the all-clear. Apart from losing a lot of the skin on his face and a pretty stiff neck, he is all good to go. 
The weather decided not to play ball for our first weekend in Wanaka. Frisbee golf was rained off and postponed, and after following some interesting directions from Aden the guys realised that the only kind of bowling found in Wanaka is lawn bowls. Not quite what they were looking for after wandering around in the rain! Luckily, things improved on Sunday and everyone headed down to the local trampoline club to practice some of those spins and grabs.
Sunday evening was spent as all good Sunday evenings should be – watching a film. Everyone headed down to Cinema Paradiso to watch Ted 2, sitting in some comfy sofas and eating freshly baked cookies at the interval. Yes ... interval.  Part of this whacky cinema’s charm – the seating features all sorts of random sofas plus an old VW beetle with the roof cut off and somewhere about half way through when it seems like an appropriat emoment, the pause button is hit so everyone can go out for food and beverages and bring it back in to enjoy in the second half.  The Kiwis know how to enjoy themselves - the interval snacks cann be pre-ordered before the film so they are ready and waiting for you at intermission. Old school but effective and very welcome!
Luckily there are some exciting activities planned for next week ... did someone say paintball?!
The last thing to do this week is to welcome our newest SnowSkooler, Arty, who arrived exactly a week later than everyone else after apparently taking a detour to Argentina?! It’s good to have you mate we look forward to you joining us in what we hope is another awesome week!
We’ll be back in touch next week with more new from beautiful Wanaka.
Cheers dears
SnowSkool Liz and SnowSkool Clark
Course Hosts – SnowSkool NZ 2015
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