The blog is evolving!

Stay tuned for new features including journey maps, some missing posts, linked photo albums, minor tweaks and ultimately... the earlier trips...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The big questions...

So... how was it?

Pretty damn good. John enjoyed himself even if his bum was a bit tender. Wa saw a bit of Pete and Nichole as they came through and I hung out with Dave a bit including another stellar day at TC.

Where'd you get to?

View 2008 - Queenstown, NZ - Ski Trip in a larger map

Any good pics?

Queenstown, NZ - 2008

And some time-lapse?

I only took one time-lapse this time round and froze in doing so. I think it turned out alright in the end. Probably could have allowed it to go longer but oh well, next time...

Queenstown from the Peak

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 9 - NZ

John says...

Commentary to come...

Cookie says...

Commentary to come...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 8 - NZ

John says...
Today I was super soft. It was the last day I could have gone skiing and I didn't and after seeing the blue sky, I sort of wish I had. Instead we did some sightseeing, we walked around Arrowtown and saw some people jump off a bridge at the bungy spot. I found the bridge, that was built in 1880, incredibly interesting considering it's construction and building technology of the time.

One night left and then we're homeward bound. Holiday over and back to the real world... doh!

Cookie says...
I was hoping Dave might have been up for Cardies today but he played golf instead. We slept in bit it and turned out it was quite a nice day so we should have hit the slopes one more time but it was probably a good thing to be able to rest.

We headed out to Arrowtown and had a bit of a look and then checked out the Kawarau Bridge where AJ Hackett started their bungy opperations. A bit more driving through the mountains and then back to the unit.

Photos to come...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Day 7 - NZ

John says...
I went to the Remarkables while Cookie went with Dave to Treble Cone. Take a windy dirt road, wrap it around a mountain, hold back on the use of guardrail and make it wet slippery at the top and that's the road to the ski field. Remarks carcark is as high as the peak at Coronet and it really does feel like you're on the top of the world and when you look around, everything is covered in snow. It was a great day, the only thing to take the edge of it was my unintentional attempt to cartwheel down one of the runs.

Cookie says...
Dave picked me up around 7.30 and we were gone. It's a bit of a hike from QT over the crown range to Wanaka where we picked up some goodies and then we continued to Treble Cone past some amazing scenery. Once at TC we got into our gear, bought a day pass and headed up the hill. First run started on some nice stuff then we found the hardest snow / ice I've ever ridden over. We cut our losses and headed over to the saddle basin where we had some fun runs.

We knew that Hollywood Bowl was beckoning however it was on hold as they were waiting for a chopper to lift an injured skier out of there so we hit a few more runs.

TC has some incredible terrain like Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl finally opened and we were the first through the gate. We gunned it to the bowl and while Dave perched himself to video my run. Silly me went the wrong side of a ridge from where Dave was recording but it was the best snow I've rode on aside from Whistler. The only sucky part is the walk out at the other end. It was around lunch so we did a few drops and jumps and then some back country to get to the car for a short break.

Dave dropping into a run

Mikey, I've found a replacement photographer

This bird will chew your tyres, windscreen wiper blades
or in our case, steal your aerial

There wasn't too much of the day left so instead of heading to the saddle again, we hung around on the main side for a bit of fun and photos / video. A few runs later and we're packing up and starting the long drive back. Turned out John was still in one piece after three hours at Remarks.

For the LotR trainspotters, this waterfall is in the movies

John had been talking about KFC for the last few days so we went there for dinner. Dave came over later to check out the photos and video.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Day 6 - NZ

John says...
Cruisy morning with Pete and Nichole meeting us at the unit and then ducking into town for some souviner shopping followed by lunch at The Cow. We came back and played a few hands of five hundred. We saw Pete and Nichole off and Cookie headed into town while I did some reading and watched TV. Afterwards we met up with Cookie's mate Dave for a few beers and a feed.

Nichole loved the freshly cooked garlic bread and Pete's always smiling anyway

Cookie says...
Bit of a laid back day today. Pete and Nichole would leave this afternoon so we kicked around town a little and stopped to have lunch at The Cow. Once fed we headed back to the unit to continue the five hundred game we started last night. It was one game a piece when Nichole and Pete left for Te Anau.

Inside The Cow

I took the chance to update the blog and sus out aother time-lapse spot. Headed back to the unit to see John otherwise occupied.

John busy back bashing

We met up with Dave and I finally bought a softshell that I said I'd buy that tonight for the last week. Better late than never. Anyway, we decided to head to Monthy's for dinner and a few beers. Two mates of Dave, Matt (art designer for a NZ surf magazine) and Stacey (national Oakley rep) joined us.

Dave and I decided to hit TC tomorrow and John is off to Remarks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 5 - NZ

John says...
Giant step today. I went for my first blue run and went from the top of the mountain to the bottom. I felt inadequate when compared to the Pete's due to their ability to consume large quantites of food at a buffet, especially when time limits apply. The view is amazing from the lookout.

John enjoying both scenery and boarding

Nichole says...
After a whole day of skiing (with numerous intermittent breaks) at last I did the snow plow (on a slope that's not even considered part of the beginners slope). I discovered that it is extremely difficult to get myself up when lying face down and wearing skis with my legs jutting out at impossible angles.

What a gentleman!

Quote of the day came from an instructor 'You can stand up!'

And my guns are getting big!

Pete says...
Skiing was todays highlight. Need I say more! Actually, I can. It was great to see Nichole get the snow plow working).

Skyline buffet I don't rate it as the best but it was pretty good. There was alot to chose from including the following;

Tomato soup with croutons
Indian lentils
Roast lamb, roast beef, pumpkin, carrot, peas, potato bake, broccoli, cauliflower
Nichole's extras was lamb shank and a little seafood
Indian chicken thing, a thing of rice, fetta chicken thing, more pumpkin, roast potato, more potato bake, marinated pork
Potato and herb soup with croutons
A small plate of cheeses
Sticky date pudding, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, jelly fruits, hokey pokey ice cream, chocolate ice cream and a dodgy cake thing

Pete heard we had one minute left so loaded up

After dessert we went to the viewing platform where after three seconds Nichole promptly retreated to the warmth inside.

Cookie says...
We did our own thing yesterday but today we all headed to Coronet. Bit of a late start and we booked in for the buffet for dinner up the lookout. Once at the base John and I did our own things while Pete and Nichole grabbed some gear and headed to the beginners area. Today I started looking for some black runs and parts of the hill I hadn't been to instead of jumps and stuff.

I ended up finding the others around lunch to see how they were doing and they were sitting with a guy from Albany Creek who's brother turns up and recognised Nichole from school and knew common people. I took the chance to shed a layer as it was warm and we all headed back out so I could get some photos of the others. I eventually convinced John and Pete to get away from the baby slopes and try their hand at the main run. They thoroughly enjoyed it and looked quite able. It was nearing final lift and it had turned quite slushy so after a last run, I found the others and bailed.

I managed to trick Pete into trying the chairlift

Pete and Nichole found another trailer park to stay in, showered (in lukewarm water which Nic didn't find nice in a cold environment!) and we met up for the buffet. There was a pretty good selection of foods so Pete and I had several plateloads each.

Afterwards we came back to the unit to play five hundred and when it was getting late Peter started talking gibberish and Nichole started quoting Pride and Prejudice whilst big noting her guns.

Rain / snow expected tomorrow so a day off to rest before fresh conditions on Sat / Sun with Dave.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Day 4 - NZ

John says...
I turned into a tourist today. Cookie went off and did some more boarding so I walked around and took photos with Pete then met Nichole for lunch after she slept in. Tried some $15 steak which turned out to be an overcooked steakette. Afterwards we decided to try some Shotover Jetboating. It was good fun but as I ride bikes, it wasn't as exciting as others would find. It felt more like snowboarding when you're sliding around.

I jumped on the shuttle back to town and Pete and Nichole went to do the swing thing. My gloves are a little tight with wearing Cookie's wrist guards and one has split so thought I'd find some new ones. Chatted to some guy waxing boards and headed home.

Cookie came home and we waited for the others to return. Once they had showered we walked into town for dinner. I wasn't too interested in pizza and wanted to try something else. We went to an Indian place which had odd taste in music for an Indian restaurant, it was mainly movie and TV show theme music. Ordered the old faithful butter chicken and it was good. Went home to a nice warm unit.

Nichole says...
I politely declined Cookie and John's invitation for a 7.30 breakfast and decided to sleep in. It was well needed sleep. The shotover was good but it froze my face. I have yet to see it snow.

Nichole after half a week in a campervan

Pete says...
The highlight of this day was that I did the giant canyon swing. Here are the stats; 60m freefall, 109m deep gorge, 150kph = the most incredible rush I've ever had. I even had Billy Idol's Rebel Yell and a Leyton Hewitt 'C'mon' pumping me up!

There's a hill between town and the unit which Nic needed some help with

Cookie says...
Late start this morning as Pete was coming over while Nic slept-in back at the campervan. Bit of a day of people doing their own thing. Nic had some alone time while Pete and John cruised around town. I headed up the hill but this time to Remarks. Unfortunately this prawn left his memory in the computer so no photos or video today.

It was another beautifully clear day and while sitting on the chair I was contemplating all the important things in life like which runs do I warm up on? Should I try the jumps here? That whole face looks like fun but would require a fair bit of walking. Decided to keep the walking for later and ended up spending the day on the jumps. I was pretty happy with my effort. I think I stacked it about three times on the run of three jumps in the terrain park after going through there about 15+ times. After the jumps I'd either fang it to the lift or pick a run where I could get some turns in.

The light started to go flat so I finished up with a few quick runs and made it back to QT. Picked up a Brazilian hitcher called Sabrina in the carpark and dropped her off in town. Her background was research and hospitality however her current job was labouring which she has found gave the best income and flexibility for hitting the snow.

I found John lazing around the unit and we were waiting for Pete and Nic. They arrived, showered and we hoofed it into town for dinner. I showed them The Cow and Winnies which they liked the look of but we ended up at an Indian place.

They are joining us for Coronet tomorrow so should be fun.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 3 - NZ

John says...
Today was absolutely gorgeous, you just couldn't have asked for a better day and I had a coupla good runs without falling over. I can see why people who don't fall over enjoy snowboarding. I'm happy that I'm improving and the only thing is that I'm sore in different spots now but apparently that's good because it means I'm doing something right.

This is just part of the amazing views from Coronet Peak

And while Cookie chose to sit in the freezing cold for a few hours (weirdo), I vegged out in the warm unit. Looking forward to some Thai tonight.

Cookie says...
I'd have to say that today was probably the best conditions I've had while on the snow in NZ. John was sore from yesterday but he ventured out again and was happy for me to shoot through. Greengates was the lift I hung around and managed to meet three med interns from Perth on a 'conference' - study leave for snowboarding.

It's a big mountain with big views

After they went in for lunch I stayed out and tried my hand at hitting a few jumps and thankfully they didn't hit me back. Found out that not only does a powder skirt keep snow out, it keeps your camera in. I thought I'd lost it to find it swimming around inside my jacket!

And in keeping with last trip, we found another car in the ditch

After returning to the unit, John stayed in while I froze my bum off with capturing some time-lapse of Queenstown from the lookout above the town. It should look good but apart from the boarding, I'm over the cold and looking forward to summer! Pete and Nichole arrive late tonight so we'll catch up with them tomorrow.

I froze capturing this so I hope it was worth it!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 2 - NZ

John says...
Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch... who'd have thought bruises on bruises were possible! I had some success but as you can tell, it came at a cost.

This is the position I became all too familiar with

A late lunch became a pilgrimage to Furgburger

Cookie says...
In the famous words of Warren Miller 'It's time to get our swerve on.'. So we did... kinda. We headed to Coronet Peak, kitted up, grabbed our half price tickets (due to having a Warren Miller movie ticket) and hit the snow... at least John did... multiple times. Fortunately for him the clouds came in so we bailed shortly after 1.

The view from Greengates over the road towards QT

Dave had flown down that morning so we met him around dinner for an ale in The Pig n' Whistle. Soon we left and made our way to The Cow. The Cow is another of Queenstowns' iconic establishments and one that I've not visited due to it always being busy. Dave also gently informed us that it is currently Gay Ski Week. I guess that explains the grins the landlords gave us when we checked in.

Even our car knew about Gay Ski Week!

After two pizzas, eleven beers and the biggest and best loaf of freshly cooked garlic bread I've ever eaten, we parted company to rest for our second day on the hill.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day 1 - NZ

John says...

I just love plane flights (NOT!) and as we draw closer to Queenstown the good news came over the PA that we would be in a holding pattern with two other planes waiting to land. The kicker was that if we couldn't land Christchurch was our next stop, Arhhh!! Noooo! All good though we made it to Queenstown and things went pretty smoothly.

I got snowed on, yay!! One aim on the trip down on day one, what a great star to the trip.
Just a point of note as well. I'm all for carb loading for a big day on the slopes and I must clarify that I do like noodles but Cookie takes it to a whole an other level.

This is what a mortgage makes you eat!

Cookie says...

'I see sheeps!' yells a kid on the plane just minutes from land earning a cabin full of laughter. Yup, you guessed it, we're back in NZ. Three major changes to this years lineup. John steps up to fill Mikey's (small) shoes, Pete and Nichole are hooning around the island in a campervan and the volume of snow. Here's a photo just to give some context.

Not much snow... alot of snow...

Team photo - John, Kylie... oh that's right, she piked... and yours truely

So, I guess this trip has started out pretty good all things considered. Last night we booked a maxi-taxi but they sent a Falcon sedan. We couldn't make the snowboard bag fit so they sent a maxi-taxi. The check-in queue was big but kept moving along with the customs queue which was huge but it was alright. Then once in the air we're told that QT airport was closed in the morning meaning that we could be landing in Christchurch.

But after two tuff laps in the holding pattern we land, sneak through customs, pick up the car and check into our accommodation. After a little grocery shopping we hoof it around town and John finds some goggles. John was keen on a simple meal so some fush 'n chups was required. He liked his fush n' chups and I thought the salmon was pretty good after being washed down with some local brews.

After having fush n' chups for dinner we're back in the unit watching the olympics, setting up our snowboards and we've discovered that our main heater does not work. I guess this means we might end up having to spoon in the double bed to keep warm (sorry Julz).

Tomorrow: snowtime!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Queenstown '08

Another year, another trip (and another late post). Hmm... that makes this is a post pre post post. I'm sure that would be a paradox in the Star Trek universe...

This year John March is joining me and for the first time, he shall be trying a snowboard. Also, Nichole and Pete will be within cooee so looking forward to hanging out with them when possible. Dave is in town so I can't wait to catch up with him and see what gnarly terrain we can find.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the read as much as we'll enjoy the trip.