The past week has been super hectic but at the same time incredibly enjoyable because this time of year has two of my favorite things. 4th of July and skiing!!
As I’ve described in my blog before the 4th of July weekend is something the southern Vermont locals take pretty seriously to say the least. Since I live in the area and have a lot of buddies who are not involved in the skiing world it’s a perfect weekend to hang with them and chill. As it turns out this was the first week in I don’t know how many years when the 4th of July weekend actually fell on an easy training week for me. Incredible! It’s like all the stars were aligned and for the first time since probably 1987 I didn’t have any training scheduled on the actual 4th of July! and was able to take the whole day off and enjoy it with friends. It was a weekend filled with lots of BBQ’s, swimming, and catching up with friends who I don’t get to see very often.
Erika’s sister Nat came to visit us for the weekend which definitely added to the good times. It was cool to show some outsiders all of the fun, and admittedly weird, 4th of July traditions we have. One being attending all the small town gatherings and parades in the area. Landgrove has a great town singalong and potluck dinner which we try to hit up each year. It’s almost eerie how ‘small town America’ it is but that’s what makes it charming.
This particular 4th of July Saturday marked a huge milestone in my life, which was getting the chance to be in the Londonderry parade! I signed up our SMST2 team to be part of the small town festivities and we rolled and actually skied down the street in the parade throwing candy to kids. It’s hard to compete with the tractors and the wagon filled with the old person brass band, but we tried our best.
We might have trashed a few pairs of skis but I think it was worth it
Enjoying the tropical waters of the Stratton Snow making pond
Even with all the fireworks and festivities we were able to fit in some training during the weekend including some bounding intervals with the SMS kids and some easy training on Sunday. In General it was a great end to an easy week of training which was meant to help us rest up for the next few weeks of USST camp training in New Zealand!
Last summer we took the year off from flying down under so this time I was super stoked and excited to get back to NZ. This is a little bit earlier than we normally travel down for skiing but it snow conditions are perfect. On Wednesday we loaded up the vans at SMS and drove to the airport to start the epic 2 days of travel it takes to get here. It actually sounds a lot worse than it is and even though it’s a massive 13 hour flight from California to the North Island of NZ it doesn’t feel much worse than traveling to Europe.
After we arrive on the North Island in Aukland we catch another flight to the South Island and Queenstown. As you fly over the South Island the landscape is maybe the coolest I’ve ever seen. Amazing beaches with waves rolling in and green fields that lead into huge snow covered mountains.
Taking in the drive from Queenstown up 2 mountain passes to the Snow Farm. We were a little short of space with our team rental vans but got lucky because Steve, our long time friend and manager of the Snow Farm, flew in at the same time so a few of us caught a ride with him from the airport to the Farm.
Yo Steve, you’re driving on the wrong side of the car! It always takes a little bit to get used to that.
For the next 14 days we will be in full on training camp mode here at the Snow Farm. Right now they have a perfect 30 plus K’s of trails groomed and hopefully even more on the way. This really is the best place to train I have ever experienced with awesome skiing right out the door, mild winter temperatures, great food and lodging, and super fun trails. We will spend the next two weeks skiing big hours, working on technique, and even getting in a few time trials.
The first 3 days of training here we have had about the best conditions you can imagine with hard wax skiing all day long for classic and fresh cords on skate days. I think we are all a little bit sore at this point from kicking so hard the first few days. It always takes a little bit to adjust to the skiing muscles.
Even after traveling down here to train 10+ times I’m still amazed by the views, mountains, and terrain you get to experience skiing from the Snow Farm.
It’s a lot of hard work coming to a training camp like this but it’s also a lot of fun