By my reckoning, there’s a good chance I’ve skied over 20,000 miles in my life. Yet, that feeling of pushing down my binding tabs, stepping onto my gliding ski, and picking up momentum during those first few seconds of every ski has and will never lose its magic. I was thinking about that the other day as we stepped outside for our first ski in New Zealand this year.
Anyone who has ever flown to the southern hemisphere, especially from the east coast, knows what 30 hours of travel feels like. They know that feeling in their stomach of having too many chicken and pasta tray lunches with some iceberg lettuce and a piece of chocolate cake on the side, or the way that all your clothes start to smell like the seat you’ve had your butt planted in for the last 13 hours. They know the feeling of feeling totally awake and spry and then 3 minutes later feeling like they couldn’t keep their eyes open if their life depended on it, all for absolutely no reason other than the fact that you’ve confused the hell out of your brain and body. But plopping yourself into the middle of winter in July, putting on layers upon layers of training clothes to defend yourself from the biting wind, and scraping off the travel wax that has been coated on your skis in your garage for the last 3 months, well, all of that brings you back to life.
As a full time ski racer, it’s incredibly important that we get a fair amount of summer training volume in on our real skis, on real snow. Whether it’s on a glacier in Alaska or Europe, or in the southern hemisphere, we’ve recognized the value of getting off the roller skis in July and August. New Zealand is by far my favorite camp of the year. Quite literally, you open up the backdoor of the Snow Farm Lodge and step onto the perfectly groomed tracks every morning. When conditions are good, as they are this year, there’s close to 40 kilometers of skiing on incredibly fun and playful rolling terrain.
When you come back in from your 4-hour morning ski, you always have a hot shower and a warm homemade meal waiting for you. And because it’s pitch black from 5 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., you sleep like a rock from night one. It’s an incredible place to put in a few 30-hour weeks in a row, and I always look forward to coming back here year after year. So we’ll be around these parts until late July before we come home for a small window of recovery and then hit the road to Norway in mid-August. We’re bummed that we won’t be seeing the rest of our T2 compadres for a couple weeks, but we know they’re holding down the fort in Vermont and are going get some awesome training in at home while we’re away. We can’t wait to keep all of you guys up to speed with good photos and stories from down here, so check back in throughout these next couple weeks to see and hear about some ‘down undah’ adventures.