Sunday, August 14, 2011

Queenstown Snow Skiing goes off

Queenstown snow skiing season continues to goes off with another big fall to lake level in the district. In fact the whole of New Zealand appears to have been buried in drifts of snow like scenes straight out of the Northern hemisphere.......very unusual to see anything like this here!

Snow in the valley forced many schools to be shut and roads all around NZ were either closed or required chains and all the while the snow has continued to fall and is likely to for the rest of the day and tonight.

Skiing Coronet Peak was great today even in the very poor visibility. This was due to the absolutely great snow, 30cms of squeaky white stuff. A bit wind effected in places and some runs you really wanted to keep your wits about you as big drifts would be well camouflaged and could easily sneak up on you while you weren't looking.

Ski Tip: In these sorts of conditions you really want to keep your skis turning, if you don't you get caught hanging out the washing bewteen turns and end up with the sheet in your face because you don't know what is up nor down. Keeping a continuous steering effort going means that your mass is automatically pulled to the outside of each turn and you have a stronger sense of balance over your skis, then it's just a small matter of keeping your feet under you as the snow gets deeper or shallower.

It's still snowing here hard out and hasn't's likely we could wake up tomorrow with another 20 - 40cms of snow. More shoveling to keep the porch free and most importantly some great turns to be had as conditions look set to clear up around early afternoon tomorrow are on the books for me.

Now is a great time to book some private ski lessons to maximize the conditions, learn to ski the powder snow better and jump the lift lines to your hearts content .

Oh and for the racer in you and here's some footage of the US ski team training at Coronet Peak last week

Friday, August 5, 2011

Snow for Queenstown coming

Snow for Queenstown is coming later today with falls expected to 300m. We have had several snow storms drop snow to low levels in Queenstown over the last few weeks and the skiing at Coronet Peak has been really good. With more snow on the way it will be a nice and timely top up for us again. August is often a good month for snow and there are signs that this might be the case again this year.

I have finally got over skiing around looking like a cannon ball in a cheap helmet and have got a Salomon Patrol Custom Air which is by far and away the most comfortable lid I have ever worn. It has a peak to reduce sun and help stop any precip gathering on the top of the goggles but by far and away the best thing is that after you put it on there is a small air pump you push a few times to customize the fit to your noggin and it's bloody brilliant. I will actually wear my helmet on a regular basis and not just for when I an teaching kids. If you are in the market for a new lid these Salomon helmets are well worth checking out.

Helmets can be funny things, often people when they first start wearing one feel quite invincible and ski or ride a bit harder than normal, remember the helmet is only wrapped around your skull it's not like you have a sumo suit on! I seen the benefit of helmets in reducing the noise effect other skiers or riders create skidding around making what once was a very tentative person scared about being taken out become more relaxed on the slope and making better turns just through being less worried. Dampening sound may be a good thing for some people but I am not a keen fan of drowning the sounds out by listening to music as you ski/ride, all for it as you ride the lift but while riding you are missing out on some really good sensory feedback. I really like to hear what is happening around me and also like to hear clearly the sound the snow is making under my skis which helps me make important decisions about how to best ski the terrain and the snow conditions as it changes over the course of each run.

Ski Tip: If the snow is hard get your feet hip width apart this will give you good stability. If the snow is deep and soft get your feet closer together so they are acting as one unit and will not drift apart making it easier to guide them thru the deep stuff.

Oh and read the snow responsibility code and then adhere to it......I see far to many close calls and accidents created by muppets failing do simple things like stopping in a place you can be seen on the edge of a run or even the most basic of things looking before you ski off to check the would do that in your car so why not do it when you ski or ride!

Lets hope that the snow gods deliver and the skiing at Coronet Peak Queenstown is awesome over the next month.

Remember to book in with me for your private skiing lessons when you come to Queenstown

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Skiing Coronet Peak after the storm.

Skiing Coronet Peak after the epic storm that lashed NZ for 2 weeks is just awesome. It's not just Coronet Peak everywhere is loaded with snow.

That's the view looking back into Queesntown from Coronet Peak so it should give you a good idea how much has fallen. Heaps of locals have been getting the cheapest heli skiing runs in Queenstown skiing or snowboarding Mt Dewar which is on the right hand side as you are driving up the Coronet Peak road but on the Queenstown side of the Skippers road, just out of shot to the left of the pic above yeah sure they have to do the hard yards but a well organised crew can really make the most out of this rare event! Make sure to check out the new NZ Avalanche Centre website before you head out into the back country....... and have all the right gear!

I have just had the pleasure this weekend to ski with my lovely wife for the first time in 2 years over the last 2 mornings. You know work, kids, etc etc. With the current awesome snow conditions we have had a blast ripping around Coronet Peak and enjoyed some leisurely time over at the T-Bar enjoying the delights of Heidi's Hut, coffee and pain au chocolate and watching others enjoy a wee tipple of grappa to warm up. It's great to see today that NZSKI is right on top of the queing system at the T-Bar and making sure that people are riding as two's. Riding as two's really helps the queue stay on the small side. Look if you can't ride a T-Bar with someone else on it get a private lesson and specify that is something you want to learn to do . If you still want to ride single go find a poma!

These last couple of days have given me the chance to start seriously testing my Salomon skis out. The Tornado Ti's in a 180cm length really love to be opened up and firing around at GS speeds on the chalky snow has been great, super stable and wicked edge grip thru the turn radius...basically they want it! Cranking out ripping short radius turns takes a lot more work on this length of ski but I have found that they are more than capable to do so but don't let them get away on you! They even love off piste and now that Coronet Peak is all skied out of powder they are happy to eat up the chalky compressed off piste snow at speed.

Salomon are doing demo days up at Coronet Peak so if you are there 2moro (Mon) be sure to check out the wicked range of skis they have. Ask Neil to hook you up with a ski that suits your style and take it for a few runs.....they will blow you away. Don't forget to head into R&R Sports in Queenstown if you miss out on seeing Neil on the snow at the peak....they will have some you can demo for a day.

My personal favorite ski was the Salomon Enduro XT 850. This is one powerful beast of an all mountain ski, it's not there to drift around, this ski needs a skier to stand on it and take charge....those with the skill and bravery to do so will find this the most epic ski they have ridden. Sounds a little too much for you then try one of the other Enduro models as they are a bit more forgiving. Remember talk to Neil from Salomon when you see the Salomon flags up at your local ski area and he will take the time to hook you into the right ski for you and the way you like to ride. Here he is doing some work this morning at Coronet Peak.
My parting note today is my ski tip: make sure your bindings are set appropriately..... yesterday I was getting a bit carried away with my new Salomon skis and their wicked ability to keep wanting more and all of a sudden found myself flying superman style thru the air followed by several cartwheels and lots of hoots and hollers coming of the chairlift from the spectators to my epic high speed double pre-release. This would be the best " Smashed him Bro" I have done in about 5 yrs. Needless to say my din settings were smartly altered and I have experienced no similar embarrassing issues since! I guess any massive smash that you can walk away from and there is nothing busted with you or your equipment is all good!

Remember if you want to get the most out of that new gear you bought for this season book some private ski lessons with me when you come on your Queenstown ski holiday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Snow, snow and more snow for Queenstown

Snow, snow and more snow for Queenstown. It was a famine and now the proverbial feast. We have had a very deep low parked up just south of the country firing front after front during this storm cycle which has lasted nearly 2 weeks now. Each front has had plenty of moisture and combined with the cold temps has dropped lots of snow to low levels. Coronet Peak has picked up 65 cms so far and will get quite a bit more over the next 3 days or so. This has taken Coronet Peak from zero to hero and now the whole mountain is pretty well ski-able.

As the wind during this storm cycle has been predominantly from the NW Greengates has seen less snow accumulate especially on the ridge lines but anything in the gullies and skiers left of the Greengates chair is skiing very well. Late yesterday afternoon we had a small 2 hour clearance and the skiing was unbelievable off the Quad and through Exchange and the T-Bar, actually everywhere. The snow that has fallen has been quite light and dry although very wind affected so the avalanche danger is high and back country skiing is not recommended at present --- don't go!

I decided to get on my new Salomon skis yesterday has the snow conditions have improved so much from a week ago. Over the last few years I have decided I like ride an all mountain style ski to deal with any conditions I come across and still be able to rip some wicked on piste turns as well as being a ski I can stand on comfortably all day while teaching and the Salomon All Mountain ski range has certainly lived up to and exceed my expectations. They are really starting to come into their own and I would highly recommend demoing some thru your ski shop. The crew at R&R Sport in Queenstown will listen to your needs and requirements in a ski and direct you to the one that will suit best.

Ski tip: Skiing on piste or where the snow is firmer keep your stance hip width apart. If you are in the powder narrow your stance.

Remember to book me for your private ski lessons at Coronet Peak. See you in the powder!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Snow for Coronet Peak Queenstown

Snow for Coronet Peak has finally arrived with a major shift in the weather patterns. Coronet Peak picked up a quick 10 cms last night and with more in the forecast over the next 5 days and cold temps to make snow more and more terrain will open up.

Its been pretty busy on the slopes and booking your private ski lessons in advance is a good idea to make sure you you secure the instructor you want. Book Here

Ski tip: remember you have ankles. Don't let those stiff ski boots get in the way of flexing the ankle joint. For the first run off the day try unbuckling the top clips and ski feeling for the ankle to bend.....keep the pressure even along the length of the foot. Do them up and look for the same feelings.

See you on the snow at Coronet Peak soon