Snow and more snow

Wanaka Travel Blog

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Learning on the kiddie slope... baby steps, all first steps are baby steps :)
There's basically only one thing to do here and it involves snow. OK so there's two things, Skiing AND snowboarding. On the roads out of Wanaka town there are even a sort of busstops where kids line up for a ride to one of the ski areas.
My first plan was actually to do a skydive above the lake here but there was so much cloud cover they kept cancelling the flights. So I went to check out the Fighter Pilot museum nearby which was pretty nice. Quite amazing the amount of Kiwi's who thought it necessary to sign up during WWII and go to England to fight, proportionally NZ contributed the most soldiers of all the British Commonwealth. I guess that testifies how close that bond was (and still is I suppose) despite the geographical distance.
The Polikarpov I-16 in maintenance, I think famous because it was the 1st all metal monoplane.
For reasons I can't fathom they also had a few Polikarpov I-16, weird chubby Soviet fighterplanes that were a treat for a WWII geek like me (you can notice it because suddenly I start inserting links to wikipedia and history sites, check my entry about Coron). All the military hardware got me in the mood to do some shooting and as the next skydive was cancelled as well I headed over to the shooting range. Had a ball with a tiny .22 rifle on the range there, the bullets are the size of pills but I always find it great to shoot real guns, something that's practically impossible in Holland (even airsoft guns are banned there). 
So the hostel was full of people lugging snowboards around (for some reason there's tons of the more independent kind of Japanese youngsters here) and I realised that when in Rome.
Shooting at the indoor range
..  you go to a mountain and get a snowboarding lesson. I went up to Cardrona (Mt McDougal) for my first real taste of snow sports (I don't count that awkward company outing when I did indoor skiing in Holland). And it's fun! I did 2 days and on the second day I could go down the green track without turning into a huge snowball. But I did bang my head so often I decided against a 3rd day, I figured a concussion was not too far away. When you get those turns wrong with your back facing downhill, eh, well snow can hurt quite a bit then: I can definetely recommend a helmet to any newbie like me who tries this for the first time.
Another exciting part of snowboarding is actually getting up to the ski field with your car. I've never been in the Alps in Europe so I don't know how it's there but I'm pretty sure it's nothing at all like this. You put snow chains on your car allright here but still you need to claw your way up a few kilometers of frozen muddy hairpins with gravel and no guard rails whatsoever. People have died here for sure. While going up I saw a 4WD coming down and breaking too hard in the hairpin. He slipped, did a 180 degree flip and almost went backwards over the edge. That stopped my heart for a second... and made me drive really slowly in my 2WD rental...
shirlan says:
The roads are definately scary, especially after it has rained for a few days. We were in Cardrona 25th/26th August.
Posted on: Oct 01, 2008
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Learning on the kiddie slope... ba…
Learning on the kiddie slope... b…
The Polikarpov I-16 in maintenance…
The Polikarpov I-16 in maintenanc…
Shooting at the indoor range
Shooting at the indoor range
NZ Fighter Pilot Museum: a World W…
NZ Fighter Pilot Museum: a World …
Not that easy to hang on to one of…
Not that easy to hang on to one o…
Waiting for the instructor
Waiting for the instructor
People going down Mt McDougal
People going down Mt McDougal
The nasty side of WWII: SS dagger …
The nasty side of WWII: SS dagger…
Wanaka
photo by: Koralifix