My wee bro is over visiting at the moment so we thought that we should take advantage of the southern Hemisphere’s winter weather and hit the snow in NZ.
We stayed in the main resort of Queenstown in the south island - very different to European resorts – for a start there’s no snow on the streets and the closest mountains are at least 45 mins drive away - but once you’ve worked out how to fit snow-chains half-way up a mountain in a blizzard you’ll be right. Alternatively you could pay someone 10 bucks to fit them, my bro was having none of this (macho type) so after a dirty and cold attempt he soon mastered it and could fit a chain in 60 seconds (we could have left him there to start his own snow chain fitting company he got sooo good at it).
Driving up the tiny winding roads to the mountains are half the fun, cars are bumper to bumper and the views (if your stomach can handle it) are great.
1000ft drops with no safety fence and gravel roads make the extra 20 bucks a day for a 4 wheel drive seem well worth the money.
By far the best thing I did during my time in Queenstown was take part in a girls’ only park course. We were thrown off cliffs, dragged to the halfpipe and tempted onto some baby-sized rails by our inspiring coaches. I felt that I progressed more on this day than any other on my trip. Riding with a group of girls of a similar skill level helped increase my confidence and pushed me past my comfort zone.
A lot of people say New Zealand is very similar to Scotland and weather wise – they’re right – the conditions change from blizzard to blue sky and back again in hours. The ski stations are small and hard to get to, but the experience of driving to somewhere new every morning and hiking to access more terrain, makes it a bit of an adventure everyday. If you don’t feel like hiking, the standard of park at each station is brilliant with well maintained, challenging and ever changing jumps, rails and boxes for me to fall off. Thank god for impact shorts!