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On form at Coronet Peak

On form at Coronet Peak

10 days to go

There are only 10 days to go until Coronet Peak in Queenstown New Zealand opens for the 2014 Southern Hemisphere ski season. Are you ready? Your can bet your ass we are!

Queenstown has been full of excitement over the last week with a very timely snow fall to lake level. 21cms fell in my back yard. Coronet Peak got a touch more and the Remarkables a whopping 50cms!

Ski Queenstown NZ

The Remarkables looking fat in May

Of course there is saying the snow in may never stays but they are pumping snow hard out on the runs at Coronet Peak and all is looking good for the scheduled opening date of June 7th.

Of course by now you have your skis and boards tuned and ready to rip. Your fitness regime has your body ready for those long days on the slopes. You probably have some new kit you are looking forward to use. Are you mentally ready?

Mentally ready you ask ….. WTF? As crazy as its sounds your first day/s on the slopes this season most people don’t slowly warm into the task at hand but expect to be ripping right where they left off last season. This is a recipe for frustration and/or injury. Take your time. get balanced. Work on drills to get balanced along the length of the skis. Better still get a private ski lesson to help speed up your pathway to being back on it.

Be aware of what can often be limited terrain and trails over the first few weeks … ski and ride appropriately….and be courteous to others skiers and boarders. Follow the Snow Responsibility Code

Also remember there are some really easy things you can do to make each day on the slope better … read one of my previous articles 11 Tips to Maximize Your Skiing Day

For good and accurate snow and weather for casting don’t forget to check out the Grasshopper at Mountain Watch

Here’s hoping for a great winter season, use the top 6 inches and have fun!

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New Terrain

New terrain is going to be lift accessible this coming 2014 season at the Remarkables …….. yehaa!

NZ Skiing Expeditions - Queenstown New Zealand

New Terrain at The Reamarkables

NZSKI has been busy implementing the first stage of a lot of development at the Remarkables over the next few years. The new Curvey Basin 1.2km, high speed, 6 seater chairlift able to move 2400 people per hour.

 A new trail map has been created for The Remarkables showing the line of the new lift and runs on the new terrain that can be accessed. Curvey Basin lift opens up a further 10.1 hectares of formed trails and together with increased off-piste opportunities, increases the ski area’s capacity by 40%.

New_Terrain_at_The_Remarkables

Along with the lift has been a massive amount of rock grooming and laying of pipes for snow making to ensure this new terrain is awesome for skiing. I am certainly looking forward to skiing with my family up at the Remarkables this year more than ever before.

Other good news is that the road to the Remarkables is being sealed with tarmac being placed on the lower 4 kms of road this summer and the rest will be done over the next couple of summers.

Improved air connectivity is set to make the Queenstown ski areas more accessible than ever this year – the number of trans-Tasman flights is up 25% on last winter, from an average of 40 a week last year to 50 this year.

The Remarkables scheduled opening is the 21st June 2014 ….. be here!

11 tips to maximise your skiing day

I am sitting here on a grey, rainy and unfortunately warm Queenstown winters day. Coronet Peak is closed for the day to let the snow pack drain. Good news is that the temps are supposed to lower and snow will fall again …. fingers crossed! So I got to thinking about  the upcoming invasion of skiers and snowboarders that are heading to Queenstown over next month or so and started wondering how they cope with the sudden onslaught to their bodies that skiing and snowboarding can do especially when most  only do it for a short period each winter.

It’s always interesting to see how skiers approach a big day on the mountain and also what happens to them during the course of the day as fatigue take its toll both mentally and physically. The skier who does not prepare well will get tired and their riding quality will  quickly degrade and the chances they will injure themselves will increase.

A lot about skiing in Queenstown (or anywhere) successfully is about using the top 6 inches well. Here are some things that will help you maximise your skiing day and be at the top of your game.

1. Eat well the night before (not big necessarily but healthy and nourishing food) and don’t drink to much booze!

2. Get a good nights sleep, it’s hard to operate well on a big day if you only have had 4 hrs sleep. Go to bed a bit earlier ….. yes I know you  are excited about skiing Queenstown but still  …….. go to f#*king sleep!

3. Wake early enough to have a decent breakfast. Enjoy that coffee but maybe only have the one …. it does dehydrate you!

4. After the coffee drink some water ….. now drink some more …… yes you will piss a squillion times!

5.  I like using a water bottle carried on a waist holder as I can drink easily when I need to. Small, slim hyrdopacks are also a good option .  You should drink 2 litres minimum during the day ….. yes you will piss more!

6. Take food that is easy and fast to eat or nibble on and is packed full of energy, stash these in your jacket pockets. Eat often through out the day between your main food stops.

7. Pop a pill once or twice during the day ….. sounds dodgy but I use Go Magnesium 800 which helps the body to rehydrate by replacing lost mineral salts. It also will stop/reduce the chance of muscle cramps and can also help with sleep if taken before going to bed. I usually take one the night before (see #2) and one during the day.

8. Drink a sports drink such as Powerade which is full of electrolytes and drink it before you head off the hill and towards the bar…. yes more pissing! Another good option is Nuun which is a tablet  that dissolves in water and is full of the good stuff you need to stay hydrated … these can be used during the day.

9. Use a product like Gu (you can get these at any good sports store such as RR Sports) …. take 2 or 3 with you for the day and whack them back as necessary …. big energy kick (oh and they wont make you piss more).

10. When you get back to your accommodation after that big days skiing drink some more water before you have that well deserved cold beer/s. Yes guess what …. you will piss more!

11. Eat well again and try not to hit the booze to hard as you swap the days stories with your friends. If your partner didn’t hit the slopes with you for the day and went shopping instead they will be listening attentively to every word (as they try to stiffle the boring yawns).

At first you might consider some of these things a bit of a hassle but over time  they will just become part of what you do on those big days skiing Queenstown. They will help you keep in tip top shape both physically and mentally through out your day and will play an integral part in you having more fun on the slopes.

Still Autumn but winter has arrived

It’s still officially Autumn but with 20 cms of snow falling to the ground in my backyard yesterday, Winter is Here!Image

New Zealand just got hammered by a very cold and big snow producing front that delivered welcome snow to all the ski areas across NZ. With Coronet Peak opening on the 8th June it’s great news and  with snow making in full swing topping it up we are looking on for a fantastic opening to the NZ ski season. All the NZ ski areas have done well out of this storm cycle and it is good for the NZ snow industry as a whole when all our fields are getting the good white stuff.

Early season goodness

Early season goodness

Needless to say there is quite a buzz around Queenstown with all the snow on the ground and the kids were fizzed with getting a day off school yesterday due to the heavy snow. Yes, although Queenstown is a winter resort in some ways we are just not well set up to deal with the occasional snows that come to the valley floor.

Retailers are starting to move a heap of product in anticipation of opening weekend and I just picked up my new ride the Rossignol Pursuit 16 and I am really looking forward to letting them rip come the 8th of June…..will let you know how they go.

Families here in Queenstown should remember we have a awesome day ski club at Coronet Peak, The Wakatipu Ski Club (WSC), which offers some great services and is especially good for young families requiring a on mountain sanity saving, baby sitting service with the WSC Polar Bear Club. Trust me it is well worth being a member!

Here is an exciting new product for skiers and riders out there who really want to get into “off piste” ripping …… make sure to check out the Big Mountain Workshops. If you are getting into this it is probably a good idea to get some safety equipment and ride with a beacon/transceiver….don’t forget the shovel and probe too! Keep in touch with what the NZ backcountry conditions are doing this season at http://www.avalanche.net.nz/

NZ Skiing Expeditions - Queenstown New Zealand (77)

Simon Wilkinson rips up the Remarkables

Don’t forget to book those private ski lessons with me, beginner, intermediate, advanced, big mountain …. you name it I am there to help you get more out of your skiing this season.

Winter 2013 approaching fast – are you ready?

The winter of  2013 is getting closer. After a great and long summer with a mild autumn things have changed and snow has fallen quite a few times on the mountains around Queenstown. Although it is not yet sticking on the ground for long it does have the effect of cooling the ground down. This is good news for Coronet Peak as of the 18th of May they can go into snow making mode as and when the temps are right to do so.

Here are some pics from previous season as a little tease of what’s to come for this winter.

Whether or not you choose to believe him Ken Ring “the Moon Man” is forecasting a good snowfall winter for the Southern Lakes and Queenstown, I have my fingers crossed that he is on the money….it appears that he often is.

Check out this pre-season (good to use during too) training tool, the SKIA  and as well qualified and experienced ski instructor I think this little gadget can certainly help get you in that sweet spot faster and be more accurate with skiing movements although it should never replace some good ski instructional technique from a well qualified ski instructor. It can be used in conjunction with your private ski lessons. When choosing a ski instructor for your private skiing lessons always find out whether they are a full certified ski instructor and preferably have International Ski Instructor qualifications (ISIA) …. if they haven’t find one who does!

If you are heading to the South Island this winter and are venturing further afield than than the Southern Lakes area ski fields think about flying into Christchurch and starting your trip there. Hire a great 4wd vehicle from my friends at Overland 4WD then get ripping into that big South Island ski trip.

Make sure to book your private skiing lesson with me on your stay in Queenstown. Although I am based at Coronet Peak I can ski with you at the Remarkables and the other ski areas in our region. I look forward to seeing you on snow soon.

Skiing Queenstown during the holidays

Skiing Queenstown during the holidays can be be a great experience especially if you put a little thought into it. Here are some top tips to get the most out of your Queenstown skiing vacation:

1. Yep it’s your holiday but get organized and get up to Coronet Peak early. You will get a better car park, the snow is in the best condition of the day and there are fewer people on the slopes (especially if you get the First Tracks Pass). Ski hard until 1030 and then go have a coffee and a muffin and a well earned rest. 1030 – 1100 is the busiest time of the morning as snowsports instructors move off with their groups.

Skiing Queenstown

2. Because you were wise to get up early stop early … you don’t need to ski thru to the last possible chair ride at 1600. Most accidents happen in the last hour of the day as both mental and physical fatigue sets in….you just ain’t at your sharpest. Go ride the shotover jet (you can’t right now because there is too much ice in the river).

Skiing Queenstown

3. During the days skiing use the snow responsibility code to your advantage. Stop on the edge of runs in places you can be easily seen (and avoided). You should be skiing within your limits….stay in control. The skier/rider downhill of you has the right of way (you should never be hit from behind (uphill) but help yourself out and have a glance to your left or right before you turn…..especially important on the busier runs on the mtn. Look up the hill before you move off to make your first turn….you wouldn’t pull out in your car with out looking would you? There are a few more (8 in total) know them, use them, and educate others to also.

4. Spatial awareness …… look around, use your ears (take those damn headphones off), give plenty of space to other skiers/riders, watching their body language as they ski/ride may tell you quite a bit about when or where they will make that blind heel side turn, it takes time to slow down to stop …. allow for this.Skiing Queenstown

5. Snow can be hard, rocks harder and collisions with others down right awful. Put a lid on your noggin. Helmets are well worth while investing in…..get one that is comfortable so you will be happy to wear it while you ski.

6. Drink some water….more than usual….skiing takes place at elevation and water consumption needs to go up as the elevation does.

7. Sunscreen …. put it on at least twice.

8. Meet a new ski friend…..have a chat with that stranger you are riding the chair with. You might pick up some really good info about something.

9. Need some new kit while you are skiing Queenstown, head into R&R Sport where the great staff will get you sorted out….ask about the Rossignol skis or snowboards if you are in the market.

10. Get a ski lesson, better still get a private skiing lesson with me, beat the lines, learn to ski better, the easy way to find out where the best snow is and have way more fun!

Tight Lines,

Simon

Coronet Peak Queenstown is open for 2012

Coronet Peak is open for the 2012 winter and all of Queenstown is very happy. We got the great news late on Thursday that the snowmaking team had done a fantastic job and Coronet Peak would be open come Sat morning. The usual suspects were waiting in line from some extraordinary hour to be the first up the Coronet Express chair lift for the season.

Coronet Peak Queenstown

The snow was in tip top shape for an early season opening morning and with Million Dollar and Lower Wall St open gave just enough opportunities to spread out a bit. It’s great to see all the familiar faces of locals and there families up there for the opening weekend as the weather conditions were just brilliant, not too cold, not to warm … about perfect really.

Coronet Peak Queenstown

I got in a couple of free runs on my Rossignol Experience 88’s which was great fun, they are a really good ski with plenty of grip and turn on piste and enough width to enjoy being off piste too (not that I have had the chance yet) but skis you can cruise on with out really having to work hard. Check them out via R&R Sport Queenstown who run a great demo program and are up at Coronet Peak on a regular basis.

Coronet Peak Queenstown

I had the good sense to get a couple of sessions at the Queenstown ice rink before the Coronet Peak opened which has really given me a great feel for being in balance along the length of my feet….weight even between ball and heel throughout each turn.. It was great to feel in balance after having not skied for 8 months. If you have an opportunity to do a bit of skating before your ski trip to Queenstown or while you are here on a day off the slopes …. ice skating really does help your skiing.

The temps have got really cold this morning with a southerly front ripping thru so snow making will be in full force again. I don’t think we will get any natural snow from this as the front is sliding east but Mt Hutt may well get some more to go on top of the 60+ cms the got last week. It was one of those great storms where cold air came up from the south and collided with a moist warm from coming down from the tropics and hey presto lots of snow fell on the top 2/3 rds on the South Island.

Coronet Peak Queenstown

Its always hard to make an accurate call on what kind of winter we are going to have but my gut instincts tells me it going to be pretty good …. so get geared up, and be ready when your time comes.

If you want to maximize your enjoyment come a get a private ski lesson with me to get you ripping again.

Tight lines,

Simon

Coronet Peak Queenstown New Zealand opening soon for the 2012 season

Coronet Peak is again looking like it will be the first ski area to open in New Zealand for the 2012 season with an opening date of the 9th June. The Remarks is due to open a week later on the 16th of June.The weather and general conditions are looking far more favorable than last seasons late opening so things should be on track this season.

NZSKI for the first time this season are allowing the loading of the MYPASS with cash which can be used to buy things like a coffee etc at Coronet Peak….I imagine this will be quite helpful for guests.

I cant wait now until to be on snow and ripping it up but between now and then I have a few preseason chores to do:

Skis: Are they tuned and ready? Are the bindings set correctly. Buy some I am on some new Rossignol skis this season.

Boots: Get them out of storage and start them warming while letting the spiders crawl out. Check for any wear on the soles. Make sure buckles etc work.

Boot heaters: I charged mine at the 1/2 way point between seasons but now need to do so again and will test with boots to make sure I have toasty pie toes. Ask at R&R Sport in Queenstown.

Poles: Check the tip of each to make sure is sharp and ready. Baskets in good nick and the straps are alright too.

Gloves: Check for wear and tear and re-coat as necessary with whatever you should to keep the waterproof. I also bought a new set of Cactus SPG gloves …..wicked!

Clothing: Buy some more at R&R Sport Queenstown to keep you warm drying and happy when ripping it up.

Lid (helmet): did you buy one if not get off your arse and get it sorted. If you have one just check it for obvious signs of wear such as cracks or other damage especially if you are prone to head planting.

Buy your pass so you are ready to go.

Book you private skiing lessons with me so you get off to a great start.

Look forward to seeing you out there on the snow.

Tight lines,

Simon.

Coronet Peak Queenstown New Zealand to open

Coronet Peak Queenstown New Zealand to is to open on man made snow on Thursday.

Thursday means Coronet Peak will be open in June and will be the 2nd ski field to open with snow on the ground in New Zealand. Many visitors who are here in Queenstown leave on Sat which is the major change over day so this would give the current lot snow seekers 2 days of skiing or snow boarding before they leave town. Then the next bunch of keen skiers and snow boarders arrives given the ash does not disrupt the situation.

This has certainly been a testing time for many in Queenstown, visitors, ski area workers, retailers, petrol stations and just about everybody has been affected by the lack of snow. The snow making system at Coronet Peak has certainly been tested as this would be the first year with the new and fully automated system that there has been no natural snow to work with and build on. It’s all man made snow. A soon as it got cold enough bingo!

Coronet Peak Queenstown New Zealand

Coronet Peak Queenstown NZ opens

I will look forward to seeing you up there at Coronet Peak and lets hope the cold temps continue and fingers crossed for a real snow storm too!