••• tiff firth photography •••

Sunday, August 4, 2013

New Zealand - day 3. 4.8.2013

What a day. What a totally tremendous day.

Alarm clock at 7am local time. Dressed in all the layers with skis, backpacks of jumpers, rubber boots, cameras (mine and a selection of lenses, the GoPro), ski lift passes and what not. We hopped on the bus and off we went up The Remarkables. According to the driver and listening to those in the bus who have skied the last few days, The Remarkables is the best slope for snow by far at the moment. Lucky for us J

It’s a very pretty drive up the mountain. A number of switchbacks made the heart stop as the bus went round them. We sat in the back seat and it felt like the front of the bus had made the turn before the back of the bus started to catch up. It’s an optical illusion but it had the kids entranced.

The view across the car park to the horizon opposite The Remarkables is devastatingly beautiful. The play of light and the clouds that moved across the vista was so mesmerizing.

We moved up the ‘magic carpet’ to the Ski Lodge to get the kids readied for the Kia Ski School.  

Annie and Sean were part of a group of 5 beginners with JJ, their patient instructor. The throwing of snowballs was very quickly dampened and she had the kids’ full attention. I'm amazed at how much they have picked up already. So is Kym. He watched for the first bit to make sure they had settled in and then he took off up the ski lift for his skiing. He has skied in Sweden and here years ago and is reasonably proficient at it. He didn't crash and burn once today, and by golly he does look like he knows what he’s doing. He was back in time to watch their last bit to see where they were up to with their skiing.

I brought over the ice cleats that I purchased on the Grand Canyon trip and boy I am glad I did. I can tramp anywhere over the snow and the ice at the entrances of the lodge without being afraid of a slip. I put up without them for about half an hour but just thought it not worth the risk of a fall. And I had two pairs of thermal socks on as I knew my hiking boots would get wet by the end of the day. It wasn't until the last hour of the day before I started feeling my feet getting wet and a bit chilled. Nothing uncomfortable, just noticeable.

Sean was a little bit crotchety by the end of his lesson. A combination of not enough fuel in the tank and feeling a bit puffed out after 2 hours of lessons. I jammed a few Malteasers in him to get him through to the end of the lesson. I gave the instructor a few as well to keep her sweet with the kids.

Side note: Sean wore his Adelaide Crows scarf and he was rather devastated to learn that none of the kids (other than Annie)in the group had heard of them. Crows who??  Poor chap.

Lunch was next up. $60 bucks later. Sheesh.  Kym seemed to think that wasn't too bad, but I thought that was damn rich. We will bring up a few extra nibbles tomorrow so lunch is not so big a bill.

After lunch Kym headed up the slope so the kids could watch him come down. They were so excited to see him do his thing and that really motivated them to get the hang of their skis quicker. The kids and I had a snowball fight while Kym had his second run down. He joined in and then it was all onto him. Luckily I was on camera videoing it all so I wasn't bombed too much.   J

Kym and Sean had some time on the beginner slope to get Sean moving along with his skis while Annie made a snowman and snow angels. Annie’s turn with Kym while Sean blasted her snowman with snowballs. Typical boy.

All of a sudden it was time to pick up our bits and pieces from storage, and head back to the bus. Sean snoozed on the way down, 

 while I took a few shots through the window of the bus. Not the best way to photograph landscapes but it’s the best I can do for now.

The dirt road we travelled up and down to The Remarkables.

The beautiful mountains the overlook Queenstown and its lake. This is the back of some of them.

The river of snowmelt that feeds into the lake that Queenstown is built around. Its so blue as its rich in minerals.

The weather was just perfect to be on the slope today. 6 degrees, warm sun and amazing skies. We ended up with jumpers off, scarves off, beanies off. Tomorrow we will all just have the thermal leggings and thermal tops, a long sleeved shirt with the ski jacket and ski pants. We don’t need the extra layer of jeans/trackie daks. We will take up the jumpers and put them on if needed, but I doubt we will. The kids will be that much more active on the skis as their confidence grows and that will keep them plenty warm.

Kym and Annie walked into town for supplies for tea, and to change Kym’s boots for a size bigger. And also to find out if we could break up our 4 days on the ski slope to 2 days on, day off, and 2 days on. It all depends if we could with the ski/clothing hire, the lift passes and the bus transfers. We originally planned to head to Milford Sound on our 5th day, but we both feel the kids could do with a break between day 2 and day 3 to rest their legs and to keep them keen. At this stage all is good to can bump day 3 and 4 and we just need to find out if we can move our booking with Milford Sound coach tour. If we can’t it doesn't really matter as we can insert one of our 2 days around Queenstown doing things in that time slot instead.

I've made a bit of adjustment with my thoughts of what I want to do since I can’t go up the ski lifts.      L L L . I'm focusing much more on the kids and videoing their experiences rather than shooting stills. So while the kids are on the beginner slope right below the lodge I'm recording as much as I can and shooting a lot less. The kids are RAPT to watch themselves in the action so far. It also gives Kym much more opportunity to hit the slopes. He’s got a goal he wants to achieve but he needs the time on the slopes first to get himself to that level of skiing. Go him. He’s also said he is totally fine if I take off for a day when we have the hire car to go shoot the landscape. He knows I’m disappointed about not being able to access the slopes via the ski lifts as we had been previously reassured that we could, so this is his idea of me still being able to achieve something different. Bless his socks.

Hot baths for the kids, warm pyjamas and steak for tea to finish our day. It’s been such fantastic first day.

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