Raymond James Athlete Journal - Celine Rytz
Summer Training in New Zealand
Through 18 time zones, 3 flight changes in 3 different countries, an international date line and some of the most questionable in-flight meals I have ever (tried to) eat, I have finally found myself on the bottom of the world… yep way down on the bottom of the world globe, land of rugby, sheep and steering wheels on the wrong side of the car! If you guessed New Zealand, you are correct. I have come to New Zealand on my own to train an additional month of SL and GS with other skiers from around the world. I have been training at Coronet Peak, which is situated right above Queenstown. Queenstown is a town very similar to Banff, very vibrant and full of outdoor enthusiasts.
Spending the month training GS and SL in New Zealand sounded enticing, but what really sealed the deal for me was the long list of amazing activities I have been told I had to do from other people who had travelled to New Zealand. Anyone who has ever travelled here knows that this country is famous for the adrenaline-fueled attractions, like skydiving and bungee jumping (both of which I’m hoping to do when I’m here). There are also amazing hiking trails and golf courses (one of which I am living at). Thanks to the amazing hospitality I have received throughout my trip so far, I feel right at home and I am meeting lots of people along the way…some Canadians too! I have found a country with people that I have really fallen in love with. Going abroad alone is a scary experience and it is a relief to have so many hospitable people who are happy to take you in as another member of the family.
For the month I am here, I am training and racing in several races…most exciting of all forerunning the K1 and K2 club races this weekend! With the lack of snow here in Coronet Peak, it is nearly impossible to have more than a few teams training on the race run, so many National Teams have been moving around New Zealand looking for better snow or delaying their trips to later in the winter. Lucky for us, having the teams moving out of Coronet Peak has made our training perfect! We have the race run all for ourselves. The snow is very icy and the runs are very steep, which makes it perfect for SL training. I have had a few Bambi-on-ice moments, which has resulted in a lot more crashing than I am happy with! With snowfall in the forecast for this weekend, all we can do is look to the sky and hope for some help from Mother Earth! (Or just hang out in the lodge and watch the Olympics!!)
Even though it is the middle of winter here in New Zealand, the weather is incredibly mild. Where else in the world can you golf and ski in the same day?
I will be making it home just in time to enjoy the very tail end of summer back home and then back on snow in Chile with the Alberta Ski Team in September. I am very happy to be here in New Zealand and I am looking to the adventures that have yet to unfold for me.