Much better weather today with excellent visibility. However, this was partly due to less snow the night before so the snow blowers were on on the lower slopes. Lou didn’t bother getting the bus up today – her knee was still rather banged up and she was limping – so I handed her board and boots in when I got there.
The views from the upper slopes were magnificent today, so I took a few more snaps. Another morning lesson with Brett, the same chap as Wednesday, followed by lunch and then the afternoon zooming around on the powder making a complete tit of myself but having loads of fun in the process.
It was a shame when it came time to return my hire kit and head back into town. I’d really enjoyed myself and was just reaching the point where my muscles had given up complaining about all the work they were being made to do. With any luck, I’ll make it back down again for the end of the season. Fingers crossed!
Today was also the start of the Queenstown Winter Festival, a week-long party to celebrate the start of the season. Today, the Cardrona runs opened and tomorrow The Remarkables ski park would join in. Add to that the best/worst snow they’ve had in ten years (depending on whether you’re boarding/skiing or driving) and they were really looking forward to it this year. Last year was a damp squib in all respects with awful rain for the first couple of weeks.
The festival’s a very “local” affair, involving businesses and organisations including schools. It starts with a free party on the waterfront with a huge stage, two hours or so of free bands and an impressive fireworks display. As the week goes on, there are other parties, parades, sporting events and so on. Basically, it’s a cracking way to start your snowy season and it’s the last week before the kids break up for holidays, so they get to have a lot of fun decorating floats and making masks and so on as they impatiently wait for the school gates to close.
Lou had started to come down with an evil cold, so we didn’t enjoy the street stuff as much as we could. Instead, we sat in Pog Mahone’s drinking and eating some delicious tomoato soup until the fireworks were due to start and then nipped outside to watch them. Not the world’s biggest display, but certainly impressive. All were launched from a boat floating in the harbour and I’m amazed the thing didn’t sink. It even took Lou’s mind off her sniffles for ten minutes or so!