Sam and Stu's Kiwi Travels
Booo....last day snowboarding today! We got up at 7 to catch the 8:15 shuttle to the Remarkables. We got to the Kingsgate hotel at 8:14 only to find that we'd missed it again!. There were an Aussie couple there who had seen it go (they were going up to the Remarks as well and had just missed it!). We all headed into town together to catch the 9am express shuttle from the station in town. The Aussie couple (Adrian and Tanya) were both snowboarders, they were only in Queenstowm for a week and this was their first day on the slopes. We popped into the McCafe for a quick breakfast (mmm...cookies and cream frappe and a sausage roll!) and got to the station just as the shuttle arrived. We were up at the Remarks by 10 and today we headed straight up the main chair lift - no practising on the learner chair today! As we neared the top I felt a familiar sense of dread - I'd only managed to get off the chair lift successfully once yesterday so I didn't hold out much hope for today! We neared the top, up went the safety rail, down went the boards, I stood up as we hit the exit ramp and........glided down gracefully!!!! Yey! First chair of the day and I'd made it off the chair lift without collapsing in a heap. That must be a good sign! Surely enough it was! I made it down the first three runs without falling over (and I got off all three chair lifts without falling over...I was finally getting the hang of it!). I was linking my turns, picking up speed, and I was even steering properly with my back leg. Stu was really impressed and I was finally starting to feel confident on my board, and ready to try a slightly trickier slope. Stu headed off up the Sugarbowl Chair for a quick change of pace on the fourth run while I stayed on the regular green slope and practised. On my way down I bumped into Tanya and Adrian. I was surprised to find that Tanya wasn't really any better than I was so we meandered down together. After a couple more runs Stu caught up with us and I decided it was time to tackle the Sugarbowl chair on my board! There's a green run that comes all the way down from the top and I felt confident I could handle it now! We said goodbye to Adrian and Tanya and off we went. I was a bit nervous about getting off the chairlift again as Sugarbowl has a slightly steeper exit ramp but again I managed to get off the chair lift without a problem....wow! I really was getting good at this whole chairlift lark! We shuffled along to the top of the green run, strapped on our boards and off we went. The first half went much better than I was expecting. Theres a steep part that leads onto a long flat straight and if you don't get enough speed up you won't make it along the straight and you'll have to walk to the top of the next slope. I was a bit nervous about this part because I still wasn't that great on the flatter parts as its so easy to catch an edge when you're board is flat, especially if you're going at speed....even Stu hadn't made it to the end of the straight on our first couple of runs of the season and even at the beginning of the season he was much better on a snowboard than I am now! We got to the top of the steep part and I tols Stu I wasn't going to go too fast - I'd just get as far along the straight as I could and then I'd just take off my board and walk the rest of the way. Stu said he'd wait and see how far I got and then come down after me. Off I went. I did a couple of turns down the slope but I tried to keep up as much speed as I dared. I hit the flat bit and tried to keep my board balanced....I did a couple of small turns when I felt myself catching an edge but other than that I jsut let the board glide along and......I made it all the way to the end of the straight and continued down teh next slope before stopping to wait for Stu. I had the biggest grin on my face as Stu came round the corner. "I suppose you think you're clever" he said as he caught up! Yep, I sure did! We carried on until we got to the last slope on the run. Here the run forks, you can go stright down the blue run which is pretty steep, or you can follow a green run round the top of the blue slope that slowly snakes down the side. Usually we'd go down the blue way but I knew I wasn't good enough on my board yet so I sent Stu down the blue run and said I'd meet him at the bottom. About half way along the green run I came across a blue run down that didn't seem as steep as the one Stu had just disappeared down and as I was feeling brave I decided to give it a go! As I went over the top I tried to turn onto my toe edge but the slope ws steeper than I had anticipated and I couldn't turn quickly enough to kill the speed. I did manage to turn onto my toe edge but I was really flying and I new that if I tried to turn back onto my heeel edge at this speed I'd go crashing backwards. It's much less painfall to fall on your front snowboarding that it is on your back, and my bum was so painful from the last couple of days, so I made a conscious decision to fall forward rather than attemping a turn that would probably end with another painful blow to my backside! I threw myself forward like a starfish and disappeared into a cloud of snow as I hit the ground! There was snow everywhere!!! It even went up my top as I skidded along the ground! But the god news was it really didn't hurt at all and I had a big smile on my face as Stu climbed up to see f I was alright. He said he thought that slope was a bit ambitious for me and that maybe I should stick to the green for today. We headed back to the Sugarbowl chair and back up to the top for our last run before lunch. Unfortunately this run didn't go quite so well. I made it all the way along the flat straight again but as I turned down the following slope a skier flew round the corner completely out of control and cut straight across in front of me. I lost my balance and flew backwards, landing right on my shoulder. Ouch......it really hurt this time and brought tars to my eyes. Stu saw what happened and came over t see if I was ok. We sat at the side of the run for a couple of minutes nursing my shoulder and then decided the sooner we got down for lunch the better. Off we went again. made it down off of Sugarbowl ok but on our way down to the base station I caught an edge on one of the flatter parts and fell back onto the same shoulder again!!! Really not happy! We made it down to the cafe without any more falls and sat inside to eat our sandwiches. The weather had been really nice again this morning but the clouds were starting to roll in now and the temperature was dropping. By the time we came back out after lunch a mist was appearing over the slopes and the visibility wasn't quite so good. We got the video camera out to film a couple of runs as this was my last day on a snowboard. Unfortunately my shoulder was still throbbing and I was having a bit of trouble moving it so I was really worried about falling on it again and I was boarding a lot more cautiously thaan I was this morning. We filmed me going down the main green run once and then headed up Sugarbowl to film me coming down there as well. Typical, this time I didn't make it along the straight so Stu's got me on camera hopping along, desperately trying to get to the end of the straight and failing miserably!! Never mind! We put the camera away and did a couple more runs before it was time to head down to catch the last bus home. I was still happy with the way I was snowboarding but I was a bit annoyed that I'd hurt my shoulder and I was too worried about falling on it again to try going any faster or to try any new runs like I had this morning. Stu filmed my last run down to the base station and I took my board off for the last time. It was quite sad really. I'd really enjoyed the past three days and would definately give snowboarding another go. I'd picked it up better than I'd expected to be honest.I was really happy with the way I was linking my turns and I felt like I looked like a proper snowboarder now rather than a camacasie person on a piece of wood! That and today I'd finally mastered the chair lift! I'd only fallen over once getting of teh chair lift today - a vast improvement from yesterday when I fell over getting off all bar one! If we were here longer I would definately have rented the board for a few more days but we only have four skiing days left now so I want to finish the holiday on my skis! Another adventure over! We watched the video of me boarding on our way back to town - quite amusing! Stu got off the shuttle at the Kingsgate hotel as usual but I stayed on and got off at the station in town as I had to drop my snowboard and boots off at the Green Toad. Stu had stoopidly left his snowboard on the shuttle so after dropping off my snowboard I started carrying his board home, thinking of the many things I would have to say to him when I finally finished the 25 minute uphill walk home. Luckily for Stu he realised he would be in deep trouble if he left me to carry his board home and he ran all the way into town and met me halfway up the first hill saving his bacon! We got home and settled in to watch the Sunday night movie 'Sweet Home Alabama' before popping back into town to phone home. We got back just in time to watch a couple of episodes of Will and Grace before bed. One thing I have learnt from my first few days snowboarding is that learning to snowboard really HURTS! My shoulder was throbbing like mad, my bum hurt to sit on (still does!) and my knees and wrists were achey and sore. I know, such a moaning murtle!! It was well worth the pain though!!