CROSS-COUNTRY CROSSES BORDERS
You don’t need to spend much time at Snow Farm NZ to realise that people from all over the world are enjoying the Nordic vibe with you. It really is a mini-United Nations on skis.
Meet the coaches
The Snow Farm NZ 2019 coaches are a global dream-team drawn from America, Canada, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland (left to right above: Tuva, Sophia, Peter, Hannes, Yohan, Alanna and Lucy, plus Herb and Julia). What an incredible pool of talent ready to share their love of cross-country skiing.
They are a modest, unassuming bunch, but don’t be fooled, behind these cheery grins are athletes with fierce determination, national squad experience and impressive race records. I’m sure you want to know a bit more about these guys. After all, they are playing a big role in Merino Muster race training and preparation for me and many other folks. Including the Musterer training group which gathers on Sunday mornings, with an Austrian, Brit, German and some home-team Kiwis to sprinkle into the UN mix.
The Norwegian Dog Musher
Take Tuva, a qualified dog-musher, management graduate and pianist from Ål a tiny town in the Norwegian mountains, who was skiing to her family cabin as a toddler. Ål remains Tuva’s favourite place to cross-country ski. She also loves backcountry & telemark skiing and will be experiencing perpetual winter after leaving NZ by heading to Colorado to powder ski (with the hope that Americans don’t speak quite as fast as Kiwis!).
The German Biathlon Champion
Julia is a National Biathlon champion who grew up in the German city of Dresden and first went cross-country skiing with her mother as a child. Her favourite cross-country ski destination, like Tuva, is also the spiritual home of the sport, Norway. With an MSc in Material Science in her pocket, Julia is planning to travel when she leaves NZ, but will really miss Kiwis.
The Swiss Swimmer
Global citizen Sophia has dual American and Taiwanese nationality, calls Switzerland home and is a student of Medical Science at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She packs a lot into 24 hours, often going up to the Snow Farm at 5am to squeeze in a few hours skiing before her day’s work…skiing. Such focus might explain how Sophia was the 11th woman to finish the Australian 42km Kangaroo Hoppet last year, has been a competitive swimmer and worked in ski-paradise Davos.
The National Paralympic and Olympic cross-country ski teams from South Korea and China have been setting a gruelling pace around Snow Farm NZ trails recently with jovial Russian Coach Alex spurring them on, whilst perfecting his snowman skills in between drills. They have been an inspiration to watch, relentless, focused, fit and determined. One impossible exercise involved towing another team member by a tether uphill on skis – ouch.
Now I understand how Olympic glory and skiing excellence is built upon hours and hours of solitary, tough training. No pain no gain in its rawest form.
Margaret Batty, Ski Musteress, 4 August
A bit about me:
After 30 years of commuting, career and city life
in crowded London and travelling to over 90
countries, I moved to wonderful Wanaka with
Gary, to pause, breathe and reconnect with the
mountains – and my muscles…We’re totally
smitten with New Zealand, immersing ourselves
in all four seasons, biking, hiking, kayaking and
skiing, for a precious year-off (an ‘OE’ in our
fifties) before heading back to England,
Attempting the Merino Muster is my nod to the famous Kiwi ‘give it a go’ attitude.