Your cart is empty Cart


 In Diary of a Ski Musteress

My sports watch was distinctly unimpressed, apparently, I had completed a 75-minute cross country ski skating session but hardly raised my heartbeat nor registered a cardio workout… What was going on?!

Hmm, well truth be told, to my surprise and delight, cross-country skiing is HUGELY sociable. It took me half an hour to ski 200m during my first solo training session, chit-chatting away…

Initially my intentions were good, but then:

> I bumped into namesake Margaret from the ‘Ladies’ Tuesdays‘ group while deftly practising her new skills and revelling in the high mountain views and tranquillity;

>  I met a Snow Shepherd* (there’s a first) volunteer, Judith from the Cardrona Distillery, which definitely beckons for a post-ski detour;

> Followed by Maria from Colombia, who guided me through an impromptu and highly effective stretching session at the midway point of the Highlander trail. Maria and I hooked together and skied along amicably chatting as best we could in English and Spanish amplified by gesticulations where words failed us. 

> Meanwhile, Mary, who recently hotfoot it back from a Worldloppet gathering in Iceland, was darting effortlessly back and forth, keeping a watchful eye on us all, one minute chatting and the next skating off with a shovel behind her back to smooth a trail!   

Time to raise my game. A bit more effort and a little less indulgence required for the next few weeks (bubbly on ice until the medal ceremony!).

Running, biking, swimming or yoga. Which works best for cross-country ski based training?

Clearly, a rather more disciplined and rigorous approach to training on and off the snow is required if I am ever going to get to the finish line of the Straggler Merino Muster race in (gulp) just eight weeks’ time! So, hello to my new regime ‘Dry Land Training’ (DLT), which I launched with my Snow Farm NZ buddies on Tuesday by striding up our local gnarly hillock, Mount Iron, mixing it up with some yoga and a yarn.

With Wanaka bathed in balmy winter wonderfulness, I certainly don’t need any encouragement to get outside. We are spoilt for choice with local training options: yoga to mountain biking, swimming to power walking, slack-lining to frisbee-golf and even roller-skiing on the tarmac. 

Musterers who train together, race together

Snow Farm NZ instructor Peter and Gary kicked off the ‘Sunday Musterers’ Sunday morning training sessions with a brisk run along the shores of Lake Wanaka and a set of DLT ski exercises specifically aimed at increasing power in the upper body, core strength and balance. The group plans to meet every Sunday until race day on 31 August.

Tempted?  You still have time to:

  • Join the ‘Sunday Musterers’ training sessions; 
  • Register for the Merino Muster 2019 international cross-country ski race (7, 21 or 42km);
  • Become a volunteer Snow Farm NZ Snow Shepherd* 

Come on up and join the Snow Farm NZ community. 

Are you embarking on your own DLT regime to get fit for the Merino Muster (or perhaps another event)?

Please do share what works for you (it might just work for me!).

Margaret Batty, Ski Musteress, 13 July

Follow ‘Diary of a Ski Musteress’ on Snow Farm NZ‘s and Merino Muster‘s websites, Facebook and Instagram social media pages, plus on Margaret’s Instagram page @BattyIdeas

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.

Recent Posts