Meet the team of 2019
A little bit about Abby
Abby's hometown is near the buzzing seaside city of Brighton in England where she worked previously as a blogger, editorial assistant and writer. She has contributed features to an array of publications including Knitting, Breathe and Teen Breathe -- and is new to the wonderful world of winter sports.
If you were a ski slope, what would you be called and why? 'I think I'd be called Bravo, Bridget. Because I felt like Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones' Diary during my first time on the mountain, flailing around everywhere. It's also one of my favourite movies to watch at Christmas.'
Preferred cold weather drink and snack: 'I love me a good choc-covered cappuccino. And for a snack... Sandwiches. I love me a good sandwich. The more varied, the better.'
What is your best ski-related memory? 'When Herb gave me a cross-country ski lesson and taught me how to roll up from the ground like a racing pro when I fall over which for me, I think, is inevitable.'
Where can we find you on your days off? 'Usually hanging out with my housemates, watching movies, playing card games, having nerf gun wars and learning the ukelele. Those guys are awesome and have become like my second family. Or reading books by the lake -- I'm completely obsessed with the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon at the mo.'
A little bit about Catherine
Catherine is a Québécoise bird biologist who hopped on a plane to New Zealand to explore its beautiful wilderness and assist with bird conservation and research projects. She is also a big fan of snowshoeing, having spent many a winter floating across the snow using snowshoes.
How did you spend last summer? 'I was in the Arctic monitoring big ducks that breed in high densities there, and interact with polar bears.'
Why Wanaka? 'The real answer is it just happened, I didn't plan it. I thought it was beautiful here and decided to stay.'
If you were a ski slope, what would you be called and why? 'Cat-astrophe.'
Preferred cold weather drink and snack: 'Rich hot chocolate, soup or fondue, anything warm.'
Favourite spot at Snow Farm NZ: 'The Bob Lee Hut. The view of the mountains -- that 360 view.'
A little bit about Herb
At aged 40, Herb decided to take a break from his career as a psychologist to ski and is still going. He now has over 35 years experience working as a cross-country ski instructor and has taught previously at Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center in California, plus ran environmental organisation Sierra Club's ski program.
If you were a ski slope, what would you be called and why? ‘I would be called Twisted Clyster. Have you heard of the band Twisted Sisters? Yeah, so I’d be called Twisted Clyster. Hehehe.’
Favourite ski-related saying: 'You can't think and ski. Just gotta do it.'
Cold weather drink of choice: 'It has got to be coffee.'
What is your best ski-related memory? 'Teaching a surfer to ski. Because he learned everything in an hour.'
Where can we find you on your days off? 'Visiting national parks and forests.'
A little bit about Jen
Former waitress and bartender Jen is from Canada and can usually be found on the Guest Services desk, in the car park or in the Snow Fun Zone. She is an alpine skier, but was intrigued by the idea of cross-country skiing at Snow Farm NZ, 'a different way to play with the mountain'.
Winter or summer? 'Winter. Snow. Hockey.'
Favourite ski-bum phrase: 'Shredding the gnar.'
Preferred cold weather snack and drink: 'Ooh, hot chocolate. With dark chocolate, to dip in. Chocolate on chocolate, mate.'
Best ski-related memory: 'Learning to ski with my best friend on Mount Ruapehu.'
Where to next? 'Climbing more mountains. Exploring the unknown.'
A little bit about Julia
28-year-old Julia is a German-born cross-country skier and bi-athlete who has been gliding across the snow since age seven.
Why did you decide to become an instructor? 'I just love teaching other people cross-country skiing and also sharing the love that I have for cross-country skiing with other people.'
Why Wanaka? 'It's the only place for cross-country in New Zealand and I wanted to come to New Zealand no matter what, to travel and chase the snow.'
Favourite cold weather drink: 'Solbærtoddy, a Norwegian sweet blackcurrant tea.'
What are your life dreams/career goals? 'I would love to compete in an Olympic Games one day, even though it is a long shot.'
A little bit about Lucy
Raised in Canada and passionate about sport, CANS Level-2 qualified instructor Lucy has already worked seven seasons in the ski industry and believes herself to be a mountain human through and through.
Summer or winter? 'Winter for sure, for skiing purposes. Also, I don't tan well (see picture).'
Favourite ski-bum slang: 'Gnarly, I love gnarly. Or when it snows a lot, people say it's puking.'
Preferred cold weather snack and drink: 'Warm apple cider (not cold, gross). What would I like to eat? Probably, like, a cookie. I love cookies.'
What is your best ski-related memory? 'I used to work at a place where we did a whisky ski down. Where we'd ski down and drink whisky, which was nice.'
Where can we find you on your days off? 'Up another hill. Or making cookies actually, more likely.'
What do you like to teach? 'I like teaching teenagers to skate. School groups. It's fast and we play games, sliding around, it's awesome.'
Where to next? 'Red Mountain Resort is the plan -- that's Rossland, British Columbia.'
A little bit about Pip
From fire safety training to social media marketing, Kiwi Pip has completed a wide array of relevant courses over the past 10 years working in the ski industry. This is her second year at Snow Farm NZ.
Why Wanaka? 'I came to Wanaka over 20 years ago for my husband's job and we enjoyed the lifestyle and what Wanaka has to offer so much that we decided to stay long-term and to purchase property.'
Summer or winter? 'I'm much more of a summer girl. I love all the hiking and biking that goes on at Snow Farm NZ in summer. And with warmer days and blue skies, spring is actually my favourite time to ski.'
What is your goal for the season? 'To ski The Loop before closing day.'
A little bit about Sam
With a passion for snow sports and technology, local Kiwi Sam is a real people person and has acquired a unique set of skills through growing up on a merino sheep farm and within the ski industry.
What are your company goals and dreams for Snow Farm NZ? 'I want to see more backcountry huts for the local community to come up and utilise in the winter. I want local kids to grow up with sweet weekend childhood memories of being up at Snow Farm NZ.'
What do you do in the summer? 'I work up here, managing the hiking and mountain biking. But I do have more downtime, so spend days camping and in my caravan, just generally exploring more of my own backyard.'
Why Wanaka? 'It's the greatest town in the world. I've visited spots all over the world and found bits of Wanaka in all sorts of places, but never the whole picture. It has got such great balance between winter and summer.'
Winter or summer? 'Summer because I don't work as much. But I do enjoy winter.'
If you were a ski slope, what would you be called and why? 'Roller-coaster I think. Purely because of the transition from winter to summer, and the weather conditions, it feels like a roller-coaster from day to day.'
What is your favourite trail at Snow Farm NZ? 'Sam's trail, of course. Just kidding. Definitely, the Kirdleburn. It's a fun trail to come down, it's fast, it has got corners, it might have a creek running through it, it might not, you don't know what you're going to get.'
Favourite ski-bum phrase: 'A bird doesn't fly on one wing.'
Preferred cold weather drink and snack: 'It has to be a hot pie. Steak and cheese pie. And to drink? It's got to be a beer, a cold beer'.
A little bit about Sophia
20-year-old Sophia is a citizen of both US and Taiwan. She has previously instructed at Fall's Creek in Australia, as well as roller-skiing on a casual basis in Edinburgh.
What do you like to teach? ‘It depends on the level. Skate is fun... So the saying is always, classic is easy to learn but harder to master and skate is harder to learn but easy to master. And it's fun with skate when people get that 'ah-ha' moment and start moving naturally after struggling for a couple of weeks.'
Why Wanaka? ‘Last year I was working in Fall’s Creek and I came over for the Merino Muster and it seemed like a fun place to work and Wanaka seemed like a hot-spot for outdoorsy stuff. My friend also used to work in a backpackers out here and told me stories, which got me even more excited.'
Summer or winter? ‘I don’t know. I can’t choose. They’re both so wonderfully different. I’d like more of winter and less of summer. But I love summer. I like summer recreational activities like swimming in the lake, kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing. But I feel like doing that for a few months is enough. If we could have nine months of winter that would be good.’
What is your preferred cold weather snack/drink? ‘Ahh, peanut butter and maple syrup.’
What is your best ski-related memory? ‘There are so many good ones. I think, just in general, as a kid we would go skiing and my dad, every few hundred metres or whenever we got tired, would whip out a bag of gummies to motivate us. And we’d always try to make the snow fall on each other. So we would raise the pole and try get the snow down from the tree.’
What are your life dreams/career goals? ‘The plan is to finish up bachelor in Medical Sciences and then take a few years out to bum around and maybe do some outdoor leadership stuff. I would love to go to Med School, hopefully at the University of Minnesota cos they’ve got a good Med School there and it’s a good place to ski and my parents want to retire there -- so might as well check out the area. Then I’d like to practise remotely or itinerantly, maybe with Doctors Without Borders.’
A little bit about Yohan
Yohan is originally from Quebec, in Canada, and spent a season working at a ski resort back home prior to coming to New Zealand.
What are your responsibilities at Snow Farm NZ? 'Ooh, I have many responsibilities. I'm like a 'Jack of all trades', I guess. I do a little bit of everything. Ski instruction, rentals, guided snowshoe tours, tubing (pushing the tubes down the hill, I'm good at that). I also cover Caleb's days off for the snowmobile maintenance and hut runs.'
What are your reasons for becoming a ski instructor? 'I love being with people. I love talking people and helping them out. I love seeing happy people. Yep, that's why I'm here.'
What are your dreams and life career goals? 'That is a good question, I like that. I wish to be even more versatile and do even more sport. So I don't know for my life, but for this season, I'd really love to improve my skating so I can better teach people how to skate and, be myself, a good skater.'
Summer or winter? 'Winter. I just love the cold. I love cold temperatures. I think it's best for everything -- walking, sleeping -- I always feel good in the cold. If it's too hot, I'm just like, I just sit down. But if it's cold, it's all good, I can go forever.'
If you were a ski slope, what would you be called and why? "I'd be called Big Why. Because that's what you say at the top of a slope, you're like 'why am I here, what is this, what's going on?'. And I think it'd be a hard slope. Like 'why am I here, okay, let's just go for it."
Preferred cold weather drink and snack: 'Hot chocolate, for sure. I freaking love hot chocolate. And favourite snack? A poutine. A hot chocolate and poutine, and you're good for a whole day of skiing, that's for sure. An everything hot chocolate.'