Wanaka Winter Challenge.
In our NZ sports community there are a large number of athletes who have run marathons, coast to coasted, cycled more K's than most of us can count but very few have skied a marathon.
Worldloppet is the organisation that coordinates twenty prestigious ski marathons around the world. Last year Merino Muster entered this Worldloppet Ski Federation circuit and there were more overseas athletes on the start line than New Zealanders.
New Zealanders, who pride themselves on handling the tough stuff, were almost non-existent. Merino Muster and their host facility the Snow Farm want to change the line up by issuing a Wanaka Winter Challenge. It is time to add a X-Country ski marathon to your sporting CV!
Keith Murray advised “X-Country skiing is an ideal winter cross training for my multi –sport ambitions and is a great break from the normal training regimes but without any loss of performance. It demands almost every part of the body be exercised without stress, in scenery that is inspiring and using gear that is light and easy to master. Ski beside the Meg river, gurgling away under the snow, with just the swish of your skis for company and you will wonder why you left trying out X-Country skiing for so long. Snow hares and Paradise ducks can be possible new companions and seeing views of Mount Aspiring, with the sun setting or rising behind it as you finish one of the best workouts you will get, is magic.”
Mary Lee, fresh from competing in the Chinese Vasaloppet claims “X-Country skiing skills last forever. 90 year olds still ski as it is gentle on the joints. The boots are a similar weight to your trainers and the skis as light as a bike wheel. Should you want more there are competitions and races all summer in the N. Hemisphere and if you head there for work you may well meet up with some of the overseas folk that you skied against in the Merino Muster.”
Andy Pohl (Snow Farm GM) who also heads the ski school is back from World Champs and has designed a package with Keith Murray that makes it easy to try it out without breaking the bank. Training can be timed to suit you, instruction will be on the hoof as you ski, no hanging around doing drills as Andy accepts you are fit and need a workout. His instructors include an ex member of the Swedish National Biathlon team who will be happy to help you test your fitness. Steve Gurney has looked at the programme Andy and Keith have put together and given it his thumbs up. Steve has been a long time winter visitor to the Snow Farm and will be back getting his fix this season. He has already given us his entry for this year’s race.
The Snow Farm Ski School will select executive rental gear for you that will fit like a glove and not slow you down on the downhill as the learner fish scale skis do.
The Snow Farm will be setting up a Facebook page later this month to help those who need car-pooling to make it to the Snow Farm.
Keep up to date with snow conditions at the Snow Farm through the Merino Muster website www.merinomuster.com