One of the great things about living in New Zealand are the dark skies. With very little light pollution, the stars are bright in the night sky. And one of the best places to see them is at Lake Tekapo, which is part of the gold-rated Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. And that is where we decided on our first Kiwi vacation.
It was entirely my fault. Soon after I transferred to London in January 2013, I had to go on a business trip to Krakow, Poland. Perhaps it was the fact that it was not very cold in London at the time (at least compared to what I was used to in the Colorado mountains), but I failed to look at the weather forecast for Krakow and did not take my heavy winter clothing. Plus I failed to remember that humid cold (as in much of Europe) feels much colder than dry cold (as in Colorado). What resulted were some freezing days and nights in an otherwise charming old European city.
I grew up in the tropics, and had never seen snow until I was almost 20. I disliked the cold gray winters of Iowa and Chicago. But that all changed once we moved to Colorado in 2003. Tried skiing once and was hooked. Skied a lot. Almost every weekend, from October through May. Averaged about 35 days per season at the beginning, increasing to about 50-60 days per season after that. Learned to carve. Learned to ski bumps. Learned to love powder, steeps, trees. Tore my ACL skiing in 2007; got it repaired and came back just as passionate as before. Moved to a ski town in 2007. Here are some shots from between 2003 and 2009.
If there’s one word to describe the 2010-2011 ski season in Colorado, it is EPIC. Record snow throughout the season resulted in too many powder days to count. Earliest ever openings for most lifts and terrain. By the end, it was hard to get motivated to go skiing unless there was 6 inches of new snow on the ground.
It’s winters like these that make it worthwhile to live in a ski town.