International cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Every winter I look forward to the racing series at the Snow Farm. It’s fun being involved, and as the competitors are at the top of their game world-wide, it’s nothing short of amazing to be involved so closely. A few are friends even, as they are Snow Farm regulars. And then every second winter there is the Winter Games… well actually this year under the moniker of the Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ. A pretty big deal proceeding the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics happening Feb 7-23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

My favourite job is to arrive on site pre dawn, and help lay timing cables and place cameras and crowd fences…
Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

My trusty 4wd camper is still going strong and takes on the roll of “cafe Toyota” somedays…
Snow Farm road

You may wonder why below I’ve omitted last names: well a couple of winter’s ago I was approached by a European newspaper wanting an image, but thankfully I was able to find out it was part of a “smear” campaign so declined them. I could have done without the time it wasted, so I now take a low key approach!

When my job is done, and dawn has broken, I then enjoy photography [some images end up world wide via my good friend Alexei’s promotion on the Salomon FaceBook page so I have “purpose”]. Here my friend Andy is able to still stand after a sprint…
Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

The world’s fastest woman on x/c skis Justyna from Poland shows her style, and lead…
Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Brian on the left, whom I enjoy catching up with every winter [he once took valuable time out the evening before my first ever entry in the citizen race the local Merino Muster to coach me and help prepare my skis], is here neck-in-neck with Maciej from Poland, who eventually won. What was fascinating here is it was a classical race [not skating] and Brian was working with a new technique whereby he propelled himself 15 Km with his upper body, while on the theoretically superior glide capable skate skis. Maciej was using the classic kick wax under the middle part of his ski, so could “kick” to glide with each stride…
Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Sarah [NZ] and Snow Farm regular, when not racing all over the world, is about to be interviewed…
Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Justyna again well ahead of Daria from Canada…
Winter games Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Daria despite an exhausting race end to the sprint, checking me out!
Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Alexander, and another Russian come in with Canadian Devon, all striving to be the first foot through the lights…
Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Daria, Justyna and Anastasiya [Slovakia] on the podium…
Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Me, surrounded by lovely ladies Epp and Mary…
Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Wanaka’s Hair Fairy Rika…
Merino muster Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Good friend “Capt” Ron, gets close to Justyna for the start of the Merino Muster. Was he sacred he was asked, “Yes, I was worried I might stand on her ski!” Ron has since approached me for a copy of this image. Wonder if he’s got it autographed yet [footnote: in Europe these people are the equivalent of rock stars]…
Merino muster Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Epp, here to check out how we run races with a view to NZ hosting a race on the World Loppet circuit, got to to present flowers. It was pretty nice to meet her as we have a mutual friend Christina who once flatted with me for a winter..Winter games Cross country ski racing at the Snow Farm

Those who complete Worldloppet races in 10 different countries, at least one of which is from another continent, qualify as a Worldloppet Master. They qualify for Worldloppet Gold Master if they have completed 10 main races, or a Silver Master if they have competed 10 races where some or all of them are short races. By standing of May 2013 there are more than 3700 master titles issued so far.

Actual racing distances may vary from year to year according local snow conditions, but usually, there are different categories: full distance (at least 42 km, the length of a non-skiing marathon (26 miles)) and shorter ones for children and less experienced skiers. For Vasaloppet, the oldest of the races, the full distance is about 90 km (56 mi). Some races are freestyle (both skating and classic are allowed), but others only permit classic style. via Wikipedia

I’d been humming and ha’ing whether or not to enter the Muster again. It’s been awhile. Thankfully [yes I can say this now looking back from the other side of post race tiredness], Epp twisted my arm. And it was great – it took me back to racing with my son…
Donald and Dougal, Merino Muster

So two days prior to the race, during a rush of blood to the head I signed up to try another 21Km classical style. And like my friend Sarah’s wonderful achievement of 42 Km in what everyone described as “brutal” conditions, I’m chuffed that I finished, and I had a bit of puff left as well.

Thanks Sarah for your encouragement as you lapped me, Alexei for announcing with much encouragement each time I passed Go, and of course The Snow Farm for the organisation. And to Snow Farm founder Mary, especially in the old days for not only correctly predicting I’d become enamoured with “dancing” on light skis, but for giving my son the means to learn responsibility for self in the mountains. It went like this:

On my first Merino Muster we gave him the job of looking after me at the relevant drink station. On my typically late finishing, he ran to meet me and crossed the line with me. This was one of those special parenting moments!

The next year as per the photo we raced together. The next off he went to Aust. to race sans Donald.

And in between Capt. Ron encouraged him to work in ski hire as a volunteer, further giving meaning to his entry into the teens. Big thanks there too Ron, and as usual it was a joy to be on the same course as you again!

Such is my mind of-late, and my body seems happy too!

Btw there’s some amazing footage of the above Winter Games on the TV3 web site [friend Alexei announcing], about 10 mins into the doco >>

Bye bye for now…
Donald Lousley at Snow Farm

About this Like Minds Blog Donald Lousley