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Season of Shred 16

Posted by Dave Fahey: 23rd May 2016 @ 19:43:22

As we rolled into May still sporting shorts and t-shirts and basking in temperatures well within the 20’s, it was difficult to fathom that winter was around the corner. At about that point the media jumped in and announced a forecasted, warmest may in history. And in chimed the winter hating critics - “it’s going to be a terrible winter, farmer John’s pumpkins are three times their usual size & last time they were like that was back in the big snow drought of 76’. 

Jump forward three weeks and mother nature intervenes with a good old fashioned dose of reality. The shorts and t-shirts have been buried in the drawer and the suns warm rays have been refreshingly replaced with the warm glow of a roaring fire. The last 24 hours has seen a gold old fashioned weather bomb descend on the Southern Lakes dumping over 75cm’s at The Remarkables, with more nasty/awesome weather forecast throughout the night. 

I would be lying if I said that I hadn't already had a wee dress rehearsal for opening day. The skis have been waxed and the chains dug out from the corner of the garage. Thoughts have even crept into my mind of coming down with some mysterious illness that prevents me from attending work tomorrow in favour of skinning up the Remarkables to the Alta Chutes for some pre-season pow turns. 

The next couple of weeks will certainly be spent watching old school ski movies, probably with a glass of red wine in hand. Reading ski magazines, reading gear reviews and the odd touring mission when the snow allows. It’s safe to say that I’m still one of those Queenstowners that froths over the ski season. Sure our mountains might not receive as much snow as northern Japan, or be as vast as some of the Canadian giants. I however am still a firm believer that even the worst day on the hill is better than the best day at work. And that comes from someone that arguably has some of the best jobs around. 

I also believe that our local hills proximity to Queenstown, combined with some exceptional terrain and world class views makes Queenstown a must ski destination for any snow lover. I’ll certainly be spending much more time up the mountain enjoying our winter wonderland this winter, than I will be doing housework.

No matter which way you look at it 75cm of pure white gold is an epic way to start the season and more than enough at this point to set the mountains up for an incredible opening to the season. 18 days and counting.

Amongst The Vines

Posted by Dave Fahey: 12th May 2016 @ 10:22:12

Living in Queenstown we are fortunate to live in a place with everything on our doorstep. You never have to stray too far to enjoy great food, views or activities. This however lead to the bubble phenomenon. I often refer to Queenstown as it own little bubble, a bubble that people often struggle to escape. However, it is essential from time to time to burst the bubble and stray a little further from your surroundings.

Living here we are also fortunate to be surrounded by other regions of exceptional beauty. This past Sunday (Mothers Day) we took the plunge, burst the bubble and ventured east to Bannockburn. Now I can hear most people asking where? But if wine and fine food are your thing you have probably come across the name Bannockburn. Situated just 40 minutes drive from Queenstown & just before Cromwell, Bannockburn is most famous for it’s exceptional wine, particularly Pinot Noir.

Amongst the vineyards of Bannockburn the flagship winery would have to be Mt Difficulty. Nestled amongst the vines on a elevated platform on Templars Hill is the cellar door and restaurant - our destination for what proved to be an exceptional dining experience. Bannockburn's unique location and surrounds produce New Zealands only continental climate, similar to the western seaboard of the United States. This combined with it’s soil (which incidentally looks like it should not support any form of life) have proven to be a match made in heaven for growing Pinot Noir grapes. So who was I to resist the temptation to indulge in a glass - when in Rome after all!

The restaurant boast an amazing outdoor courtyard, where our elevated position extended our view far across the basin and the perfectly manicured rows of vines, surrounded by the last of the autumn colours. As the sun drenched our bodies and the Pinot trickled into our veins it was hard not to feel like I had been transported far far away from normality.

Our wine was perfectly accompanied by home made breads and spreads and followed by a lunch of duck & fresh southern ocean salmon. Its fair to say that the chiefs put as much time and love into the preparation of every dish that leaves their kitchen as the wine makers do with every bottle produced.

If your visiting Queenstown, or are a local and need an excuse to burst the bubble then Mt Difficulty should be on your list. Located just a short distance from town, Mt Difficulty produces  world class wine and delivers fresh local dishes that are bound to impress even the most distinguished pallet. I'm already looking forward to my next visit.

Queenstown...No place I'd rather be!

Posted by Dave Fahey: 5th May 2016 @ 13:39:03

People often ask me why I live in Queenstown? Which I think is a bit of a daft question really. This usually follows by them trying to convince me that Queenstown is soon expensive, full of tourists and ridiculously cold in winter!

To which I politely have to explain that today I started my day with a hot air balloon flight high above the Wakatipu basin, which at the peak of I was looking out over Mt Cook as the first rays of sunlight engulfed it. I followed that with a quick spin in a Jet boat as K-Jet had a large group on and needed some extra hands. I then went home picked up my beautiful family, crazy dog and bikes and went and explored a section of the Wakatipu trail. Then to round out the day I sat down to a pint of Mischievous Kea (yes that is its real name and if you haven't tried it, you must!) at Atlas beer cafe with a group of exceptional folk and schemed about what tomorrow will bring.

Now this may sound like a bit of a brag fest and admittedly not every day is like this. But the reality is that we live here because we have realised that just because you have a mortgage and a family that life has no reason to stop. We live here because we have made the conscious decision to live every day to its fullest and not worry about the typical social pressures. And we live here to have a world of opportunity right on our doorstep and utilise every opportunity to get out & enjoy our natural surroundings.

I do however have to agree that yes Queenstown is on the more expensive side of the spectrum for everyday living, but so is Auckland or any other major city, I’d much rather have this view out of my window. And yes your right - Queenstown is full of tourists. People that are here because they have chosen to be, people that are here to have a great time & meet new people. People that at the end of the day enjoy a drink with newly made friends, laughing and recalling the moment they screamed in both fear and excitement of today’s activities.

I would much rather surround myself with these people than those complaining about the rigours of day to day life. It’s at about this point that I see people faces begin to change. The glass suddenly becomes half full again and thought of relocating begins to slowly plant a seed in the back of the mind. I’ll admit, Queenstown is probably not for everyone, but there is absolutely no place I’d rather be. I love this town and am a passionate advocate for Queenstown as a holiday destination, long term home, place of exceptional beauty and full of mind blowing activities and experiences.

Welcome to Queenstown, the place I call home. Whether it’s for a short time or a long time, I’m sure you are bound to fall in love with it as much as I have.

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