Not that I’m trying to escape – I love this city but you know it has been a long winter and the huge tractor beam that is an LA summer is a massive reason to slip out of the country for a few weeks. I’ll be looking to post a bit to my travel blog while I’m over there (there’s a feed in the top right of this blog) but I can’t promise too much, I mean what sort of holiday is it if I’m spending all my time at some dingy internet cafe watching the second hand on my watch because every minute is another dollar …

It’s been an action-packed week leading up to departure and I’ll break it down into nice little paragraphs (because that’s the kind of organised writer I am) …

Check out Christchurch’s latest novelty – the TV One Ice Dome skating rink

As part of the Christchurch Winter Festival, some bright sparks thought it would be a good idea to build a skating rink in the middle of Cathedral Square. Cool, I mean why not? Trouble is its indoors and about the size of my bathroom. But for novelty value it’s worth it and I tripped down there with a few from the City Council to see what all the fuss was about. We got there after indulging just a little at Coyotes around the corner and handed over out tickets and joined the queue.

First impressions are good – the photo lightshow in the dome is impressive and almost worth going just for that. Strange thing but we get to the end of the queue and it turns out they don’t have any skates our size, unless we have feet the size of that really big guy from The Princess Bride, so er now what? Well fortunately some others in our group did get normal sized skates and kindly let us use them, phew disaster averted. I guess you have to expect a few teething problems with something brand new.

The rink itself is not much for skating on, quickly getting carved up and turning the rink into something resembling snow drifts but for the sake of circling the perimeter a few times it works a treat. Overall, I’d give it a 6 out of 10 but at least now I can save I’ve done it and the video below is proof! More (official) information about the ice dome…

Ohau – just go for the view

Last weekend it was a short 3.5 hour drive from Christchurch that got us to Ohau lodge, not far from Mt Cook. The weather was absolutely amazing – two days of clear sunny skies which made it perfect for mountain gazing. Our destination was the lodge at the base of the Ohau skifield and would be our safe haven for the weekend – the lovely staff had in the preceding weeks juggled the group I was organising quite a few times so thank you to them for their quiet patience and perseverance. We were ready for some boarding so after dumping our stuff heading up for an afternoon session – the views on the access road going up were even more amazing, looking out over Lake Ohau and for miles around. Fortunately Kev took the truck otherwise we would’ve needed to do the whole stop and put chains on business – messy business that. I hadn’t been snowboarding for about a year so the first few runs were very sketchy but I soon got the turns linking and I was swooshing in no time, enjoying the fresh air and sun and hoping like hang I wouldn’t injure myself before my overseas mission. They had an Irish themed day on the hills so a few strangely dressed towies and slightly busier than usual crowds but still very much a club feel. I couldn’t help myself but I had to go through the terrain park pretty much every time, by the end of the day I was getting the hang of the jumps and the sweet downhill pieces.  Get back to the lodge and it was straight to the hot tub – luxury soaking the aching muscles, meeting new friends and enjoying a nice bourbon and coke, watching the sun set over Mt Cook. Later that night (in between rocking out to the Black Velvets Irish band) I got some serious star gazing in and some night skimming with the singles.

The next day was more of the same on the hill and I remember thinking to myself going up the chairlift – wow here I am snowboarding the southern alps of NZ and next week I’ll be cruising the beaches of LA; no complaints from me! Nursing a few sore muscles we headed home, overall a great weekend – hats off to the staff at the lodge and my trusty Team Ohau 09!

Customised YouTube players

I thought I’d just sign off with a quick gadget I came across on YouTube that allows you to create your own customised player, based on either your own clips or ones you’ve collected as favourites on those many hours wasted watching mindless clips – below is a little example I put together based on one of my playlists. Thanks for the memories…

Two sleeps before I escape Christchurch
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