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Words by: Emma Patterson

Around the end of Winter 2019, my brother JC and I were feeling ready for some summer activities. We decided we would just do some touring around home until the snowpack forced us to embrace summer activities as opposed to doing a big summer ski trip down south. Three weeks later... Tickets and camper van were booked for a few weeks in New Zealand!

I asked for some time off from work, we packed our bags and jumped into the thirty-six hour journey to the Southern Alps. Our last leg of the flight there ended descending through the snowcapped peaks into the green valley of Queenstown, New Zealand.

We hoisted our excessively massive ski bags into the tiny camper van, and made our way to Wanaka where we would be based for the next couple of weeks while skiing Treble Cone Ski Area.

The winter hadn't quite hit hard yet, so we didn't expect the best skiing conditions. Our first few days on snow were chalky and wind-buffed in places which was an absolute blast, and some tough refreeze in others. While packing, I decided to bring my QST 118s as my resort ski due to the unexpected powder days everyday last August, and the QST PRO 120 as my resort boot. I was almost regretting that decision until I pressured the ski in a small chalky chute and it responded with a carve! Despite the ski's rocker-profile I was able to charge the ski in all conditions. 

I brought my Stella 106s mounted with the T MTN + leash for backcountry days. They're light enough for the climbs, and those paired with my QST 110 TR W boot made for some ripping turns on the way down.

The snow filled in a few days into our trip and made the skiing in resort all-time. The hiking terrain was open and allowed for many hot laps of creamy turns. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and everyone was out there doing their thing all day long. 

Unfortunately, we returned to Treble Cone ski area the following day expecting similar conditions, but the wind had scoured every face of the resort. We still had a blast, of course, but the previous few days of soft snow was truly the highlight of our trip. 

We've returned to the States, and though we're enjoying these last bits of summer weather, I know we're all counting down the minutes until the flakes fly.