It is the norm for many Australians to live their whole life with out seeing snow. As beaches and deserts make up the majority of landscapes in Australia, snowy areas can be hard to access and quite expensive.

That’s why at the age of 20 I decided to plan a snow trip with dreams of learning to ski, explore glaciers and catch snow flakes on my tongue. As I wasn’t fond of the thin, muddy snow of Australia’s mountains, I decided to visit New Zealand for the ultimate snow experience!

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A great introduction to Queenstown was the pub crawl we did on the first night. We visited the ice bar where we drank out of glasses of ice, sat on real fur and attended a vodka mixology class. We also visited a pub called ‘Stock Market’ which was based on the supply and demand concept of the American stock market.

When we first walked in, a Kiwi beer called ‘Tui’ was the cheapest so we thought we’d try the local export. Throughout the night we saw Stella Artois rise and fall until it crashed at a mere $4 a pint. Every body rushed to the bar to buy it at such an insanely low price and as more people bought it we watched it rise all over again!

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Now that we’d filled our boots (ski boots that is!) with alcohol, it was time to actually see snow. We set off in our rental car at 9am. I wanted to get up early so we could make the most out of falling on my behind all day whilst attempting to ski. As we came to the bottom of the mountain, we saw a lady standing in the freezing cold with her thumb out. Do we pick up a hitch hiker?

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Clara was a 30 year old Irish lady that preferred to snowboard rather than ski and liked to tell New Zealand puns as we drove her up the mountain!

“What do you call a Kiwi in the knockout stages of the World Cup?”

“A Referee.”

Claire worked on the mountain as a snowboard instructor. After writing off her car in an accident 3 years prior, she started hitch hiking up the mountain and had been doing so ever since. She shared that it was a good way to meet people, was cheaper and let her practice her stand up routine!

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When we finally reached the mountain, I nervously put on my skis and set off for the ski lift. As I rose higher and higher on the ski lift, I thought with growing concern that maybe I was on the wrong slope. My concerns were confirmed when I reached the top of the mountain, pushed off the ski lift and ate snow straight away. The mountain was so steep I had tripped and fallen! If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, a fellow snowboarder had to board down the mountain to find the mountain ranger.

The whole day I bragged to my friends about how I got down the largest mountain the fastest. I was miles ahead of them by the time they got to the bottom. I chose not to mention that the ranger had given me a lift down the mountain in his snow mobile!

-Jen.