Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Aros Visit continued again

by Liam

Day 3

I woke up that morning in a silent house, but just to make sure I no one was awake I crept into the playroom and sure enough Colin and JP were half way through a monopoly game, which meant they had been up a while. Colin has amazing luck in Monopoly and had to play easy on JP in their game because he was winning by so much.

They were so into their game they did not hear me so I said “Good Morning.” Both of them jumped up and ran off to Gracie’s quarters screeching, “Now we can wake her up!” Poor Gracie!

A couple of seconds later a happy JP And Colin marched out of Gracie’s room, followed by a tired looking Gracie. I could tell I had a crazy week ahead of me, a really crazy week.

Suddenly the loud thump of someone coming down the stairs disturbed my thoughts. The person coming down the stairs turned out to be Mom coming to wake us up.

“Coronet Peak today,” She reminded us. Coronet Peak is the main ski mountain for Queenstown and it is the one that Q.A.S.T. operates on. It was Monday so we were missing school but then again, school skiing is on Monday so all I missed was a 2-hour ski lesson and Colin missed a day with Q.A.S.T. which he gets millions of so it wasn’t that bad.

I was amazed at how long it took to get ready for the day and in the car. One thing was for sure; it was faster than the previous day.

The drive to Coronet was much faster than going to Treble Cone. In less than and hour Mom, Gracie and I were (the rest of the crowd was at home and Mom had to help with the school skiing which meant getting up early) on the mountain, skis on.

Gracie and I followed Mom and her little group of school skiing kids around a while before going off on own. It was fun getting to show someone around instead of getting shown around by my friends. Coronet Peak is a small mountain and it is safe to ski there without an adult.

Before long the other car reached the mountain and we got a ring on the walky-talky.

Since the Aros (minus Gracie plus Colin) had not skied yet we started with a warm-up run.

On the chair I asked Colin what he did with JP. As I was guessing his replied was “Monopoly.”

Straight afterwards we took a run down Back-Bowls; the hardest run on the mountain that is not that hard. Coronet is easy compared to the ski fields in Colorado.

Mom and Wendy left early while the boys, plus Gracie sped around catching a last couple runs. Before long we too decided to leave.

That night 0% of the kids wanted to go to bed but when we finally did, we fell asleep in seconds.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Aros Visit continued

by Liam

Day 2

The creaking of my door awakened me that morning. It was Mom, waking me up. I asked her what time it was. Her reply was 5:30 AM! Then I remembered that we were going to Treble Cone (a ski mountain in Wanaka). The drive was about two hours and we had to be there at nine so that was why we were up so early.

We all were rushing around like madmen that morning, trying to be ready in time, which we did, but just barely. I went in the boys’ car with Ed, Pop, Colin, JP and myself. In the girls’ car there was Mom, Wendy and Gracie.

To get to Treble Cone we had to go on extremely curvy roads (most roads in N.Z. are curvy) so by the end of the drive both Gracie and I where rather green.

Colin’s Q.A.S.T. group had only 2 people that day including Colin and we are good friends with Colin’s instructor, Natalie, so JP, Gracie and I got to take free lessons with her for the day.

We did a couple of warm-up runs before inspection time. Inspection is where you get to go over the course slowly, to see hard turns, icy bits, fast corners, etc.

After inspection we got one more run in. We pretended we were going through the gates, red gate, blue gate, red gate, blue gate, red gate, blue gate.

Going up the chair I realized it was finally time to race! We would get two goes, and the time from both goes would be added together to make our final time. I would guess there were about 40 racers, 5 in each category.

As we pulled up to the racecourse a voice yelled “Colin Kirkpatrick you are next up. Colin?”

Soon Colin was swishing down the course, going between the gates, tucking when he could.

JP’s turn was not long after Colin’s. I thought my turn would be close to his but it wasn’t. After waiting a couple of years it was my turn.

Standing in the starting gate is a tense thing. I learnt in all the many races that it is important to go fast when going through the gate. On this certain course I leant that you shouldn’t go to fast out of the gate because I slid off the course and had to lose a lot of speed to get back on. There was a really fast turn in the course so I could gain a lot of speed back on it. The end of the course was flat and straight so it was necessary and possible to tuck on it.

I finished my first run with 39 seconds. By the time I reached the bottom of the course, Colin, JP and I where all starving but we still had to wait for Gracie to do her run. After a decade or what seemed like one, Gracie reached the bottom. Between Gracie and I there must have been 11 racers.

Before you could say “abracadabra,” all four of us where sitting at a table with energy bars in our mouths. We each managed to have a cup of water and an energy bar before we had to go to the racecourse for our second run.

I forgot to say, from the beginning of the race onwards we all had our jackets off to go faster when racing and the jerseys were too tight over our jackets so we were cold.

Within a couple of minutes I was in the starting gate again. This time I knew about the hard first turn so I was able to go faster on that and I knew that the course would be icier. Also I was able to get into a better tuck at the end. With all the things that were easier I was able to cut I second off my score and complete the course in 38 seconds!

Our results for the race where all not that good, Colin did the best of us for his age group.

The drive home and dinner that night was fairly uneventful except for the fact we went out to dinner.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Aro Family’s Visit In Queenstown With Us

by Liam

Day 1

My eyes cracked open to see sunlight streaming in from my window. I have to go to school today I thought, my mind only half awake. Then suddenly I remembered, it was Saturday and the Aro Family was arriving in Queenstown to spend a week with us.

The Aro family was on our list of our close friends in the states. We became friends when Colin met JP, the youngest Aro, in their first year of preschool. Then Ed, JP’s dad started a soccer team with Pop (my Dad). We all went to the same school, The Logan School, and my last year there I was in the same class as JP. Also Mom taught Gracie at Logan one year.

The morning passed slowly, partly because I could not wait to see JP and partly because Colin was at Q.A.S.T. (Queenstown Alpine Ski Team). I spent the day helping Mom get ready for their arrival and playing in our basement.

Finally the time came for us to leave. Yippy! The fifteen-minute drive into Queenstown seemed to take fifteen hours. When we pulled up at the school, our meeting place, Mom announced that we were 3 minutes late, pretty good for us.

We knew their car had a ski-rack on top, so with a quick glance around we could tell they weren’t there. Seconds later I spotted a car with ski-racks driving toward the school. Yesss, I thought, it’s them! But then the most disappointing thing happened; the car drove past the school. As it drove past us, I looked in and I could tell, for sure, that it was not them.

After waiting what seemed like a decade, a car with ski-racks pulled up. Wendy, JP’s and Gracie’s Mom, waved at me from the front seat of the car. At last they were here!

As soon as the car pulled to a stop JP jumped out, and ran over to me, all happy and excited. After JP and I said hi, JP’s first question was, “Where’s Colin?” I told him Colin was skiing and pointed out the mountain he was on.

The first thing we did was walk up to Café 111 and ordered lunch. 111 here is the equivalent to 911 in the U.S. Since they had all day breakfast almost every one had a second breakfast.

After a brief lunch we went to rent skis for the Aro family. That went fast too and before I knew it we were driving home.

When we arrived home we took all of JP’s and Gracie’s stuff downstairs. Gracie would sleep in my room, Colin and JP would share Colin’s room and I would take Mom’s meditation room. Soon Colin got home and joined us downstairs.

Dinnertime came before long and soon all eight of us were huddled around the dinner table eating soup.

It was sad when dinner ended and we had to go to bed. We tried to get in another 15 minutes playing but all efforts failed. As I lay in my bed drifting of to sleep, I could hear JP and Colin saying last good nights to each other and I could hear the cat, Ollie, enjoying the mess in the playroom. He can be so loud, but I was so tired I fell asleep anyway.