Three weeks ago, a fellowship formed to destroy the Ring. The One Ring to rule them all. Battling the harsh but breathtaking terrain of New Zealand. Through clear skies and blizzards, they continued, knowing the importance of what they were doing. Wait… Sorry, wrong story. The location holds true to my most recent adventure. August is the time of year where I make the long travel down to the Snow Farm Lodge. It has been an annual Training Camp of mine now for several years. Each year it proves yet again how beneficial it is. This year was no exception. It was a fantastic camp in all regards.
There were a few occasions over the three weeks, where the weather blew in; hard! Trust me; I felt very much like the Fellowship of the Ring as they battled the blizzards in the mountains. With no trees, up at the Snow Farm, getting your bearings while skiing in a white out is, in one word, adventurous. Luckily, there are no rock giants to avoid, or so far I haven’t seen any, mind you there is that one rock I don’t trust. In those conditions, the only thing you can do it look down and try to keep an eye on the track. If the track hasn’t blown in already, that is. Once that happens you must rely on the memory of skiing the trails or end up falling over the edge. A little exciting when your next step might put you into a deep snow bank. Puts a bit of an edge to any workout!
My three focuses for this camp were volume, on-snow ski technique, and shooting. I got the hours of skiing in, that is for sure. New Zealand has traditionally been one of the larger volume blocks of training that I have throughout any year. I can remember not that many years ago where the longer workouts were tough to get through, both mentally and physically. What seemed like dreadful climb each lap, are merely slight inclines now hardly noticeable. How times change. The most valuable is the time spent on the snow, working on technique. Skiing in an efficient way on the snow is the key to speed. You can have the biggest, strongest engine but if you can’t put that power effectively into the snow, you will be spinning your tires, going nowhere. It’s weird to have that feeling where you know you are skiing differently. It feels awkward, but at the same time, you know this is how you should be skiing. Every movement feels exaggerated, but that is part of the learning process. Those technique breakthroughs are awesome; the tough part is remembering that feeling and then repeating it a few thousand times to ingrain it.
Then there was the shooting. I have always been a fan of the range at the Snow Farm, but this year was something else. It took me a day to find my groove, but once I did, I had some of my best shooting. I was confident in the relationship between my rifle and me, and we created some beautiful art- I mean groups. I was so on point that I was giving Legolas and Gimli a run for their money in the Battle of the Hornburg at Helms Deep.
Gandalf the Gray even made an appearance in one of our intensities. During an intensity, as we chased down towards the final corner that would surely determine victory. My competitor was suddenly taken down. As I continued racing towards the end of the cave, I could hear shouting in the distance, “You shall not pass!” There I go again, mixing up my stories!
Though what the Lord of the Rings and my camp do have in common are there are some mighty feasts. In my case, every meal felt like a feast, where I ate far too much. I wonder if the feasts of Middle Earth were as good as the food I had? (I’m sure they were, Thanks, to the Flying Trestles- hint, check out the credits for catering in the Lord of the Rings films.)
It has been incredible to have been there and back again, but I’m looking forward to the next few weeks to recover and prepare for the next epic adventure. Mid-September I hit the road once again, this time for warmer weather.

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