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Snow gods bless the Land of the Long White Cloud

by Giles 15/08/2008 10:33:00

It's summertime in Britain and (surprise, surprise) it's cloudy again.  But, we mustn't complain because we are not alone in the world of the dark and gloomy weather.  Storm clouds have covered New Zealand for some time now, but instead of moaning about it, the Kiwis are begging them to stay.

In New Zealand there's a different kind of cloud cover at this time of year – a much more refreshing, more exciting, more exhilarating cloud; a cloud which has left skiers and snowboarders to revel in the best snow conditions in eight years.

Already thousands of Kiwis and Aussies have hit up the country's Southern Alps to play on the new world-class terrain parks and explore the famous back-country slopes.  Mount Hutt, the southern hemisphere’s highest ski field, is wallowing in a nearly 2.5m base with a soft powder surface. Nice. As the Ski Area Manager of Mount Hutt put it so perfectly, "the snow gods have truly blessed us this winter."

It doesn't seem to be a one-eyed opinion either - skiing superstar and World Cup champion Bode Miller, along with the Norwegian and Austrian downhill ski teams, have caught on to the rush and headed to Mount Hutt to train. 

If the thought of missing out on that fun strikes a chord of jealousy, then you’ll be pleased to hear New Zealand offers extended working holiday visas for UK nationals.  Even though the season has already started, if you are keen to hit the slopes than a NZ working holiday visa is the best way to do it.  You'll be able to work, ski, and travel for 12 months, and then apply for an 11 month extension if you find it too hard to tear yourself away. 

In a place like Queenstown, where adventure sports thrive all year round and snowfields turn into hiking playgrounds, leaving to come home won't be as easy as you thought.

- Jessica Bird is a writer for the New Zealand Visa Bureau, and has spent more than her fair share of time on the slopes.

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