Simi Hamilton


From Down South

Topic: General News

Okay, I’ve been holding off long enough. It’s too much of a task to wrap my head around writing one huge post to summarize everything that has been going on since our camp in Bend in May (and, without irony, the last time I wrote a blog update). So I’ll put that challenge off for a little longer and hopefully revisit the idea of writing a short novel about Stratton, Vermont, surfing, and humidity soon and with more gusto. So, to keep things simple, to the point, relevant, and hopefully inspiring, Here’s what’s gone down for the last 11 days: Skiing. On snow.

It’s been an interesting winter down here in Wanaka, New Zealand so far. I’m told by local knowledge (local knowledge meaning our buddy, Steve, who runs the Snow Farm and Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground. And who is also, un-coincidentally, pretty much the coolest dude in the world), that it dumped snow here during one storm in early June. Since then, it’s been drier than a desert in drought. So, maybe we haven’t quite had the conditions that we’ve had down here in the year’s past, but it’s still New Zealand, and there’s still some km’s out there, and no matter what, this place is always a rad place to come and train. One of the coolest parts of training down here during their winters is that you can immerse yourself in the winter landscape up high (the Snow Farm is apprx 30 switchbacks up from the Cardrona Valley floor) and then 30 minutes later you can find yourself in shorts and a t jogging in 65 degree weather along some rugged coast line or lake shore.

Teammates Andy and Noah headed towards Wanaka on the Glendhu Bay Track. A cool run by the water.

Although we haven’t seen any snow fall from above yet, we’ve had some pretty awesome weather. The landscape lends itself to amazing cloudbanks, sunsets, and sunrises, and the 360° views offer glimpses of some of the most impressive peaks in the Southern Hemisphere.

Training has been going well. I rolled my ankle a few weeks ago on a run in Vermont, and I’m still trying to sort out some persistent and lingering alignment and ligament issues with that (most of them stemming from a bad ankle accident 8 years ago), but it’s given me a chance to get creative with my training. Yesterday, all of us North Americans skied a 15 km classic time trial on the trails around the lodge at the Snow Farm. Conditions were pretty much perfect for some good klister skiing. Rock hard tracks. Fast, icy downhills. And cold temps. For the most part, the course lended itself to double poling, and since I’m still not feeling great about striding on steeper hills (especially with the potential of a slipped kick), I decided to put my guns to the test and see how I would stack up to all the other dudes who were striding the course on klister skis. I was pretty encouraged with how I did, especially since I feel like my double pole has always been my Achilles’ heel. As a bigger skier, it certainly helped that it was super hard packed, but I think that I’ve made some solid adjustments with help from my SMS coach Gus Kaeding, and those showed yesterday.

Well, we’ve got a few more days of training here before we board the long flight back to the motherland. The forecast calls for colder temps thru this week. It’s always hard to leave this place, especially when the conditions are great, but it sure is nice to get back to the long days of summer, dinners outside on the porch, and some final days at the swimming holes. I’ll leave you with a short video I put together from a bunch of totally random clips I found on my computer the other day.


2 Responses

  1. Dan Packman says:

    hey Simi, good to hear things are going well. focused training, spartan accomodations, great food, skiing at the door. 5 yrs ago this week I went there- skied over 50hrs in 10 days. did other fun stuff like a trip to Dunedin and a few days on the Coromandel. did you know that Dave Knoop used to be an instructor at southern hemisphere proving grounds? teaching test drivers how to manuever an M5 on snow at 150km/hr in the dark. skiing was a bit thin in Bend this spring, but decent until early June. hopefully only 8 weeks until it starts anew. Good luck this season.
    Best Regards,


    • Simi says:

      Thanks for the support Dan! I’m sure the Snow Farm hasn’t changed too much since you were down here last… still a great spot. And that’s a funny story about Dave. I’ll have to ask him about that when I see him. Hoping you guys have a great winter with lots of snow in Bend. We’ll see you back there next spring for our annual May camp at Bachelor! -Simi

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