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A few weeks ago we were scheduled to have the Wanaka Tech Series on Thursday 31st-Friday 1st and Monday 4th-Tuesday 5th. Unfortunately Thursday was cancelled and Friday was a diabolical set up. The plan was to race Slalom. Females 1st run, Males 1st followed by the second run in the same order. Although there were only 31 girls we ran into a few issues and it ended up taking well over an hour to run everyone. I felt that more time was spent getting to know a few new faces that have ventured to NZ than actually racing! By the time we finished our first run the weather began to come in so they made the decision to cancel the men's race and run the women's second run on the same course. Luckily we were able to finish our race minutes before the wind picked up and the rain began to pour. I finished 9th scoring 66 points which is my third best result in the discipline. Unfortunately the rest of this series was cancelled. Between then and now the weather has been incredibly temperamental which has made for some interesting but worth-while training days as well as leaving us with a lot more snow. My skiing has improved hugely in the past couple months. I'm beginning to bring everything I've been working on, into more than just a few turns in each course.

Nationals began on Sunday  for  four fabulously forecast days of racing, peppered with the Coronet Cup races. I was slightly frustrated with parts of all my races as I found it hard to transfer what I had been achieving in training, into the actual races. For the National Champ GS I managed to ski into 10th place with a 56.64 result which is relatively consistent with my current points. I guess it is nice to know that even though I was not skiing to my full potential I can still gain points around or near my current set.  It just further shows me how much my skiing has improved this season alone. This performance landed me in 2nd for the National NZ women's competition. The next day I finished as the top New Zealand female in the Coronet Cup GS race. Heading into the Slalom's I was more nervous than I had anticipated and did not manage to ski to my potential at all in the first run of the National champs SL race. I did pick up my game in the second run and made up a reasonable amount of time but not enough to move up from 3rd for NZ women. However, this did make me determined to start the final day of racing where I had left off in that second run.  We began with fewer numbers than the previous day and the tough course caused 7 DNF's in the first run alone. I was glad to be one of the few that made it down with relatively good skiing. I skied better in the second run and again made up more time on the leader, scoring a 58.89 which is my second best result in the discipline. It has been a pretty good start to the season and I'm looking forward to the Treble Cone races in just over a weeks time. Fingers crossed they have enough snow to pull them off! Meanwhile, I have to head back to Canterbury on Saturday and sit my mock exams at the beginning of next week. Needless to say with all the training, racing, gym sessions and ski tuning I haven't been able to fit in half as much study as I anticipated. I get as much work done as possible but I the moment the ski season is over I will definitely have to just knuckle-down and make sure I get all my work done. It may be my last year of school but it is nowhere near being over!

On another note, the few days leading up to these races were hectic for me. I had to travel home for the Canterbury Schools ski race on Thursday.  Despite the terrible wind and weather that came in and out forcing the race to be pushed back further into the day, the team running it managed to get one run done before the weather put a stop to everything and kept us stuck up the hill for three hours! I won the individuals race and the StAC mixed team won for the fourth year in a row. Unfortunately, unless the date of the south island schools race is changed I will be unable to compete due to the ANC Downhill races being scheduled for that same weekend.

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In the middle of all this racing, I also headed up to Wellington to receive my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Hilary's award from the Governor General of New Zealand. I completed all the stages of the award alongside my best friend, and was so happy that we were able to receive this together at Government House. I never imagined meeting so many new and interesting people through something as simple and relaxing (I know, it sounds contradictory!) as tramping! I recommend this award to anyone with a slight interest in the outdoors or just trying to stretch yourself and figure out what you are really capable of. You'll definitely surprise yourself!  All the memories and experiences gained from completing this award are truly priceless and I couldn't have asked for a better person to trudge through this with me, than Hannah!

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