Summer Camp for the Winter Olympics

07 Oct Summer Camp for the Winter Olympics

Here’s a fun post by Joe Drape about some of the world’s best snowboarders who are training in New Zealand, Summer Camp for the Winter Olympics.  It includes an interesting video of the “training lifestyle” and some great photos:

Every August, the world’s best snowboarders come to work on big-air and physics-defying tricks in this tiny town hidden by mountains and surrounded by sheep. The athletes flock here for one reason: Wanaka has the only Olympic-size halfpipe open anywhere in the world at that time of year.

That means, especially heading into an Olympic year, Wanaka becomes a ground zero of aerial somersaults and 360-degree flips that is unlike anything else on the planet.

“It’s like ‘Groundhog Day,’ ” said J. J. Thomas, a United States bronze medalist in 2002 at the Salt Lake Games. “We do the same thing over and over.”

But in Wanaka, the days are broken up with field trips to settings so stunning they belong in a snow globe. It’s a place for camaraderie, where riders from Norway and Russia, Spain and Japan share a playground in the afternoon and, often, a Speight’s beer at night in the local pubs.

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