Sept. 5, 2018 – Slinger, WI – Lexi Bullis, an 18-year-old graduate of Slinger High School, is in New Zealand at the Junior World Championship snowboard competition. Bullis is one of three girls from the U.S. to be invited to participate.
Training on Saturday and Sunday went really well. We had to wake up around 4 a.m. to make breakfast and leave by 5:45 a.m.
We drove up the road and got to watch the sunrise over the mountain range across the valley and it was the most amazing sight. Because it is still winter here sunrise doesn’t happen until 7 a.m.
Training was from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. Coaches Justin Reiter and Lynn Ott had me work on a few things before the races. I was a quick study and the coaches said my riding improved tremendously; I could definitely feel the difference.
The courses are really fun, however during training the snow didn’t hold out well as ruts formed fast because so many good riders use the same line. Both days we got off the hill around 10 a.m.
Food in New Zealand varies a lot and meat pies are one of my favorite. I’ve had steak and venison. It’s similar to a pot pie but smaller and more delish. Come to find out it is also a British food.
Since eating out hasn’t always been the easiest or healthiest, I have learned to cook on this trip! My teammate Kaiya and I have made everything from steak to pasta to my now famous breakfast sandwiches. There is a sausage native to New Zealand called the New York Porker and it is by far the best I’ve ever had. It has been a ton of fun.
Monday was supposed to be our off day from snowboarding but during the early afternoon, the U.S. guys decided we were going to go on a 10 km hike. We hopped in the van and drove through the valley and straight into the mountain range.
There were signs along the fence-lined roads that said ‘Animal crossing next 20 km.’
The road turned from pavement to pasture and animals, including sheep and cows, were everywhere. At one point the car in front of us had to slam on its brakes and swerve out of the way from hitting a cow; it walked across the road like it owned it. As we passed that same cow turned and almost walked straight into the side of our van.
The trailhead started at the end of the road and the glacier hike followed a river uphill into the mountains. It was 3.5 miles there and 3.5 miles back, but the view was outstanding.
The higher we hiked the colder it got and we finished where a recent avalanche had gone through. The ground was very soft and everything was broken up. It was nearly dark by the time we got back and we had a total of 3.5 hours of hiking under our belt.
Tuesday was our final training day before the race and all of the countries had finally arrived including China, Russia, Japan, Holland, Germany, Portugal, Canada, U.S., Sweden, Poland, and a few others I’m forgetting.
We were instructed to only take a few runs and not burn ourselves out. I felt good on my practice runs and went in for the day.
In the afternoon, we did a small recovery session and had a team meeting. It was late by the time we had a chance to eat so the girls, Kaiya, coach Lynn and me, decided to get some Indian Curry. I have never had Indian food and it was absolutely amazing. We went to bed early to get ready for race day.
A big thanks to my sponsors for helping make this tour possible including: Donek Snowboards for the sweet rides that have served me well, Glacier Hills Credit Union, Lifestar Ambulance, and Attitude Sports. This is an experience of a lifetime and I appreciate the community support.