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Category Archives: trips
Here’s an account of the recent trip to China from a 9-year old’s perspective.
Skiing was awesome. There was a big building where everyone watched us perform. There were lots of people and we skied great. The Chinese team would ski an act and then we would ski an act. It was really fun climbing to the top of the pyramids and seeing the crowd. We also did lots of cool jumping acts. My favorite was this cool trick called the “Wruckus” (note: this is a jump performed by Rob Wruck who spins 180 degrees on the ramp and then does a backflip landing the jump backwards). I also liked our act where the doubles couples tandem pulled the swivel skiers. The Chinese ended their show with four skiers flying high in the air on four fly boards with jet skis. It was cool. The second show I was on top of the fast pyramid for the one-act show. We went really fast and it was hard to hang on. I liked watching the jumpers do their backflips beside me. The final show we did a really long four-high pyramid. We followed the Chinese team who also did a four-high next to us. Then we climbed the pyramid into twin three-high pyramids. When the skiing was done, people swarmed around me for pictures. All the girl skiers from China had their picture taken with me and one even lifted me up. I was also interviewed on tv. China was amazing and so cool. I’m so glad I went.
- Hannah Thompson
Here are some more pictures and videos that she included with her account of the trip. http://youtu.be/2vXD74Megcc
Here are a few pictures that have come back from China through social media…
Thanks to Brea for sharing these pictures!
Here’s the second update we’ve received back from the group over in China. This update is from Tiffany.
After arriving to Liuzhou on Thursday the group decided to check out the city. The water festival was going on near our hotel, which had people running an inflatable obstacle course like the one on the show wipeout, and also people of all ages in a swimming pool. We all thought they were just having a good time splashing around, but after further observation we figured out they were trying to catch fish that were in this pool.
We finally hit the water Friday afternoon for a practice with the Chinese. The weather was beautiful and the water conditions were not too bad. We had a great practice. Our 4 high pyramid was up down and in BEAUTIFULLY. Everyone was shocked how smooth it went. We were all really happy with the way we skied.
Competition day was today. We had two “competitions”. The Chinese skied an act then we did, having 6 acts total for each team. We skied well with a few minor falls on the first show, but still lost to the Chinese by only 12 points. We all gathered for lunch and then skied the second show. We once again had a great show as did the Chinese and won by 5 points! Overall the Chinese won, but we were all VERY happy with how we skied.
Here are some pictures, and a video…
On Monday of this week (Sept 30), a group of Mad-City skiers and a few friends from other teams headed over to China to compete in a water ski show competition. The group included Mad-City members Russ Tieman, Mike Imhof, Bryon Thompson, Hannah Thompson, Kyle Ager, Teri Bell, Hannah Zink and Tiffany Leck. Joining them from other ski teams were Brea Imse (former Mad-City member and current Chain Skier), Arik Lebda (Wonderlake), Robb Wruck (Tomahawk), Lance Robbins (Tampa), John Tyler Sacone (Tampa), Travis Bouley (Tampa) and Angie Romme (Wonderlake).
Here is the first update from Teri we’ve heard about the team’s travels…
Much of our trip so far has involved an inexorable amount of hours spent looking at the seat backs ahead of us. Our first flight out of Chicago was delayed by several hours and was coupled by a technical problem preventing us from viewing in flight movies. Upon arrival we were a tired rag tag bunch.
After a quick shower and the first of our famous turntable lazy Susan dinners we were ready to hit the town. We toured downtown skyscrapers known as the Bundt by boat. We were greeted with an aura so brilliant that left most mouths open an tongues silent. Later that night those who did not immediately retreat to bed ventured to the 3rd floor Flying Elephant Russian Bar in the hotel. Exciting times ensued. That’s all we’ll say about that.
The next day we were treated with more of the gems that makeup Shanghai. We visited a Chinese art museum and marveled at 100 meter long moving recreation of a traditional painting projected onto a curved wall. We were able to get another glance at the downtown skyline when we made a quick stop at one of the skyscrapers and took in the breathtaking view from the 94th floor observation deck. The day was completed with a show of acrobatics and grace from the Chinese Circus. Again, many of us were left with our mouths ajar from the seemingly superhuman displays of the talented performers. Team members had another early morning with a hotel departure time of 5 am to catch our flight to Liu Zhou. The flight was uneventful.
Oct 6 –1st Tournament Day in Liuzhou–we got to the site at 8:30 for a 9:30 show, with still no practice allowed yet. However “change of plans”, practice was allowed for both teams. The jump ramp side curtains grabbed the jumpers’ ropes and the jump was hardly waxed, so our boyz really were brave for attempting jumps. Then the Chinese practiced and “crashed and burned” jumping too, so than they decided the ramp needed attention. Upon our suggestion they went out and got candles and the waxing began (notice how many Chinese are in the pix of the jump being waxed….)
We completed 2 shows (approx. 11 am and 3:30 pm) and they went well. The Chinese is winning by 15 points at the close of the day, on their point system.
Our blond teens are getting to know the younger Chinese girls a bit. They sat together at lunch!
Hannah was interviewed for tv. (pix) They kept asking her “how do you feel about…..” When they asked about the jumping she candidly said “I feel that the Chinese jump is sticky and needs wax”. That quote may lay on the cutting room floor.
Today, Oct 7, we have Opening Ceremonies (yes OPENING) and then 1 show, then bustle to the hotel, pack and go to the final banquet, then jump on a domestic flight to Shanghai.
We are nearing the end of our fantastic China adventure.
Oct 7 (2nd Update) — Our “Wonder-City Team” (new nick-name) took 2nd Place — by a close margin.
Wavy conditions and moving jump ramp, and we skied like Champs!
Gabbie Taschwer got MVP girl of tournament. She is honored, but said it should have gone to Laura for sure. So together they will share it.
Attached are pix of the final ceremony.
Ski Strong – Live Strong.
Mad-City Boyz made it safe and sound to Shanghai yesterday afternoon. A total 36 hour trip for them before they saw a bed, because directly after they landed in Shanghai we all took a domestic flight to the city of Guiluin.
Today we sight-see in Guiluin, after 2 days in Shanghai. The pictures attached are Shanghai.
Shanghai is an amazing city, 25 million people! The last 20 year’s growth super-sized it to the world’s largest city, they are finishing the 2nd tallest building in the world soon. We went to the top of the 3rd tallest building and looked out over the city and it was immense. Pollution clouds hung above the incredible infrastructure, as a stark reality check. We walked the Bund area in Shanghai, the French/European post WWII settlement area. It holds FABULOUS Euro mansions. When we rested on an open pavillion area, so many Chinese crowded around the blonds and wanted pictures, we eventually had to move on. They were treated like famous movie stars!
So we moved from Central China to Southern China now. The landscape and amenities changed a lot. We are sticking close to our bottled water!
The Chinese word for beer and butt are really similar, so we taught the newly arrived Mad-City boyz the word for butt, and told them it is for beer — then we will let them try and order that at the next dinner!!
Ski Strong – Live Strong!
Pictures from this update:
October 3rd – Second Update
We are in Southern China, the city of Guilin which is one of China’s most picturesque cities because of the Peaks. (Peaks are like massive tall pointy hills, pix attached)
In the morning we toured the Jingjiang Prince Palace, which is located at the foot of Duxiu Peak, in the center of the city, and it was the official residence of Prince Jingjiang of Ming dynasty. Attached is a picture of the whole group at the gate.
Then we bused 2 hours through beautiful country-side to a small city with a huge market in the middle of a circle of Peaks. Great market– most of us ran around like maniacs trying to buy “copies” of Northface, Designer purses and Sunglasses etc. The exchange is best managed by dividing by 6. So when have a 100 Yuan it is worth $16–but never show them how much you have! Carol and Carly McGowan thrive on dealing with the market traders–knowing when they get them mad, they got their lowest price. Another strategy is buy a few items at a time for the lowest price. We ALL scored with some great buy or another. After intense shopping, Tony Wang found a Budweiser and enjoyed it.
The traffic is horrendous, because we are in the middle of their National Day and holiday week. Plus, people drive aggressive and use their horns ALOT. There are always 100s of mo-peds zigzagging in and out of the cars like bees. (carrying at least 2 people). We got stuck in an intersection near the market for some time and we agreed it would have been faster to walk, however we all would have likely been run over, so we stayed put.
我们把我们的爱 — We send our love from China.
All meals are traditional Chinese food. We are trying to be respectful of the beautiful food, but really do miss our familiar favorites.
October 4th & 5th
We arrived in Liuzhou where we will ski yesterday Oct 4.
We were dropped off at the wrong hotel and walked 3 blocks in the crazy traffic to the correct hotel. Pix attached.
The ski site is a huge area, posters of Mad-City 2010 Liuzhou Team are all over. Pix attached.
We tried to get a practice arranged today Oct 5, but they just dropped the jump in an hour before dusk and the starting dock was still being assembled when we finally left at dark.
We will ski big tomorrow, 2 shows with no practice, at a brand new site with different boats — Law Park and Liuzhou China…where champions are made!
Bye Bye. (how Chinese say good-bye)
Don sent back some more pictures they’ve taken while site seeing. It looks like they’ve made it to a big city, but I don’t have any more details other than the pictures shown below.
A brief update on the competition they just finished:
We lost the competition by 7 points. Skied really well yesterday, but the jump sunk and without jumping with these guys… John had to reorganize. He has done a GREAT job!. We did a barefoot pyramid with Gabbie on top. So cool.
The good inboard overheated right before our ending pyramid so we had to scale back. We were going to do circles with 2 3 highs converting to 4 high. We still wouldn’t have won
After the competition was over they had a travel & site seeing day. Here’s the short update from Don:
Great day touring a small water village in China. 1000 years old. Now in Souzhou(?) for a day and then on to Shanghai tomorrow night.
The crane boat is how they took the jump out
Here’s some pictures he sent back (sorry they don’t get very big when you click on them, but this is what was sent back):
(Sept 29) Yesterday we wrapped up the 2-day Jin Xi Lake Competition. China’s score placed them in 1st and us in a close margin behind, in 2nd… Arik Lebda got most valuable male in the Jin Xi tournament. The tournament trophy looks like a huge flower vase, we hope to bring it to the ski team banquet to drink out of it.
We did ski great. The second show their jump sank and 1 boat choked, so we got creative on the spot. Our solid individual and team skills made it easy to successfully put out new strap and conventional partners, new barefoot montage including barefoot pyramid, and swiveling next to a pyramid in a circle pattern, to name a few.
Fun China Tidbits:
- A trash can said (exactly as spelled here): “Protect Circum Stance begin with me”.
- Our hotel room key controls the electricity in our room, we slide it into a panel for the electricity to run in the room. Fabulous idea for electricity consumption control, however they do allow for 2 room keys.
- The hot phrase for the trip is officially “Plans change!”
Today we pack up everything and head out to a new city. Travel will include some site-seeing along the way.
Thanks Mad-City for this opportunity of a life-time! Ski Strong, Live Strong.
Sept 27 – hot and partly sunny. We had good practices and skied the opening ceremonies at Jin Xi Lake.
The Chinese had no falls, we had a couple –but all went great.
Dinner for 200+ involved with the event included the local crab delicacy and rice wine. The teen girls almost fell asleep at dinner but got their second wind and enjoyed a deep-fried fruit that “tastes like chicken nuggets” by the end. The Mayor of the City showered attention on Matayla because she reminded him of her daughter. He fed her crab off chop sticks and Matayla was a super sport and ate it.
We are in a first class hotel, can walk to the ideally laid out and beautiful decorated ski site and we are all having a great time.
Fun Facts – China cannot access Facebook or YouTube, the government blocks it. It costs $10K to get your car license and you can only drive on certain assigned days of the week.
Tomorrow brings the 2nd day of competition.
Here are a few more pictures from the banquet on the day they arrived and from the first day of skiing (click on a thumbnail to view a larger version):