Celebrity OE for winners

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Snow junkies Mo Rush and John Rimmer got their fix a little easier last season thanks to a cash injection from their Queenstown skifield bosses.

Rush, 30, and Rimmer, 27 – who worked at The Remark­ables and Coronet Peak respectively – were inaugural winners of the 2008 NZSki-U Scholarships.

The scholarships were in recognition of all the hard work the duo did during the past ski season. They each received $2000 to get to Utah ski resorts in the United States for the northern winter.

Rimmer’s scholarship also included a job in repairs at Park City Mountain Resort, while Rush had already nabbed a job in sales at Canyons Resort.

“I was at the resort for all the park rats while [Rush] was at the one with all the celebrities,” Rimmer says.

Rush is pretty sure she spotted Woody Harrelson teaching someone to snowboard – or at least it was his stunt double, she chuckles.

Will Smith and his family were the Canyons Resort’s biggest client while she was there.

“Will Smith would spend months on end here snowboarding with his kids,” she says.

“Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, would make us laugh because she used to ride around the resort with a backpack which had speakers.”

Both Rush and Rimmer have returned to Queenstown for another season at NZSki. Rush takes up her post back in the admin team at The Remarkables while Rimmer is the new head of workshop at Coronet Peak.

Neither can say when they’ll see another summer as both plan to head back to the US after the New Zealand season.

This is Rush’s seventh back-to-back winter and Rimmer’s fifth.

“Anything over 25degC now and I just melt,” Rush says. “As soon as I first hit the snow I knew that was it – now I don’t know what else I would do, I’d miss it too much.

“I love coming back to Queenstown, there’s a great vibe here and a lot of the same people come back each year so the staff stay really close.

“Part of NZSki’s mission statement is to be the employer of choice. They actively encourage people to go away to other resorts but to come back and bring the knowledge you pick up back here – that’s part of the reason why they’ve introduced the scholarships.”

– Annie Perez