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Karen Erenstrom

For most people the idea of coordinating a team of athletes and volunteers in another country, filling a different role daily, and negotiating athletes through a new language and customs would be quite daunting.

Not so for ‘Additional staff’ Karen Erenstrom. To date, the only task that has fazed her has been cooking a traditional Korean meal at the World Winter Games team’s training camp in front of the Attitude TV crew.  

“And it was my idea to begin with! It was certainly stressful but a lot of fun. All the athletes got involved preparing the meal,” says Karen. “I cheated and bought Kimchi [traditional Korean pickled cabbage eaten with every meal] but we did everything else from scratch. Kimchi itself is something you either love or hate. [My son] Nick loved it. I personally can’t eat it. It smells terrible, but apparently it’s very good for you. Thankfully I don't think I’ll be tasked with cooking Korean food while in Korea.”

Karen has been involved with Special Olympics New Zealand for about nine years, alongside her son Nicholas Fyfe. Skiing has always been a family affair.

“My parents skied and we’ve always skied as a family. I’ve been fortunate to ski locally in New Zealand and also in Europe, mostly in Austria. The fields there are huge and easy to ski as they are very groomed. Skiing off piste in New Zealand can be quite difficult and very hard on your joints.”

While Karen has travelled extensively and lived abroad for a decade, the 2013 World Winter Games was the first time she had visited Korea.

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