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New Zealand
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Thread: New Zealand

  1. #1
    Furnished the apartment Hacski's Avatar
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    New Zealand

    I thought I might start a thread to post the odd picture from New Zealand, kind of a blog I guess.

    It is Thursday evening here and we in Canberra and have an early drive to Sydney on Saturday to attend to various matters and will stay the night at an airport hotel for a 5AM check-in for the flight to NZ early Sunday. It will be late afternoon before we will get to Wanaka where we will have about six or seven nights.

    Guess what: (a) NZ is having the worst season in years and (b) the snow pack on our slopes is over 5ft, and climbing. El Nino has just about the whole continent very very dry except the far south east corner is getting storms coming up from Antartica. We booked the flights months ago and prepaid accommodations for the last week of July so as to get a cheaper rate. I briefly wondered about changing flights etc to go for that week only but it would have been a bit messy. So it may well end up being more of a chill out vacation for us - sleep until we wake, do some hikes, try skiing every second day (you know the routine: up early, then a brunch when the slopes get busy, and the cafe is quieter, then head out to the slopes over normal lunch time then off the slopes about 2pm).

    We are back Aug 2nd and MrsH, will be go with her sister, who is also going to be in NZ with us, to the local slopes for a day or two. Then she'll have a couple of days with me and friends, and I'll stay on for two more, the following week. So we are doing OK.

    Unfortunately MissH can't come with us as she is back on campus for the spring semester, although she's home for the weekend to study and go skiing Sunday, when it will be nudging 6ft snowpack, with a classmate who also is from Canberra, and skis. She heard this week that she topped Anatomy last semester. More good news was that MissH received her certificate of appointment as Officer Cadet into the medical stream of the airforce, like a Midshipman in the navy. Basically they sponsor her remaining 3.5 years at med school in return for 4.5 years of service after her internship: pay her a nice salary while she studies plus her tuition then an avenue into the sort of work she sees herself doing - ICU, emergency, sports med, that kind of thing.


    I guess the main downside is she'll have to be on duty at an airforce establishment over her relatively short summer vacation rather than being able to come skiing again with us to Nth America.


    It is off to work to wrap up what's on the desk tomorrow and then to relax at last.

    We did manage a local day trip last Sunday and had a pretty good time, shaking the cobwebs out of the old legs. Here is a brief sample:


    Note the range off in the distance, termed the 'main range' which has Australia's highest 'mountain' Kosciuszko and the trees in the second half of the clip - they haven't dropped their leaves for the winter but lost them in a wildfire some years back, could be late 2004 IIRC, and they haven't regenerated.

  2. #2
    Home Sweet Home Skier Village Coach mastersracer's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report, Hacski. Congratulations to MissH.

    I like the video. It is too bad about the bad start to the season in NZ, but 'nothing ventured, nothing gained'. You'll have good skiing to come back to at least.

    Have a safe and fun trip.

  3. #3
    Furnished the apartment Hacski's Avatar
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    NZ was a bit of a whiteout, literally. It's Maori name is Atoearoa loosly translated as "Land of the Long White Cloud". Nevertheless we had a couple of days with some sun at a place called Cardrona. We then went to another ski field nearer Queenstown on a sunny Sunday. That meant it was rather busy and after MrsH's older sister was taken out on the congested area leading back to the base when someone ran into her back, and MrsH went with 0.5" of the same, we took a day to just chill out, but unfortunately then the weather turned with some rain. Overall quite relaxing once we let the idea of skiing go. I shall upload a couple of videos though. Biggest frustration - didn't get the conditions to do any drills. That will have to wait until January back in CO.

  4. #4
    I have my own seat in the pub Bushido Princess's Avatar
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    Hey H,
    Thanks for the update. I love hearing about how you are all doing. Is Mrs.H's sister okay? Hopefully she did not get hurt from the person running into her.

    That is fantastic news about Miss H. Please tell her congratulations from us. We are super proud of her. She is really cute in that picture too.

    I really like your shadow in the video. That is a very cool effect. That trail looks like a lot of fun too. It's interesting because when I watched your video I realized that I have never skied before in a place where I could see a mountain in front of me like that as I was coming down the slope. That is amazing. At Roundtop there is another small mountain we can see in the distance but it's lower than Roundtop and it would not be snowcapped like the one in your video. It's amazing to me that you can be going down one mountain and see another one right there so close in front of you. That's pretty cool.

  5. #5
    Furnished the apartment Hacski's Avatar
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    Thx for asking about MrsH's sister BP. She is 71 but reasonably fit doing a lot of outside work for a neighbourhood volunteer landcare group. The first she knew was when she was catapulted into the air landed flat on her back. Sore for a few days, another reason for not going back, but the weekend before last back locally she was charging through a blue level rock garden MrsH told me.

    Here are a few videos from around the groomed bits of Cardrona. I didn't upload any while there because NZ and Australian commercial accommodation providers scrimp on internet provision. Typically they will charge an extra $20 a day for 'broadband' which is only a few times faster than dial-up on download and about dial-up if one is lucky for upload. OTOH my older daughter's ISP has quite good upload speed and being here baby sitting our grandson while they enjoy an evening out is the ideal opportunity.

    I think I mentioned how NZ ski fields are all above the tree line so it all looks the same - and white. Hence when cloud was hanging around the ridges there was no tree definition at all. Totally disorienting for anyone not very familiar with the topography. Actually there isn't much forest anywhere near the slopes even below the tree line, just tussock. The NZ native forest was Southern Beech (not a Beech at all really) as used to be in Antarctica but most of it was felled from the mid 19th century.

    This is the main beginner run and demonstrates that one's video editing skill is somewhat correlated with skiing ability - I doubled up the first bit before MrsH and her sister appear and note at the end how the base area is perched on the side of a steep drop off.


    From the side of that run I cut across to an area dominated by a terrain park, not for me, then went down Sluice Gates (the Southern Lakes area had its gold rush sometimes after CA). Sluice Gates is about the steepest groomed area at Cardrona, steeper areas tending to be left ungroomed.


    They have another easy cruising area called Captains reached by a longish cat track (should have edited most of it out)

  6. #6
    Furnished the apartment Hacski's Avatar
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    The next day we were back there it was cloudy most of the time but it broke up long enough for me to get back on the run where the terrain park was from the top, noting the base area perched up above near the end of the video.


    Anyway the next area was The Remarkables (so named as it sits atop a range which runs true north-south).

    They had a new chair this season and this was from the top.


    Better skiers than I might have dropped straight off although with the snow still early season lots of tricky tussocky grass was showing through and the local paper had a story about how at another ski area such grass had caught someone's bindings and he had slid 100 yards down a steep ungroomed area under a chairlift getting some decent injuries and his helmet cracking open!

    So I took the groomed runs. First one side they had marked green

    A left it long to show it as a decent length, plus the scenery. MrsH's sister was taken out in the merge zone towards the end, from about 2:30 onwards.

    Then I did the other side rated blue but it was easier and soon enough ended up coming onto the green anyway.


    Looking at the video afterwards I noticed how the cloud had already rolled back in during the short time it had taken to get the chair back up. Skiing it I hadn't noticed it until I was down in it, concentrating on other people on the slope I was. I left a bit of the cloud scene to show what it was like


    I should check the still camera for some other pictures and some I took of around Queenstown generally.

  7. #7
    Furnished the apartment Hacski's Avatar
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    Rather than starting another thread and seeing I started this one with some local skiing I and mentioned how we had some planned for when we got home that did eventuate. It felt good being back among trees at Thredbo, LT's orginal home hill.

    The local forum is discussing how Australian conditions were at their best while we were in early season conditions in NZ and when we went ten days ago the local snow was still a decent depth due to temps remaining close to zero during the day and very cold at night, which allowed snow making to keep high traffic areas OK. I did a run on High Noon and at a tree bifurcation zone it pitches down a bit and becomes pretty icy under these conditions so I was very measured there. Not so some others:

    A couple of years ago on another similar run a snowboarder reported to be travelling at high speed, presumably like the first person in that video, hit an obstacle and landed with enough force to break his hip, the femur breaking away and travelled up through his torso and he died within minutes of ski patrol getting to him on that account. At my age any decent blunt force trauma could be fatal so I'm happy to just plod along. The next day I came down there again heading back to the car it was very icy so I was glad to be on my way home around midday.

    I did a couple of runs that day and my first day on an area known as Boundary. First was better but I had left the helmet cam SD card in the computer at home so only got some video on the second day after buying another card.

    The orange flags in the tree area in second half indicate why it is called Boundary


    MrsH was with her sister at Perisher Valley, another ski area not far as the crow flies, and had a great time there with MrsH's sister feeling a lot happier than in crowded NZ even as I mentioned above, getting off the groomed green run MrsH stuck too along with another lady (while I spent ime with her husband), cutting through blueish rock garden!

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