Monday, June 29, 2009

Opening Day at Whakapapa 27/6/09

This week the snow making lake almost emptied - 72 million litres of water pumped thru the snow guns to make piles of nice soft snow. One main trail of the Rock Garden open, Happy Valley open, and the Waterfall Express chair running for sight seeing only.

Turoa was very busy cos of Mardis Gras, and despite only one main trail open at Whakapapa, it seemed like a ghost town! I am glad I followed my own tip and went here instead! Stormy weather due to come in didn't hit till Sunday, so we enjoyed blue skies (odd grey cloud), no wind, and best of all no ice! Great job grooming up for opening weekend. More snow this week, and more snowmaking will help establish the trails and open things up in time for the first weekend of the school holidays.

Rock Garden - groomed action
Hut Flat traverse from Centennial Chair to the Top of the RG trail

aerial view from Waterfall Express Chair - "Easy Way Down" trail to the left and a view of Hut Flat at top. Snowmaking guns can be seen, and great job pushing the snow to make trails.

checking out the new temporary cafe and the repairs to the chairlift return after the Feb 13th arson at Knoll Ridge

The Pinnicles

Monday, June 22, 2009

Opening Day(after)

approaching 9km bridge - Ohakune Mountain Road

1st Chairlift ride for the season

a midfield view from the Movenpick Chair

fresh windblown snow nestled in the Why Not's

me and my shadow - top of the High Flyer chair

Turoa "opened" Saturday but was closed due to wind and poor weather. Only the Alpine Meadow was open and sounds like it was pretty busy despite the condtions. Snowed a little overnight, and on Sunday snow guns were running. It was bluebirds, cold winds, with stashes of windblown in spots too. The top car park filled, and it seemed busy at times, but generally no wait or a small wait for lifts. At the Giant Cafe there were no waits for food or "facilities" which allowed plenty of time to go riding.

Movenpick and Parklane Chair were running. As was the High Flyer quad. Groomed runs were (from the top) Upper Freeway and Yahoo, Boneyard, Clarry's Track. RAL worked hard all day grooming a couple more trails at the top. Tuesday's snow was a top up, and they have been able to make snow all week, harvesting and pushing onto trails if/where required. Top Job. The High Noon Express opened at 230 so by the end of the day there was top to bottom riding, including Snowbird and Little Bowl - yeee ha.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's the weekend!

Turoa opens tomorrow - WOOP WOOP

Well the Alpine Meadow has been open for 2 weeks (which has been awesome for this time of year), and it looks like it will be High Flyer runs on the upper mountain for the official opening weekend. With all the snow over the past couple of months and a chance of a longer run in their sights, it should draw quite a few people into Ohakune.

It's been a cold week... that big snow came on Tuesday (even to sea level in Dunedin!) - and it was enough to turn Ohakune and Raetihi white again. Snow guns have been cranking all over Ruapehu. I am certainly looking forward to getting my skates on, even if it's just the groomers.

So no more updates till next week... in the mean time here's a movie from our little trip to 'Kune on the 30/31 May (the opening shot is from the 10th May) - Enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2009

a smidge of rain

Alpine Meadow - Sun 14th June

So the Alpine Meadow poma and carpet lifts have been open for just over a week. Great to see so many people taking advantage of the early snow cover.

Bit of rain Fri/Sat/Sun (ish) stripped the ridges on the lower slopes (Turoa). Overall, it's not too bad up there, no reason to panic people! It was certainly a warm week compared to the freeeezing temps of the previous week, but looking set to get cold and snow again and tidy things up before the official opening weekend at Turoa this weekend. And - It's very likely we'll get some upper mountain action on an opening weekend (rather than just the Alpine meadow.) watch this space.

So it wasn't exactly hiking weather this weekend, the gear stayed locked away. Few more familiar faces in town (Ohakune), and a few more new one's too, great to see you all.

a peek of Turoa - Saturday evening

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

first run of the season

The thing about a 3 day weekend is it makes it a 4 day week at work and things are super busy. So, sorry for the delay… here is the round up from the weekend…

Took a leisurely drive down on Saturday 30th May, arriving in Ohakune late Saturday afternoon. We drove up to Turoa for a look at the snow, only to find 100 or so people had the same idea as us - the Alpine Meadow learner’s area was teaming with people on skis, boards and toboggans. And there was such good snow coverage they could well have opened for the long weekend. (HOT off the press today – Alpine Meadow at Turoa opens this Saturday the 6th!)

Turoa car park

There was no wind, and it was snowing gently as we hiked to the Wintergarden area. I hiked a bit further up to the top of the Boneyard for a bit of a longer run back down to the base before it got dark. Snow conditions down low here were smooth looking icy surface off trail and a churned up groomer track on trail. But when we can ride all the way to the car park for first turns of 2009 in MAY who are we to complain!!

Wintergarden, Snowflake Cafe

The Boneyard, And Giant Chair

Dawn in Ohakune was clear on Sunday. Then it didn’t take long for it to grey over and snow. It snowed ALL day but did not settle on the ground till late afternoon, a few cm’s and then it suddenly stopped?! C’mon, we were hoping to be snowed in!!

Turoa dawn

9km gate on Sunday morning

Ohakune streets at sunset

Ohakune sunset

closed at 3km

The mountain road closed to Turoa due to the snow and ice so on the way home on Monday we drove up the Whakapapa side for a look. Not as much snow on the NW side, it seems that last storm really nailed the south and the east (even snow out on Te Mata peak in Gisborne.)

So Taranaki and Mt Hutt are now open, and soon Turoa will be too. It’s a clear and crispy high over us this week. Ruapehu snow guns are now all go!