Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fun Times at Turoa

Less novel more pics... Here's a quick look at the weekend just gone at Turoa.

Saturday dawned and we're now at the 1m mark at Turoa! After 2 years on the Meadow, the Fischer Retro GS moved back to the Yahoo trail. BUT, like the 2 years before, it was a grey wet one. The standards are getting higher every year. With extra points awarded for the age of the gear, there are some fine specimens of old boards, skis and clothing coming out of the woodwork. Extra points went to the guy who had a Coronet Peak lift pass from the 80's - still attached to his jacket!! It was a perfect day for testing the limits of the 20 year old Gortex, or Grandad's wooly jumper and flared ski suit. Despite the leaks there were smiles all round especially when showers gave way to big clumpy snow. Freshies tomorrow?!

Sunday... well to all of you who called it and went home, sorry! Sunday was beautiful. A dusting of fresh all over and sunny blue skies. Cloud tried to sneak in late morning, I got some wicked pics, couple of pea soup moments up top, but then it disappeared altogether. A great day for the last day of the school holidays with not a lot of people about.


western view over the Organ Pipes

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Winter Bluebirds

On Monday I called "a bluebird day" and didn't return to work, making it a long cold weekend and 3 sunny days at Turoa.

Saturday was unbelievably cold!! We had 3 freeeeezing rides on the Movenpick and runs to the base, before stopping for hot chocolate and a foot rub to warm the numbness taking over the body. The report said it was -10'C and with wind-chill it must have been a tad over -20'. There'd been some fresh snow Friday afternoon. There was a chain restriction on the Ohakune Mountain Road and with the winds plus only Lower Mountain open, the top carpark didn't even fill til lunchtime.

As predicted, the winds eased a bit. The Giant and High Flyer Chair opened round the middle of the day, and the High Noon Express opened by one. Time to explore the wind blown stashes up high. Somehow we ended up in the right place at the right time and were on the first chair of the Express. I took a lonely ride down Big Bowl 1st up and had time to stop and enjoy it and take a few pics before the next person stumbled across my path. Then we headed over west. The traverse over from the end of the cat track above Big Bowl had those icy vertical icicles laid out like feathers across the slope, but they were easy enough to crack through before enjoying the creamy smooth dry windblown stash of Fresh snow down Slider.


Back again on Sunday, this time the masses followed. When you get up here early in the front few rows, it's hard to perceive how many people are really there, except for looking down at the car parks from up high. It sure felt busy, but considering the limited trails and the amount of people sticking to the lower slopes (learners/families) it wasn't really that bad and could have been worse crowd wise. Driving down we saw people parked at Massey Flat! (Found out afterwards they have 5800 on the slopes.) On trail things were getting moguly; off trail there were still stashes to be found even if some exposed parts were now scraped back due to wind and skiers/riders. Slider was the playground of the afternoon again, but by now my poor quads hated me traversing back to the Giant or staying high traversing to the Express. When the boys went east to the Glacier I took a big fat "pass" and called it a day. Poor legs.

Monday, almost a ditto day. The pipes at home froze for a second time, and at 830 when we loaded the car it was still -5'C in the backyard. Still a large amount of people at Turoa and lots of snow being pushed around, by people and the groomers. Vertigo was being pushed into shape, and would be ready on Tuesday. It was good not to have Monday-itis at work, ah this is the life. Lots of happy faces enjoying the sun and the school holidays.

Next weekend it's time to get the Retro on. Here's hoping it's not a soggy "Hot Sister" route like the past couple of years. Sunny weather has to come to an end sometime, but looking forward to more SNOW.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

High Noon Express has opened!

Just a tad earlier than the earliest estimate it's now running. Well done everyone involved with the tower 9 repair.

So it's been a few days since I could get near a computer and here's a catch up of my recent 3 days at Turoa...

Friday - Day before the school holidays, pretty busyish for a week day. Giant and High Flyer open and Movenpick for access. Boneyard was... boney. I could see why most seemed to be sticking to the Flyer Chair runs. Best way down to the Giant was to stay high on the ridgeline either side of the snow fence, no worries. Whynots were a lot of fun as always, but our favourite combo of the day was to stay high traversing over to the otherside of the Jumbo and ride some clean lines and soft snow in the lower Raceline area before cutting in under the Jumbo and down the ridgeline to the Giant.

Why Not

On Saturday Whakapapa's T's opened on the upper mountain. At Turoa the weather was still holding off, more blue sky, snow guns running and for me it was time to Shread the Mead! Did some Meadow time at Turoa for the morning with a 3 year old, she progressed well, from hating her first run on the sled, to being able to slide up to 10 metres on skis and ride the Magic Carpet without leaning all over me. All with a big smile on her face and I am so proud of her. 3-4 hours of this action had me pooped, and a wine on the deck in the sun that arvo was the way to go.

Sunday 4th July: while home was getting nailed with wind and rain we had another blue sky day. Jealous much? It was even quieter today. The little one was keen for a ski again, so a couple more hours on the Meadow (waiting for the shadow to move) before I headed on up. Eeked a couple of runs in before the Express opened. The news you have all been waiting for!

Tower 9 - repaired and ready

Yeti was there for the big event, I got a big furry hug and then I was up on the 6. 1st run down Big Bowl groom, but no hang on, just off trail was really nice. Beautful snow with a very thin crust. No need for groom up here folks! Next runs we headed west. Some went Slider way, while some of us went on the high eastern face of Slider+Branchline. Wahoo, the sun was shining on us and the snow was great. Seemed to hold on nicely for us just in time for the end of the weekend and just in time for the Express to open. Sorry to all those that went home, we had a really great time without you.