Beach to the mountains in a couple of hours

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2015

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Flag of New Zealand  , Canterbury,
Saturday, July 6, 2013

The ski season has now started here and after a quick trip round the shops we were all kitted up ready to head off and explore the mountains the surround an otherwise extremely flat christchurch. We couldn't decide whether to head to the club fields – smaller ski areas with overnight lodges but no chair lifts – instead they have a system called the nut cracker, the name in itself put us off and so we headed to the biggest of the lot – Mt Hutt. We had been excited all week hearing tales from our friends who had been up the following weekend that the conditions were perfect, the sun was shining and the sky was bright blue. The day before though we got some bad news, the mountains were all closed due to high winds. Feeling positive we decided on a quiet night and set our alarm for 6am  the following morning, as we woke up and heard the wind gusting around outside we weren’t that optimistic but at ten past 6 the status changed from closed to open. We jumped out of bed got ready and set out on our way.

The drive to the ski area was lovely (what I saw of it anyway – I was asleep within 10minutes!) and after a little over an hour we turned off the road and headed up a dirt track following a sign post for mt hutt ski field, another sign informed us that we needed either snow chains or 4wd, we were sure the advert for our car said it had 4wd when we bought it but we had no idea if this worked out not or if it was even switched on! He put faith in our little car and headed up the mountain, the road was windy and steep and in parts very narrow not too dissimilar to the notorious death road which we travelled on in Bolivia. My nerves were getting to me and there were a number of occasions where I shouted at tai to be careful or to let him no we are going to fall off the edge soon if he wasn’t more careful, none of these happened probably due to me warning him in time!

14km later and we were pulling up in the snow at the base, we trudged through, booked our lessons and headed in to hire our gear. We’d both decided we wanted to snowboard and tai was delighted when the shoes he was given were really comfortable! We had a little wait for our lesson and sat in the café and watched and people hurtled down the mountain in front of us. Only one chair lift was open due to the winds and the fact theyd taken another out with a controlled avalanche (that got out of control) a week or so earlier! It didn’t matter for us though – we were only experiencing the nursery slope today!

At 10am and with all the kids out of the way it was the adults turn to check into ski school, to begin with we put on our boards and slid around the flat trying to get used to having them on our feet. It felt incredibly unnatural and clumsy. We were then pushed down a slope that was so little like a slope im surprised that im even calling it that but the first go with only one foot clipped in felt like Id been pushed straight off the top of a black run! Neither of us knew how to stop but luckily came to a halt just a few meters from where we had started. We repeated this a few times and then it was time to get onto the magic carpet and head up to the top of the nursery slope, we were taught how to slide down on our  heel edge and how to come to a stop  on this side. It was really fun and hilarious to watch tai losing control and using other learners around him to help steady himself, taking people out in the process!

We stopped for lunch for an hour or so before our afternoon lesson which was all about sliding down on your toe edge, one girl just couldn’t do and demanded to know why she even needs to be able to do it anyway, it was explained it was like only being able to turn left when your skiing – it wouldn’t get you very far, she still didn’t get it though. Tai and I both found this side a lot easier and although killer on the calves we managed to get down without any bother. The lesson was over pretty quickly and we practised a little more before calling it a day. We returned our equipment and were both buzzing to get back up and try again, hopefully next time we will be able to master our turns, then we’ll be pros! Gnarly!

The road back down was a little less scray until we got to the bottom and realised there was smoke pouring out of the car, we both jumped out and walked round to the front before noticing we’d left the handbrake on the whole way down!

With no other option other than hoping it hadn’t caused too much damage we carried on our way home, picking up a bottle of wine on route. We spent the evening drinking red wine and cooking our new favourite dinner – seafood chowder – neither of us had tried it before we went for dinner in Kaikoura and now we keep trying to make one as good as that.

Our 1st days snowboarding definitely took it out of us both and we both fell asleep really early.
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stephanddave on

Put up some photos ffs.

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