Post subject: New Zealand......Winter, or so they call it
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:08 pm
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:40 pm Posts: 533
It's been a hit and miss season with a lot of sunshine and not a lot of snowfall. Ski resort wise places are open with bases of 30cm's but in the backcountry there are a few lines well worth the effort of bush bashing and pretty much destroying your gear.
The Craigieburn range finally opened last week which is more than a month later than usual which is somewhat of a big deal when you think they are only open for around 3 months. I've been based out of a small town called Fairlie which is right smack in the middle of the South Island and was fortunate to pick up a Licence to Chill pass which gives access to 12 different world famous Rope tow style ski resorts and have been calling Mt. Dobson home when conditions are on....but they haven't been on so it's been all about touring and making the best out of it.
Here are a few photos with brief descriptions.
This is the reason I keep coming back. The Two Thumbs Range.
Lake Tekapo and The Main Divide
One of the few good days at Dobson we took 2 laps of the resort and ran into the backcountry. We were treated to the rare faceshot which us PNWers take for granted.
Getting anxious to get out my friend Ryan Nicol and I did a traverse from Round Hill Ski resort to Mt. Dobson over about 20kms and 3000 meters. Sunrise to Sunset slog.
Here is Mt. Cook and Tasman at Sunset.
We were fortunate to head to the Craigieburn Range when they opened for business and had a great time lapping the slopes of Mt. Cheesman with about 20 other people.
Mt. Cheesman from the top of Mt. Cockayne
The goods and looking towards the east coast.
The next Ryan, Mike and I went from Arthur's Pass Village to Temple Basin via the Alpine route.
Our focus was the coulior on the right hand side.
While wind affected it was still pow.
And it rode great.
From the bottom we were able to climb up the back side of Cassady peak to gain access to Temple Basin. Looking down upon the ski field and Arthur's Pass.
And had great corn riding down to the resort and hiking out on the mandatory 45 minute access trail in the dark.
With a forecast calling for clouds on the divide but good weather in the Craigieburns we went back to Cheesman. for good South facing slopes.
Our objective was Mount Wall with a huge apron and hopefully protected pow.
We hoped that the clouds would burn throughout the day.
and dropped a 2000 foot chute all the way to the valley below for access.
From there we put on our crampons (A necessity in New Zealand) and made our way up Mt. Wall
and were once again greeted by Wind affected pow.
and then did a bush bash out the valley bellow learning about local vegetation like Matagari, Spaniards and the Golden Tussock.
It's been fun so far and we have been patient but this country could really use meters of snow than it would be game on. Insead of looking for pow we are heading for corn this weekend in Mt. Cook Village before I head off to Australia for a few days.