Saturday, June 5, 2010

An early start to skiing

I started cross country [nordic skiing] several years ago and one reason for the switch from downhill was that the only area in NZ where you can indulge in this addictive sport [world wide it's much more popular, with good reason, than downhill], is on my doorstep at the Snow Farm up the Cardrona valley.


Since those early days I've realised through observation that the area, on the lower Pisa range, gets rather unique weather. In fact storm systems that come from east or slightly either side of, demand respect. We've just has such a cycle, and as expected, we're skiing early this year.

Dave and I started climbing and tramping back in about '72, and in '74 we became consummate ski bums, with a nomadic flavour: that year we skied at every Sth. Island ski area, and eventually published a guide book about them all. However the book was minor - it was the contacts we made and the adventures, especially ski touring, that were to mould our perspectives of travel in our wonderful mountains. He lives locally like myself, and it's pretty special to ski with him every winter...

Our ski days are based around this lodge - in bad weather we stick close to it. Other times we can range far and wide if the grooming allows us to use lightweight ski equipment. For me it feels like dancing on a good day, but this aside I really like being able to travel in this wild alpine environment, with no noisy lifts, and especially not needing to carry mountaineering equipment...

Adjoining the ski area is a larger business - the proving grounds for cars and accessories, even snow blowers, where testing can be carried out capitalising on the fact it's winter here right now, yet summer where all the gear is made in the northern hemisphere. So in places there is a lot of gear about just waiting to be used...

The light today was extraordinary - here we see a less common view of the Remarkables...

About 20 of us indulged on the perfect snow...

Meanwhile the next weather system approaches. This one is a classic: warm moist air coming down from the north and heading in a south east direction exactly towards us. Meanwhile the scene is set for cold dry air from the south to drive under this tomorrow. This pushes up the warm moist air, and as per the laws of physics when moisture laden air is forced to rise it can't hold as much water as it cools. It's going to be interesting!

The big "A", Mt Aspiring...

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Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
xx skiing was one of my favourite past times in Wisconsin as in winter it is an easy sport to take up. You literally clip the skis on your boots and head out the door. I haven't been on skis for 17 years now, though there are few winter tops in the Ruahine where winter nordic skiing is possible at times. Perhaps I should invest in some gear, certainly good exercise and non jarring on the hips and knees. Might have to come down there and join you! Can't think of better form of exercise, and in that back yard you have the view is pretty good. Have a great weekend Donald.

June 12, 2010 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

You're welcome anytime Robb! Come and stay... bring you and yours as they say.

Probably warmer here so it's not quite "out the door", but the offrider of the rather large Pisa Range. Still there are many sheltered gullies despite the obvious bare mt. top environment.

Really thrilled for you re. latest trip and having no pain.



June 16, 2010 at 8:30 AM  

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