New Zealand is the ultimate surf n ski place and the nicest place in the entire world that I’ve been. Awesome terrain, few and friendly people, clean, laid back, good good. The day before I arrived a storm blew 300kph winds and 30cm of rain and snow washed out the road to my first objective, Mt. Potts, Rangitata Valley, which is the peak on the right. I retreated to Mr. Hutt and skiied the ski field to get my ski legs back. Luckily it cleared a day later and I could ford the still rushing river. The glacial runoff was cloudy so I could not see how deep it was and did not want to get stuck or washed away, so I waited until a hunter came through, took off his shoes, put on shorts and walked across. Only knee deep: so I made it.
There was good access with a 7km hike up a closed road to the ski field and to perfect corn. My legs were pretty much toast after the 9 hour hikes each day but the skiing in the large bowl was great corn under sunny skies and no wind. The access up crosses bad avalanche terrain and rock fall, so it might be sketchy earlier in winter. You can’t really see how BIG it is in the pictures,but the terrain is HUGE!
I left my skis up there the first day, so I HAD to go back the second day to get them despite the aching muscles.
Here’s a ski movie of Mt. Potts. http://youtu.be/ABcknxhfvS0
The camping spot felt like being in the movie Lord of the Rings (which was filmed there) with no one else around for miles. There are a lot of potential ski lines.
The second objective was Kai Terau near Lake Pukaki. This time I took a heli 7km up the river valley to the base of the snow in 10 minutes for $150 saving a 5 hour slog each way. The terrain up there was awesome. I saw the biggest wet avalanche debris I’ve ever seen. It was 3 miles long, half a mile wide and the debris pile was easily 60 feet high. Things had settled and the snow was perfect corn and temps cooler, but still I stayed high on the ridges and out of the slide paths.
Here’s the movie of Kai Tarau.
Sarah joined me and we attempted French Ridge to Mt. Aspiring. Unfortunately the skis were too heavy and the trail too long and we didn’t make it. It was a beautiful hike and we stayed in the huge Aspiring Hut all to ourselves for $20 NZ. A nice fire kept us warm with great views of the mountains.
Short movie on dropbox link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/52uxxoe9uacg7v7/Mt.%20Aspiring%20Park%20Hike.mp4
My good friend Rod Rust lives on a farm right above one of the best breaks in the world. After waiting for the swell, it hit with perfect glassy sunny conditions 8 feet. with 500 meter rides. There were 20 wave sets. Stoked!
Here’s the Movie:
We stayed in the “Magic Bus” with the cozy woodstove, kitchen, couches, bathroom, showers and bed.
With aching muscles, we headed home. I’ll definitely be going back to New Zealand from now on. Its not too bad coming back to Hawaii after a trip!