Saturday, September 27, 2008

Skiing The Storm

Was storming today up here in the Craigieburns, with gale winds first thing this morning. I drove down the Cheeseman access road to pick up a sign that had been snapped off by the gale force winds earlier in the week and noticed "The Monster" looking in pretty good condition still. The Monster is a monster of an avalanche path that cuts across the access road. During the bigger storm cycles this winter The Monster ran big a few times, covering the road in 3+ meters of snow. I had only skied this line during avalanche control routes and was keen to ski it for fun at least once this winter. By 1pm the wind had dropped off and the forecast southerly started to deposit some new snow. It had felt like ages since we had skied during a storm, so Jane and I figured we may as well check it out.
Jane booting up Scree, I mean Sunny Face Me ripping skins at the top

We started off skinning then quickly started booting up Sunny Face. We were able to ski easily into The Monster and apart from a few tight, thin spots the skiing was really good. There was only about 5-8cm of new snow, but soft spring snow underneath made for fun skiing.

Me making turns on THE MONSTER!!

No ski tour in NZ is complete without at least a little tussock/rock hoping

We then walked up the road back to the lodges and Jane headed in to start on dinner for the guests and I skinned up for another lap. I headed up to Elephant Holes, at the base of Cockayne to see how Gideon and his alpine skills group were getting on snow caving.

Gideon working on his new home

I then headed over to the A Basin chutes for some great turns.

"The friendly, fun, family alpine experience" Cheeseman doesn't want you to know about- Looking down A Basin Chutes.

I then finished up by skiing Gun Barrel, which to my surprise was really good! All up about 1hr45, 500-600m vert day, skiing the storm.

We have about 10-15cm up here now and tomorrow looks like it gonna be a good one, hope to see you here.

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"The skier who forsakes the lifts to climb under his own power to a mountain summit is a very different person from the downhill only piste basher and is often regarded by the latter as something of a curiosity.
But he was the creator of the sport; and possibly with him lies the future"
-Robin Fedden, The book of Europen Skiing, 1966
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