Sunday, November 30, 2008

Skiing and Pebble Wrestling

Well some might say silly things like "it’s time to move on" or "winter’s history", there are still a few folks around that are keen to milk what little snow is left from the big snow falls we had this past winter. I was pretty stoked to find 6 other like minded folks for a ski up the Otira Valley this past Saturday.
Dave starts the 1hr+ approach in his ski boots
With over 400mm of rain during the week the snow pack had taken a real hammering and was totally soaked. This along with warm temps meant things were a little iffy stability wise and we knew we would have to play things by ear, but the hope was to ski off Rolleston's Low Peak.
Jane nearing the snow line, Hwy 73 in the distance On the snow and away skinning.
It was a pretty long hike to the snow compared to last time I was up the Otira Valley. The snow was thin and we really had to pick our way up, including one section where we had to kick turn our way up like it was going out of fashion.
Duncan standing guard, as Tim scrambles
The snow was soft and wet and we opted to scramble up rocks where possible, rather than expose ourselves to the sloppy snow pack. It was about this time we also flagged the Low Peak and decided to head toward Goldney Ridge, where the snow was less sun affected.
The boys on the Goldney Ridge, looking at Low Peak
The skiing was OK. I was actually surprised how well it skiied considering how crappy it was to boot up in. I was also skiing a pair of Dynafit Manaslu skis for the first time. These guys are pretty fat compared to what I am used to - 95mm under foot and 178cm long, so a big ski compared to what I usually ski on. The first few turns felt strange, but once I got into it I started to enjoy them. They are super light for their size, but didn't seem to get pushed around, like a lot of light skis do.
Tim not wanting to let go of winter......Myself enjoying the Manaslus in the variable soft snow
After refueling at the Arthur's Pass store and a little gardening and quiet time in Castle Hill, Duncan and Dave started getting restless so we headed out to to wrestle some boulders. It has been ages since I have done any climbing and I'm pretty average at the best of times, but it was pretty fun and very enjoyable to see the crew getting after it.
Dave and Kathleen about to "mantle the shit out" of some poor, unsuspecting soft rock

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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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