Canterbury Snowventures

July 18, 2016

As I lamented about in my last post, it is well and truly winter. The heating blanket is on the bed. The slippers never get put away. There is no rosè in the fridge. Winter.

Unfortunately the Snow Gods have only sort of gotten the message. There’s enough white stuff on the mountains to look all majestic and stuff, but barely enough for any actual sports. Or at least, intended winter sports. 

Last weekend a group of us took our bikes out to Craigieburn, usual summer riding destination and popular Canterbury skifield. It was below freezing and I couldnt feel my fingers for almost an hour. It was so cold there were little ice stalagmites growing from the ground. It was so cold that the water in my hydration pack froze in the tube. But we could ride, because there was practically no snow.

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Wouldn’t take your skis up there, would ya?

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The pictured snow, which looks mildly impressive, is about 3cm deep. Enough to be pretty, until we rode a bunch of circles around it. These photos are from the top of the ski field access road; just below where the lifts start. Yikes.

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A few days after we went biking, the big storm was predicted. 90 centimeters of snow to fall on Wednesday! …a few days pass… ok, 60 cm of snow still predicted! It’s gonna be awesome! All the club fields will be open!

…a few days pass…

10cm? 4cm?

The storm comes. It doesn’t even really rain in Christchurch. Mt. Hutt, the “big” operation around here, gets 10cm which they enhance with snow machines. The clubbies don’t open.

But since we bought season passes to Hutt, and they have any snow, we decide to ignore the fact that its school holidays, and a weekend, and one of the first days after it’s snowed at all… and we drive up the mountain for our first day of snowboarding in 2 years. Along with everyone else in Christchurch.

Now I feel the need to preface this by saying: we actually had fun! But holy cow, the snow coverage:

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View from the top of the skifield. To be fair, you can’t see all the runs down from this view, and the bald mountain below is actually probably 4-5 km away. But still. (Also note, the Canterbury plains and the Pacific Ocean! Neat, huh?)

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So we cruised. And we waited in lift lines. Kind of a lot. And we vowed to pack our own food next time. And to come on a week day. After a storm. But honestly, we still had fun. It’s been two years since we’ve strapped our boards on, and three since we’ve been to Hutt. We came with no expectations, so we left with smiles. Probably a good life lesson, that one.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Agness of eTramping April 12, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Stunning pictures! This place seems breathtaking!

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