Story of some Brits living in New Zealand for the Southern Hemisphere Winter in 2004
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Sunday, August 08, 2004

Skiing at Mt Hutt

Awoke early today to get the snow report for Mt Hutt (known localled as Mt Shut due to poor conditions shutting the resort one day in five). Had been snowing for 2 days up there and they'd had a 42cm dump saturday. Cool!

Got in the car and got up there for just after 9am, after some faffing with snow chains and getting very muddy just trying to get started putting them off before finally realising the fitting service was a good idea for $5. The "nice route" recommended by a mate from swimming club was indeed a nice drive, through Hororata (which means 'drooping rata' in Maori - I think rata is a plant!). Well, it would have been an easy, fearless drive, in a V6 4x4 but confronted with a Kiwi style "ford" we nearly turned back. It was quite a torent gushing over the road of uncertain depth. Fortunately we were able to watch an old jaguar make its way across before judging whether our little toyota would make it.

Skiing was pretty good and lessons of usual high standard, though our progress seems to be more gradual now. I always seem to goof up the first run, where the instructors assess your skill and put you in an appropriate group. This time I overshot the destination and after what was anyway a considerably wobbly and unstable decent, I had to take the skis off and hike in knee deep snow to the right point. Needless to say I was graded low again but by the end of the day did this slope with relative ease.

After a quick lunch we got out on the slopes again but this time the snow was blowing about, a Southerly coming in, and visibility poor. Add to that the moguls started getting bad. So, often you would hit a bump you didnt see and get thrown off balance. I managed a couple of falls, only one felt spectacular but I was ok. AM had no falls to report this time.

Given the conditions we decided to stay on the lower beginner slopes but after what seemed like hours of jostling and queuing I gave up with that and went up the quad lift to the top again. I was rewarded with clearing weather and few people. A fantastic end to the day skiing on my own straight back to the bottom and getting on the lift for one last ride (twice) before going home. Though my legs probably only had enough left for one last run, I couldn't let the opportunity of a people-free slope pass me by.

We're tempted to try the Porter Heights club field next - slightly closer.


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