Skiing: Turoa ski field

Sometimes you have an ordinary trips which you don’t want to mention – you have visited some place, got rest but even images are not processed for a month or two. But sometimes there are happen crazy trips which you would like to write about, tell and share with friends immediatelly. I want to note, that after visiting Mount Ruapehu I did not understand, why russians are complain so much about New Zealand snow, especially about it’s quality and quantity – for me, it reminds snow at Tanay resort which is located 160km from Novosibirsk. Here, there is not such many snow comparing with Sheregesh, it is not so fluffy, but you can still do skiing & boarding. Anyway, my friends told me we were very lucky: there was around 2 meters of snow, plus, an additional 30cm of snow came before we arrived. Meantime, there was stormy weather and heavy rains in Auckland.

Our plans with colleagues were: rent a house for a weekend, leave Auckland on Friday around 3PM to avoid traffic jams, arrive to place, spend the night, do skiing on Saturday plus half of Sunday and then move back to home. Idea was suggested by head of department nearly a year ago, summer had ended, winter had became, but no one was bustle about, so I had to be initiative: book a house, send an email to all interested and sort out other things. Just few words about booking: I did book a house through and in addition to bond I was asked to list all guests comming which is strange as well as an attempt to pronounce my russian surnam on English, but the house was defenitely worth it.

About a week before departure we decided to make a test and load snowboards and skies in my car – honestly, I was sure that Forester’s boot is big enough 🙂 I bought a roof rack on trademe but it was not enouhg time to deliver it from South Island, so on Friday we had to fold down one seat and put equipment and place two passengers on remaining two seats. Apart from this, I was waiting snowboard pants from lovely Tomsk city. By the way, a parcell from Israel (which is far away then Siberia) being sent the same day, was delivered three days faster. May be, it is because we do send everything throuhg Moscow?

Despite an agreement to leave at 3PM, half of guys hadn’t brought their stuff to office or decided to park their cars to home, so we departed with half an hour delay and stuck in jams for another 30 minutes. Also, we saw couple of accidents on the way.

About the road: I’d like to mention this is not New Zealand, this is Mountain Zealand, because numbers of turns around endless hills and hillocks is just insane. It makes you tired, especially after sunset. No wonder, that we drove 6 hours instead 4.15h estimation provided by Google map, including fueling and dinner. Recommended speed signs help, but in some times they are lowered too much, for example, some sections with 65kmh could be passed easily on 80kmh. First time in New Zealand, I got hole on the road, suddenly and unexpectedly. I was making a long turn near Nharuwihia and Otorohonga, and gotcha! A pothole around 15cm on right side and another two on both sides later. Wow! 😮 Also, we saw a rabbit. He was crossing road and decided to stop right below my car, in the middle of left and right wheels, so he survived. 23cm clearance rocks. There was a frost right before National park. The FROST! In New Zealand! 😮
About accomodation: we spend around $95 each for staying two nights in two storey wooden bach with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, fully furnitured kitchn and spacious lounge room with a fireplace which and another four software engineer trying to to make a fire you can see on the picture below – the fifth is nestled in a chair, making a photos and giving instructions. Well, I have an excuse, I was driving! 😀

We woke up around 6AM, got breakfast, loaded into a car and moved to mountain. There was a suggestion to go to Whakapapa village, but I didn’t like it and as we found out later, the road there was closed because of strong wind, so we were driving through sub tropical forest on the way to Turoa around 7.30AM. Website said that the road that day was opened only for full drive vehicles or if you have chains – someone used owns, someone rented them. We spent a little time in a jam: a bus which was coming down, lost control and hit Subaru Outback on a turn. The guys in a car were quite scared.

We parked on topmost carpark. It was very windy, cloudy and empty – even queue for tickets was not more than 5 people. Adult ski pass for a whle day costs $90, plus you have to pay $14 for a card itself. While I was opening LowePro backpack to get the camera and make test frames, my colleagues dissappeared and I had to explore surroundings by myself:

For a start I decided to try MovenPick lift which goes to the middle of mountain. Very windy. Temperature was around -9c. You can see one of the carparks below. Managing is very good – regulators, flags, radio sets, cones – and out of nowhere they organise well-planned parking for several hundred cars:

People are coming and wheather becomes much better:

09:45AM and queue to lifts. Sometimes there were sneaky guys trying to get into without waiting but surprisingly no one said the word:

Closer to 10AM I decided to come down to my car and apply sunblock and also leave my backpack with camera, just in case. A lots of sleep lovers were circling around searching for free spots:

As I found out, I forgot my sunblock at bach, what a shame! 🙂

12:45PM: queue is almost dissappeared: everyone interested bought skipass and rented snowboard or skies. Snow had begun to melt.

Some guys were selling beer in ice buckets closer to cafe:

You can try another lift right from MovenPick if you just want to get higher and make some pictures. Weird but you can’t go to another lifts without ski or snowboard bootz and equipment:

Now about tracks: there are plent of tracks on Turoa, narrow or wide,

for exteme lovers and newbies, with average level of experiense and for families:

Just go up on a lift, take a look on signs and chose track to go:

I think I had tried almost every track below the middle of montain around lunchtime and diceded to check two topmost lifts. If I am not mistaken, this one is Giant, and you can see pillars of another one lift which is under construction:

Altitute is just higher than clouds level:

All hills and rifts underneath appeared after volcano erruptions. As you know, Mt Ruapehu is an active 3km heightstratovolcano. The last time it was errupted in 2007:

Ratrack works

About skies: I had to go down twice to recall how to use it. On a snowboard, you can easily do steep tracks:

And this is a lift with 6 seats chair:

Rescuers. Agreed to make couple of pics. Several times I saw guys in the same jackets on slopes – defenitely, you need to be very experienced rider to work as a rescuer:

I’ve no idea where all these guys’re going. This is the last topmost lift. Where are they going?

We were very lucky with amount and quality of snow and the weather. People are making pictures on Iphones and compact cameras:

The higher you get, the colder it is and the strongest the sun:

Unbelievable, but underneath there are green grass, sheeps and tweeting sparrows:

On the right – Big Bowl (Family friendly track), on the left – Yahoo (Advanced):

Guys are still climbing. They say, climbing gets around 90 minutes:

Meantime I decided to try Vertigo:

And had met these fancy outgrowth:

Snow? Nope! This is ice! 😀

And this is snow, natural and fresh. It has been almost a year since I saw him last time:

A whole series of ramps for extreme guys:

Finally I decided to try the leftmost branch:

And didn’t notice as I found myself near the cliffs and steep slopes:

Perhaps, I didn’t keep in mind signs “track is closed” and the fact that there was no exit:

So I had to cross three small ridges to return to the main track:

But it defenitely worth it 🙂

The day was bright and full of impressions:

By the way, the ski season in New Zealand lasts until October; and a tourist visa is issued withing a month and is completely free to the citizens of Russia 🙂

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Ivan Grigoryev's Blog
Living in New Zealand. Blogging about the country, beautiful places, everyday life.
Do a skydive - halfway completed; get 1400 - still working on; reach 300kph - completed by 96.6%