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New Zealand - Ruapehu 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Looks like it can happen to anyone, and from something so innocuous!

The train always looked an appealing option, the journey rather than the destination and all that, so did have a look. But I found it wasnt cheap for four (maybe that petrol price has changed the economics for solo, or just dont buy petrol in AKL) , didn't really cater for that last minute weekend booking which was many of our trips, just takes too long and the timings arent great (leaves too late from AKL and takes longer than driving). I seem to remember that they couldn't guarantee space to take skis (rather odd and maybe changed now). Also we would really miss a car at the other end for flexibility to get up and down, and even over to the other side when your side is closed and the other open. Hope you can make it work but the car is king in NZ.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
That's been my experience also @ster - driving all round more cost effective and convenient in NZ. Did the ski train to 3 Vallees from St Pancras once, that was very reasonable at around 75 pound a head each way I believe. Good fun travelling with a gang, and great scenery humming along during the day as well, the night-time return journey, not so much! Nothing a few French pinots didn't help with though. Did the sleeper train in a 4-berth compartment from Vienna to Venice as well, not much better... couldn't relax with the constant bending and rolling through the corners, the rational conscious knew I wouldn't fall from the top bunk, but try telling that to my subconscious... was with teetotaler family so couldn't do the obvious and imbibe in some sensory acclimitisation... needless to say, family weren't much impressed with my planning a scenic trip through the Alps during hours of starlight either Toofy Grin

Another trip down to the mountain this weekend, from a slightly different perspective, impromptu decision to head up with a mate in his little Cessna 172, needs a run every month and it was a stunning morning so silly not to. We flew out of a little airstrip south of Hamilton, and decided to fly south around the mountain and back again, about a 2 hour round trip.

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Beautiful still spring morning... airborne at 8:46am

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Winging our way south, on the watch for other weekend flyers... plenty of chatter on the airwaves as we pass through various flyzones

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Fog over Taumaranui, Mt Taranaki in the distance

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Clear demarcation between Tongariro National Park and private farmlands... Mountain Air airfield at the base of the SH48 mountain road

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Couldn't figure out how to avoid the rolling shutter of the prop in the picture...! Ruapehu dead ahead

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View down to the Chateau and Whakapapa Village, and over to Ngauruhoe

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Cruising at around 7,000 feet here, 2 degrees outside, so definitely some warm spring conditions from the get-go for the punters ahead and below us.

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Working our way past Whakapapa, southward bound to Turoa

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Turoa upper slopes, around 9:30am now

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Snowline receding, up past the carpark now. Still great coverage for October and pretty busy, plenty of folks making the most of the great run of fine weekends we've been treated to.

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Rounding to the east side now... the wee Tukino club is down there somewhere, couldn't reach across far enough from co-pilot position to see

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Ngauruhoe peeking over ...

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As we wing our way north at 7,000 feet on the level

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Bit of cloud about Tongariro unfortunately, few views out this side

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Some views of interest to the east instead - rare above-ground evidence of a huge 1970s subterranean hydropower scheme that works its way from multiple catchments east of Ruapehu, north to Lake Taupo, for a good part of the way underground. They would never get away with suchlike in a National Park these days

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Lake Taupo, itself a massive crater lake from an eruption that correlates to an event in 200 AD that turned the sky red in Italy and China. Some suspect that there were humans here prior to the Maori, but this event would have obliterated that civilisation and returned New Zealand to empty birdland until it was rediscovered circa 1300s

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Bit more benign these days (touch petrified wood). Bike round these picturesque roads each year with thousands of others for the 153km Round the Lake Challenge, NZ's biggest general entry cycle ride

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Decided to stop in Taupo for a coffee, airfield under my strategically placed finger

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Taupo airport, spot the skydiver

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Heading home via the Waikato River hydrolakes, these are on the downstream side of Lake Taupo, NZ's power generation is something like 75% hydro, these dams are quite a low head but do their bit for North Island power consumers. The original workers settlement below the substation, the more recent subdevelopment for lifestylers closer to the lake

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Following the river home...

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Terra firma, just as the thermals were picking up and making things bumpy... back to Auckland before lunch! Smile

Both Whakapapa and Turoa close on 22nd October, so key consideration is whether to head down this weekend coming or go for the last hurrah on Labour Weekend. Obliged to raid the local opshop for a fluoro onesie if going for Labour Weekend, there's always some fun to be had on closing day and those in normal duds end up being the ones that look out of place. Either way, a superb season and definitely one to send off in style Cool
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Skiwi 55, great photos, love the views of Ngauruhoe.
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Looks a great jolly in a little plane. We did one from near Cromwell, around Mt Cook (or whatever its called these days),dropped onto Queenstown for lunch at Eichardt's then back. Once you go up on those little planes you realise how insulated you really are in those big airliners from turbulence.

Enjoy the end of the season. "Best Spring Skiing in 10 YEARS" according to RAL are they aren't prone to hyperbole, are they?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Good little video doing the rounds at the moment, first lift on Ruapehu being opened with Sir Ed nabbing first chair. Seems a bit rich, if he can scale 8,800m, surely he can hike to 2300! Toofy Grin

http://www.nzskier.com/history-lesson-ruapehus-first-chairlift/

Central plateau caught a good few cm of fresh from the midweek southerly change and has stayed cold, so will be smiles all round for this weekend's warriors. Looking forward to heading down for the season closer next weekend.
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Had 50cm down south last night. Unfortunately all turned to porridge by the time Mt Hutt got their poo-poo together, dug the road out and de-iced the lifts. The drive up was super sketchy in places. Must be saving money on grader drivers this late in the season Very Happy

so that was it for the 2018 season for me today. Hutt shuts tomorrow, which is about the last south island ski area open I think.

Been a decidedly average season for Canterbury, although lots of sunny days, no big powder days. Think I managed about 30 days, and only wore a jacket for 2 of them. Snow base never got over a metre.

Going to Austria in January, so only a few weeks to fumigate the boots Very Happy
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Good thread and pix.

Southern Hemisphere season was very mixed this year (2018).
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@hang11, 30 days is a damn good effort! That's a big plus point I've always been jealous of you Southerners, having your local mountain <100km from your population centres (exception Dunedin/Invercargill), much more enjoyment from your hill and from your season. Ruapehu is so isolated, big commitment to make a trip and it's got to be multiday or else the petrol cost is more than the lift pass (more spence than Zermatt) Shocked

Sounds like Canterbury missed out on the action for the most part this season, didnt really get that big low sitting east of Chch sending penguins up the east coast did we. Lots of westerly systems which was great for Ruapehu but not so much east of the Alps. How did Temple Basin fare? Being right on the spine, might have done better? Ruapehu certainly has had more snow this season than anytime I can remember, exception maybe 2008. Rain events have been fewer than normal also. One serious monsoon back in June but cool temps have on the whole kept the precip of the snowHead variety.

Whereabouts in Austria are you heading? Probably my favourite European ski destination, really enjoyed the authenticity in the valley towns, real folks in real towns with real love for the pasttime and the schnitzel and schnapps weren't bad either Very Happy
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Nice time lapse video made by a visitor to the Ruapehu Ski Club at Whakapapa. Looks like all footage is taken from the immediate vicinity of the RSC hut. The rolling cloud cover shows how exposed the mountain is and how quick vis can come and go.


http://youtube.com/v/iz0lQmazk5k
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Skiwi 55, heading to Saalbach with the family.

My daughter hasn't done a full week at school since the start of June - has got the bus up to Mt Hutt at least one day a week. Can't wait to see what her school have to say about that.

Enjoy your spring, hope it's as good as it looks like it will be. You've sold me the dream with your amazing photos, I'll definitely be swinging by there for a few days next season.
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