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New Zealand - Ruapehu 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
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First season back in NZ after many years in the UK, having up sticks at behest of Mrs Skiwi due to arrival of Miniskiwi the 1st, and after suffering the crippling blow of doing so in September thereby suffering the devastating winter withdrawal effects of a double summer, have finally manged to turn turnstiles and set edges on my old mountain, Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand's North Island yesterday.

Since NZ is upside down with cold weather and low sun angles in the south of the country, as well as all the main mountainous terrain, South Island has the lion's share of the country's skifields, and great fields they are too. But in the interests of fair representation for all us less fortunate northern NZers who have 5x fewer skifields, 5x more monsoon events, and 5x the population to compete with, why not start another NZ topic to promote the fun that can be had on the skifields of Mt Ruapehu, the North Island's "maunga in the middle", and give the snowheads Up Top some more southern snow reports to thumb through while waiting for northern hemi winter 18/19.

A bit of background for those not familiar:

Ruapehu (Roo-ah-pay-hoo) is one of 3 active volcanoes in the Tongariro National Park in the central plateau of North Island, the other two being Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom's stunt double in Lord of the Rings) and Tongariro. The plateau is around 800m ASL, and around -39 degrees south of the equator - so higher sun angles and mild temps. Fortunately, Ruapehu is reasonably high (~2700m), with the uppermost lifts being up at around 2300m. Not nosebleed altitude but stays above the freezing level between July and September (mostly).

Ruapehu has 2x commercial fields, Whakapapa on the west side and Turoa on the south, which are both owned by a non-profit entity Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, and 1x small clubfield on the east side. Both commercial fields are accessible on the same season pass, which is what I have for 2018.

There are particular hazards associated with skiing on an active volcano (last eruption 2007), the obvious being eruption - the primary risk being lahars, or pyroclastic mudflows which breach the crater lake and race down the gullies. Each skifield has warning systems linked to Geonet and monitoring equipment to try to pre-empt and they close the mountain if the volcanic rumbles escalate, usually over a period of days, but if the unthinkable happens and the sirens sound it's a case of skiing up onto a ridgeline, and then trying to get down as best you can! So far there's not been an event while skiers have been on the mountain that I'm aware. The other less catastrophic but no less dangerous are the volcanic rocks, huge sharp and unforgiving. Places like Coronet Peak near Queenstown can open with 10cm of natural snowfall because it's all on tussock grass. Ruapehu needs metres and metres of snow to cool down and cover the rocks. Usually, doesn't happen properly until late-July. Until then, off-piste is usually risked by $50 ex-rental riders only.

The payoff for the wait though is superb late-season conditions. Ruapehu stores up its coverage for release as beautiful spring corn in the high sun of September and October. Fewer gales and clearer skies make spring the favourite time of year for seasoned Ruapehu skiers, which stays open long after most other fields have closed. "Snowvember" is not an irregular occurrence, and there was once still skiing at Christmas, many moons ago.

Both the main fields are used fairly equally across the demographics, but some stereotypes persist... it's often said that skiers favour Whakapapa because of the narrower, more technical terrain, with the boarders on the dark side at Turoa, with a better park and wider runs. Ruapehu has a fascinating cultural history which continues to develop. RAL recently received a renewed 30-year lease to operate on the mountain from the Department of Conservation, with plans to make big investments in both fields, within 1) the limits of the "Tuku" or "gift area" as sanctioned by the Maori cultural and spiritual guardians of the mountain, meaning (amongst other things) no new lift access above 2,300m, 2) as permitted by DoC's resource consent conditions, which are to primarily to ensure environmental protection and fair access of the public to the World Heritage-status Tongariro National Park, which Ruapehu is within, and 3) as permitted by RAL's own terms of reference as a non-profit, founded by skiers for skiing in 1953. A real hotmix of stakeholders and interests which continues to face challenges in the years to come.

A few photos from the day...



The three maunga, viewed from State Highway 38 (l to r - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, Ruapehu)



Up mid-mountain at Whakapapa with the sabre-tooth Pinnacles behind



View up the Knoll Ridge T-Bar (not yet in service)



View back past the Knoll Ridge cafe, Mt Doom and Tongariro behind the Pinnacles



View up towards the Valley T - t-bars just getting put on and tested



Snowcat building a trail out to the Far West area, likewise not yet open



View up towards Valley Exit



Whakapapa's aging infrastructure (the chairlift switchgear, not the awesome lifties! Toofy Grin ) - due for replacement by a gondola in the summer



Another view of the Pinnacles behind the Knoll Ridge cafe - not many crowds around



Lunch menu not bad...



...view's ok too Very Happy



Mid-mountain runs



Mt Doom looking somber



Chateau Tongariro with Ruapehu behind



Tongariro itself, innocuously smoking from one of its two active vents... happy reminder of another safe end to a day's skiing!

I'll be popping down fairly regularly, now that we are at the business end of the season, doing more powderchasing after a storm rolls through and will post updates when I do - if anyone has any queries about either skifield I'm more than happy to help Smile
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How nice to read all that - and see the pics - thanks, @Skiwi 55. I visited Ruapehu many years ago driving across North Island with a non-skiing work colleague. Couldn't resist - after seeing that snow covered volcano in the distance and just drove up for a few hours, hired gear and spent a few hours with him on the nursery slope. I think it was the year before it erupted. About 1990 or 1991? I was impressed by the friendly welcome and being able to hire everything we needed (we were in light clothing, based in Fiji at the time).
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Awesome photos! Only ever flown over it, you've got me thinking about a visit Very Happy
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@Skiwi 55, Thanks for that report. 😀 I visited Auckland a couple of times while my daughter was living there and although I saw Mount Ruapehu on a road trip I didn’t manage to ski there as the season hadn’t started. My daughter and SIL did take me to visit the South Island though and I was able to manage a few hours skiing at Coronet Peak. Unlike pam w, I’d taken all my ski gear apart from my skis with me on the off chance that I might be able to ski! Laughing snowHead
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Skiwi 55, Thanks for that, maybe I’ll get out to see my mate that got me into skiing. Very Happy

@Iski, I’d expect nothing less of you. Laughing snowHead
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Good to hear RAL are investing. Even got that fancy snow making for Happy Valley.

They should be able to invest as they have a lock on everything on the slopes (including declaring when you need snow chains then renting them out on the road up!) and day passes are pretty pricey with season tix the way to go.
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Nice to read the messages and memoirs from others who have visited (or driven past/flown over) Smile

Taking stock after a Pineapple Express over the weekend, very warm northerly storm out of the South Pacific. Heavy rain up to mid-mountain on Sun night, slow to turn to snow on Monday afternoon, but then continuous snow down to the villages over the past couple of days with the southerly change. Feeling wintery in Auckland again with the fire roaring and mainlining cups of tea. Whakapapa now looking very well covered above 1700m. Many are saying the best start to a season in 10 years. Still waiting for RAL to put the blimming t-bars on the upper mountain lifts... (R)eady (A)fter (L)unch still applies... Laughing

Turoa being on the south side of the mountain however was sheltered from the worst of the driving rain and lapped up the snowfall borne on gentler southerlies and is consequently loaded top to bottom. Weekend weather looking conducive to an impromptu weekend in Ohakune to sample the guilty pleasures of the "Dark Side"... Twisted Evil
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Good pix.
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Didn't make the effort this weekend in the end, middle weekend of July school holidays not the ideal time to compete for slope space. Bullet dodged - reports of overflowing carparks, 2-3 hour waits for shuttles from Ohakune/National Park, absurdly long lift queues etc leading to a lot of angry mums and RAL scrambling to extend lift hours to 5pm and offer impromptu free passes for night skiing. Looks like conditions up on the hill were superb, once you got there! Far West sector now open at Whakapapa, much earlier than in the past. Seems like RAL's new management structure (different GMs for Turoa and Whakapapa, historically the same) is shaking things up for the better, bit of friendly competition between the fields to open their terrain asap isn't doing the punters any harm at all. Or could just be the bumper snowfall had to date. Puzzled

Couple of fine days in the forecast this week, Friday looks an option, fingers crossed.
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I remember it very well 20 years ago, maybe time for a revisit Very Happy
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@stanton, very welcome should you wish to make the Jules Verne-esque effort next winter - great memories of skiing and apres in St Anton, well I remember the skiing better Madeye-Smiley Skullie the Powderkeg isnt exactly the Mooserwirt but still tables to dance on and good times to be had Madeye-Smiley
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Turoa closed today after a horror bus rollover on the mountain road yesterday which has sadly claimed a life.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/105832749/One-dead-following-bus-crash-at-Tongariro-National-Park

The accident happened on a technical downhill corner. Reports include that 31 skiers were on the 22-seater bus. Not illegal but not ideal. Skiers were thrown onto the road. The bus service is RAL operated. The Serious Crash Unit is investigating. Thoughts and prayers with the families involved.
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Terrible.

Looks like it happened on a decent bit of the road. Ice involved?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Brakes failed.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/105832749/bus-heading-up-turoa-skifield-rolls

Victim was an 11yo girl. Crying or Very sad

Apparently the corner had been widened and safety improved just last year. I remembered it as a sharp, technical corner, havent been to Turoa this year so couldnt understand why folk were saying the road there is good. Midafternoon and fair temps so ice shouldnt have been an issue either. Neither of which help if your bus has no brakes.

Eerily reminiscent of the 1963 Brynderwyn bus crash where 15 died, NZ's worst road accident. With the cliffs and steeps on the Ohakune Mountain Road, this could have taken the title.
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Someone has seriously angered the taniwha on the south side of the mountain because Turoa is having a torrid fortnight!

A big avalanche has taken out the top tower of the High Noon Express during routine bombing pre-opening this morning. All RAL staff accounted for with no injuries.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10160472016040417&id=42322565416



A stalled front east of Gisborne loaded up an already laden mountain with heavy wet northerly snow over the weekend. Decent slides at Whakapapa as well.



Hopefully that's the bad luck over for the rest of the season... though they say... bad things come in threes?? Shocked
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Thats a bit of a disaster for Turoa. How long before they reckon its back running?

Also very quiet now on the bus story after the report on it failing many WOFs. I suppose they are investigating now but doesnt look good on the face of it. Funny that the Herald didnt seem to report too much on the crash (not that I could find anyway) but I usually found that the Herald used to print everything the RAL press office saw fit to publish.
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Also used to drive the Brynderwyns to get to Waipu a fair bit. OH's dad remembered that crash. Those are tight turns and steep gullies. I believe the detritus from that crash was down there a long time.
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All manner of theories but the smart money says next season. They have found frayed wires in the haul rope which suggests Doppelmayr will be getting an order very soon.

In fact, just as I type this... https://www.facebook.com/mtruapehu/videos/535948740176383/

That's it for the season Turoa-side then Sad

Will be some real lessons for RAL in this whole unfortunate saga, from avalanche control protocols to access resilience. They have lost the one lift which provides access to the uppermost mountain elevations where their famous spring snow lies. With the high sun angles of spring coming, it will be no fun skiing the wet concrete below 1800m, so Paula Bennett will be singing by the end of the month.

The irony is that when the Jumbo T-bar was removed, rather than upgraded, several years ago, it was all under pretense that the High Noon did its job and did it better. What wouldn't they give to have that back now? Puzzled Puzzled Puzzled


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 15-08-18 7:08; edited 1 time in total
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I grew up in Northland on the Right Of Way that follows that stream along the southern slopes of the Brynderwyns. The local Maori tribe built a memorial a few years ago to commemorate 40 years since the tragedy, on that section of ROW below the fatal corner. Quite a substantial monument, a carved rock 3m high, with parking, night lights, landscaping, all self-funded. Every few weeks they come through and cut the grass, new flowers etc. They certainly know how to remember and respect their past and those who have fallen. I'll get a photo of it next time I'm up visiting the olds.
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When Hutt destroyed the triple chair setting off an avy a few years ago, they found some Hagglunds and trailers to get everyone back up the hill.

The queues were a nightmare on busy days however. Maybe Turoa can come up with something similar. Or go and get Shane Jones to share some of his billion bux to stop Paula singing a song Very Happy
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@hang11, surely something can be done. A bit of lateral thinking, No 8 wire etc... H&S culture hasn't killed kiwi ingenuity yet!

Big rumbles of thunder outside tonight, the leading edge of a series of SW fronts set to slather ~1m of snow on Ruapehu over the coming week. Booked into a hostel in National Park Thurs/Fri/Sat night. Consistently subzero temps forecast... fizzing! Been a lot harder to get away to the slopes than I was hoping but the next couple months are when Ruapehu comes into its own. The Tasman Sea has cooled down properly so W/SW fronts coming through are arriving at the maunga unwarmed and freezing levels staying low. Sun angles rising leading to lovely velvety snow, with crowds filtering away to the beaches just as the spring works its magic. Goggle tan, here I come Cool Cool Cool
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Turoa's pain is Whakapapa's migraine... the queue at 0.26 Shocked Great snow year and good weather coinciding with weekends really bringing out the crowds.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/08/annoyance-at-long-chairlift-wait-times-at-mt-ruapehu.html
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Fly south Very Happy

Lift lines haven't been too bad generally this year, probably because there haven't been any big storms coming through, and all the associated noise on the news, although the cover is actually pretty good.

Got up to Hutt on Saturday, with 20cm of new snow the night before. Looked fantastic, and was in places, but stupidly took a brand spanking new jones hovercraft out for a spin, and almost turned it into firewood on the last run of the day. Second time I've done that at Hutt on a low snow year. Should learn...…..
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@hang11, that's expensive firewood......I was thinking of getting powder specific board like the hovercraft, but there is lots to weigh up, like can I get enough powder to justify it.
So 20cm wasn't enough to ride it? Guess it depends how cold the snow was and what was lurking below....hard pack / grass / rocks?
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Many moons ago I might accidentally shunted the ski patrol shed ‘a bit’ with some slightly wayward avi control in the bluffs - we didn’t expect it to go round that far Embarassed
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@polo, Board went great, just a low snow year with lots of rocks under the new stuff.

Really like the board, floats great and really loose but carves well on the groomers too - wouldn't necessarily say it's just a powder board.

It will fix up OK, just won't look pretty.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Well it'll be me and the Sir Francis Bacons trying to coax some face shots out of the chunder down under on Thurs/Fri, @hang11 your MJ Fox contraption could certainly do worse than the 86cm forecast for the rest of the week in Middle North, forsake your glorious dry SI powder come join me and the 330,000 orcs and goblins queuing for 30 mins for a 2 min run Laughing hopefully Sauron keeps his eye to himself and Skiwi can slip into the skiwi school skip-the-Q queue unnoticed, sorry kids got a job to do, this ring won't deliver itself ... Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin
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Been a while since posting - have been down to the mountain a couple of times, when the weather's been good.

Spring is in the air with the higher slopes above 2000m still holding firm, below that starting to turn in the afternoon.

Few days out in the Far West sector, supreme amounts of snow this year, many Mufasa moments at the top of the Far West T, "everywhere the light touches can be skied". Black Magic beyond the ski boundary is white magic this year, most years you have to be careful how to traverse out and get back to the bottom of the Far West Quad but this year it's so loaded there's nowhere you can't go. Absolute bliss. Although the queues have definitely been worse than any time I can remember. Sunny Mondays are like sunny Saturdays used to be. Sunny Saturdays now are absolute mayhem. Hasn't helped that the sunshine and calm weather has aligned with weekends for the last month, no-one can get their midweek fix. Some days it's a 30 minute wait for a 2 minute run. Kiwis typically buttoning the bottom lip and not hassling the lifties, taking out frustrations instead on the noobs who make it all the way through to the front of the T-bar queue without announcing themselves and finding a dance partner... single lads stepping up to the tee getting more heat than Quade Cooper lining up a penalty at Eden Park Toofy Grin

A few piccies from one of the better days.

20180827_074557

A beautiful day on the maunga

20180827_093917

Top of the Knoll Ridge T - (2250m) - Ruapehu's neighbours manage to get their heads above the Pinnacles at this height

20180827_094306

The grooming, the gullies... everything's Wider out West

20180827_111216

Slight resemblance

20180827_111654

Closer look at the Pinnacles (traverses across to the couloirs clearly visible), Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro steaming away in the background

20180827_114216

Where the fun begins

20180827_114507

Bowls bowls bowls. (Mt Taranaki on the horizon, extreme top left)

20180827_115403

Sensational terrain. Need a lift out here asap please RAL!

20180827_115140

"I'm in a wide open spaaaaaace, it's freeziiiiiiiiiing..." Mansun blaring in the earphones, blazing massive Eurocarves down a dead empty powder bowl... glouuuuuuuuuuriouus snowHead snowHead snowHead snowHead snowHead

20180827_124100

Gullies galore...

20180827_124105

West is Best Very Happy

20180827_135833

Couldn't handle the lift hordes any longer... time to hike to the crater. The road ahead! Starting elevation 2300m (top of the Far West T-Bar).

20180827_143734

Up onto the Whakapapa Glacier... Lots of folks thinking the same... 2 kinds of skiers in the world... those with skins (and touring bindings and touring skis and common sense) and those without Laughing

20180827_150653

Paretetaitonga (Pah-rear-tear-tie-tong-ga) - 2751m - one of around 6 peaks (depending how you count them) atop Ruapehu

20180827_151510

About as close to the lake as I want to get! Big taniwha in there (and cornices galore). About 2600m here, about 1.5hrs hike.

20180827_153711

View down into the crowds in the Valley & Knoll Ridge sectors on the 7km run down, 2600m to 1500m. Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1800058911

Now that spring is here, the hordes will start migrating to the mountain bike trails or going to the beach instead, we have thankfully passed peak crowd, and there will be some fantastic sunny open skiing to be had. Hopefully the weather plays ball and the equinoxial gales stay away, plenty more fun to be had this season yet Cool Cool Cool
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You know it makes sense.
@Skiwi 55, great pics, never realised the openness and height of some of your alps down there. I hear lots of European competitors head out your way for 'summer' training, adding to the lift queues no doubt.

Looks like a great route to hike up, am jealous sweating here in France at 27c, but hopefully only a few more months before we're enjoying some early touring.
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Looks awesome, great pics Very Happy
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Wow. Dont remember it looking so well covered in the three seasons we were up there!
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This has been my favourite thread over the summer. Thanks for your reports and great photos Happy
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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?
Looks fantastic. I could see Ruapehu glistening in the sun &snow capped even in the Summer from our house in Havelock North.

Also reminded me of walking the Tongariro track too. Must be one of the best day walks in the world.
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Best photos of Ruapehu I have ever seen. Great work @Skiwi 55,
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks for the friendly words folks - just chuffed to be able to post snippets of our Antipodean version of wintery events for the viewing of other folks who share the passion for all things snowy.

We NZ punters used to have some good local ski forums but for some reason they all closed down, snow sports went through a popularity slump and good sites like snow.co.nz were pulled. Right shame. There are rumours of a resurrection... snowHeads has been good fun lurking around on in the meantime Very Happy

Recent news and views from the mountain -

- Albinen in Switzerland was giving away money to new inhabitants last year - Whakapapa is giving away ski lodges! Form an orderly queue, there're plenty (50 odd) to go round... https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/365441/mt-ruapehu-ski-lodge-given-the-gift-of-life

- Saw a social media clip of a hard case Kiwi skier from the 80s, a Maori chap who dominated the local ski scene for many years. Hilariously OTT. Rotorua is a couple of hours from Ruapehu so that's my thread connection. Laughing https://www.facebook.com/thespinofftv/videos/1369834513152612/

- Repairs on the avalanche damaged High Noon Express chairlift at Turoa are progressing well. The new section of haul rope has arrived and splicing has begun. The objective is to get the rope up, tested, and operational, sadly not to put chairs on but so that post-storm ice build-up on the cable can be better managed, to prevent ice falling onto trails below.
Here's an example of what the infrastructure can look like after a storm... I promise you, this is typical and completely normal... https://www.facebook.com/mtruapehu/photos/a.316964995416/10160600048785417/?type=3&theater
And how the boys deal with it -
http://youtube.com/v/vqSsnFykiCA Laughing they breed em different down here! Madeye-Smiley Toofy Grin Madeye-Smiley

Spring is in full force, with temps approaching double digits this week at lower elevations. Bad news for powder snobs (to whom I say, I don't know how you mistook Ruapehu for Alta), but great news for corn lovers. Heading down Tues night, staying at the Rangitikei Ski Club in Ohakune with the boss, who also happens to be the club president, his idea not mine... (I love my job Very Happy )... will probably ski Turoa this time, expecting a little more controlled softening on the more southerly aspects of Turoa than the predominantly NW facing Whakapapa.
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Another accident on the mountain has claimed a life - a man has died after falling into the crater lake. Sad

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12130014

Spring conditions and longer days meaning many more folks heading to the crater early afternoon at present, taking picnics and popping bottles at the top, with the larger numbers attracting tagalongs and inexperienced risktakers who "follow the crowd" and get themselves into trouble.

Screenshot_20180923_074224_New_Zealand_Maps

Pyramid Peak is one of the lower peaks around the crater, but with a westerly aspect and a steep pitch down to the lake. Lose your footing there and it's splashdown. Not much reason to go there except if attemping a circumnavigation of the lake.

The Dome is a low peak to the north of the crater, very accessible from the normal Whakapapa approach via the Whakapapa glacier. Very common to see folks hiking up and around to access the crowdpleasing north face descent above the Whakapapa lifts.

All a timely reminder that the mountain is never safe no matter how many people seen around doing likewise.

Was skiing Turoa side on Weds/Thurs, some great fun following the boss around on his home turf, sussing out untouched little faces and putting down figure 8s Torville & Dean would be proud of. Photos to come.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
In between projects so did the sensible thing, downed tools and spent a couple days skiing Turoa aka the Dark Side with the boss aka President of the esteemed Rangitikei Ski Club midweek last week. Great fun. Not at all as choppy or slushy as it's been this time previous seasons. Excellent coverage and banter, exploring aspects and angles of Turoa I'd never been or seen before. What a difference skiing with a local makes. Smile

Turoa is of course without the High Noon chair for the remainder of the season, meaning that top elevation is the top of the Giant Chair at ~2050m. I was worried this would really limit the terrain we could access but I needn't have been. El Presidente aka the Man Mountain really knows his mountain, and we went on a good old fashioned yeti hunt, scudding through gullies and around outcrops between sectors, rock hopping under the lifts, punching through piles of ploughed-up Pistenbully debris, finding fresh faces to carve 8s in, narrow cuts to practice spiess turns in, and plenty of head over heels yard sales to hoot and holler at over the walkie talkies. NehNeh

Conditions fair to middling, with a lot of cloud cover blowing across both days. A far cry from the bluebird conditions I usually limit my daytrips to. But very few crowds on the upside, with the pistes holding up well the whole day. Nice and warm, shells and base layers only and plenty of sunscreen. The velvety spring icing on the cake was again managing to win the mini-game I play each trip called "Find a French seasonaire in a cafe or lift queue to send an abusive Snapchat to my longsuffering office-bound Brittanic colleague who neither cycles nor skis and was therefore summarily exiled from his homeland and must be forever reminded in his own tongue of his inadequacy as a Frenchman until Les Bleus once again upset Les All Blacks and the haka is on me". Toofy Grin

A few pics...

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The establishment - Rangitikei Ski Club in Ohakune, unimpeded view of Ruapehu across the common. Current El Presidente put a few nails into this building as a 5yo.

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He wouldn't tell me how that sign ended up down here... Little Angel

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Base elevation Turoa side. Relatively recently developed on this side of the mountain, doesn't have the same historic pioneering spirit of Whakapapa imo. No on-mountain ski-lodges or huts here. RAL bought it into the fold in 2000, and it's now accessible under the same season pass. More boarders here, fewer T-bars to weed them out Toofy Grin

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Sunny on Thursday...

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Bit different day before...

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Snowball fights - spring lambs kicking their heels Very Happy

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Last stop on the RAL bus (not that I'd want to ride a bus connected in any way shape or form to RAL this season) - as high as we get without the High Noon. Replacement haul rope has been spliced in but work still needed on the Tower 15 so no chairs to 2300m for us.

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So it's out to lap and lap up the terrain around the Nga Wai Heke chair we go Smile

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Nga Wai? Wai not? Team Building Exercise '18 is about to begin!

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That nose 6ft6 above El Presidente's skis has a keen sense of smell for 8s... and testing the mettle of the young bull @Skiwi55...

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"Right then, that's a good start @Skiwi55... showing excellent ability to follow and emulate El Presidente's vision... but if you want to be in the succession slipstream to the aging Executive Engineer, you'll have to do better than that..."

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"That's more like it @Skiwi55 - that double helix, much more precise" "It's the same shape as the company DNA that flows through my veins, El Presidente"... promotion game - on point Toofy Grin

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Go west young man! Boldly going where no Team Building Exercise '18 team has gone before

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Mid-year performance review takes an unexpected turn

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Your promotion just disappeared into that cloud @Skiwi55... after him! Shocked

"Later that year, after the summer melt, @Skiwi55 and Rangitikei Ski Club El Presidente 2018 were found by walkers in the Organ Pipes, having evidently and inadvertently flown off a cliff at high speed, circumstances around their demise is subject to much conjecture but willy-waving suspected to be a factor" Skullie

Winter has bitten back this week, the mild weather has now departed with a bitter southerly blowing penguins up the country, bringing low level snow to our South Island friends, with 40cm+ of Thomas the Tank Engine's "silly soft stuff" predicted for Lonely Mountain in Middle North. Oh, my wheels and coupling rods! snowHead

Thomas_Terenceandthe_Snow30
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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!
A most excellent snow report Happy
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Top of the Notch
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
The SW flow has now petered out but has left us Middle Northerners with a useful top-up of spring snow over the last few days. Potential for another visit to the hill this weekend, if the CFO signs off the advance expense claim, but with petrol hitting $2.40/liter at my local pump, maybe time to look at booking a seat on Thomas' antipodean cousin instead. 5 hours from Auckland to National Park I believe. Not exactly Shinkansen pace...

A well-written tribute to the climber who perished in the Crater Lake last weekend posted on Tuesday. Gives context to events, all the more sad now knowing the details, no good deed goes unpunished. Sad Timely reminder of the danger of high mountain terrain, as much as it provides a place for challenge and enjoyment, should be respected at all times, and never underestimated.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/5638346254/permalink/10156765055006255/
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