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NZ - Central South Island 22

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Season opener today. After an unusually big storm last weekend that put down 2.5m of snow in the local mountains, a couple of ski areas managed to dig their access roads out. Unfortunately there has been a lot of wind after the storm, meaning stripped areas, wind slab and deep packed snow in some spots.

I went up to Hanmer today, a small club field, who had their nutcracker tow running. Shared it with about 15 others. Some great conditions on one side of the basin. Went for a wander on my split board, and found the goods in some low angle terrain.

Hanmer is a gem, I love going there. It’s run by volunteers, has a nice lodge to stay in, a super friendly vibe and it's dead cheap for a ticket. No cafe or anything flash like that, the snow preparation is pretty much whatever Mother Nature did the day before, and the road is character building. When they say 4WD with chains required, they mean ground clearance, proper 4wd, and a sense of adventure The lifty/ski patroller/marketing guy is great, shook my hand and introduced himself at the start of the day, asked my name, and didn’t forget it. It’s well worth a visit for a taste of kiwi snow sports away from the big commercial operations further South, as long as being tortured by the tow isn’t an issue. They aren’t a lot of fun for snowboarders and take a while to get the hang of.

Despite the winds this week, it’s setting up to be a great season. The local heli ski terrain has about 3m of snow on it, so glaciers should be filled in, and good to go for 1st July when it opens. Most of the other club fields are loaded, and opening early July. Avi risk is as high as it gets, so touring is off the cards for a while. Feeling like a kid in a candy shop waiting for the doors to be unlocked at the moment Happy

A few pics of the ski area







And some of the access road. Took my new truck up there today, first time on snow after a few upgrades.







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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
That is a really great report, thank you.
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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?
Sounds great. Love the pics as well. The valley looks spectacular.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Never been on one and they certainly don’t look fun


http://youtube.com/v/CO-CMk_LeWs

How does the rope stay on the intermediate wheels? It seems to pop off quite easily.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@ster, even less fun backside on a splitboard Eh oh!

I find a climbing harness is much better than the usual tow belt, because I’m tall and it gets the nutcracker lower.

They are fine after a few embarrassing falls and a bit of practice. Just got to be careful of fingers and pack straps in the pulleys.

The rope falls off the pulleys all the time. Which drags it on the ground and stuffs it, as well as making it harder to hold on to. There are a couple of solutions:

1) ride up behind ski patrol because they always put it back on

2) (the proper way) ride as close to the pulleys as possible without hitting them - like an inch or two away, and the rope stays on, and then ride inside of the tow line between pulleys and lift the rope high on the way past them to get it back on for the person behind.

Takes a bit of practice and best not to have a beer gut
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@hang11, as I have now watched a four minute video I am now expert in this splitboarding device, but seriously just asking , wouldnt you split them and go up as if on skis to make it easier or CBA to split then put them back together for such a short ride?

And what do you do with the nutcracker device when not on the lift , do you just stick it in your pocket/pack and lug it around all day?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I’ve thought about locking the heel and split skiing up but picking it might destroy knees with no release on split bindings and no side cut on the outside edges.

I’m terms of stowing the nutcracker, if I’m doing laps I just hang it off the gear loops on the harness waist belt and hope I don’t fall over in such a way that it smacks into the Crown Jewels Toofy Grin

I use a biner on a short length of rope to attach the nutcracker to the harness, so it does come off and go in a pack if I’m going for a bigger walk.
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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!
Not all rope tows are short - there’s one locally that is 1.4km long at some ridiculous angle - maybe 40 degrees in places. It’s brutal but accesses some incredible terrain on the right day. It takes a zen like state to get up the thing and a box of ibuprofen at the end of the day to recover Very Happy

The club fields here pretty much give access to heli ski quality terrain when the snows good. But heli ski is about $1200 a day and clubbie passes are about $60. The hassle is worth it.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@hang11, you must love skiing to go through all that!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
'No cafe or anything flash like that...' Very Happy

I'm not sure a single, ski area cafe is all that flash...does add to the day's enjoyment though!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
nice was hoping you'd kick this thread off to keep us Northerners going!! How long is that rope tow, does it go to almost to the summit in your first pic, or is there 2 tows??
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