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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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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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@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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@hang11, you must love skiing to go through all that!
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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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 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.
Puking Eh oh! . For days Eh oh!

Managed 10 days in the last month but pretty scratchy. Looks like things are going to properly kick off for the season over the next few days.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Been an interesting winter so far. No shortage of weather thanks to La Niña, lots of warmish wet windy storms out of the tropics putting down big dumps up high, and big floods down low, but the wind has been a challenge and it's been taking some effort to find the gaps in the wind when the snow is still good. Open borders have meant some busy days at the commercial areas - Queenstown looked like no fun over school holidays. Also got COVID which has knocked a couple of heli days on the head, but hope to rectify that soon. Been hanging out at the club fields mostly and it's been great.

Got up to Porters today. It's got actual lifts Very Happy 1 chair and 3 t bars to get to the top. Good snow, a bit breezy,



Porters is in the Craigieburn range. It's where most of the well known club fields are - Porters, Cheeseman, Broken River and Craigieburn, with Temple Basin a bit further along.



Nice view of the Pacific - and home for me just where the hills meet the coast



The powder highway Very Happy



Roadkill.



Stopped for a fish on the way home



Looking like lots of unsettled weather for the next week, hoping to get to Ohau in a couple of days time, big snow forecast, but potential strong winds, so keeping fingers crossed that there is a break in the weather and it happens. Ohau is one of my powder day favourites. Great hill, out the way of the crowds.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
hang11 wrote:


Roadkill.





Not an uncommon sight on the roads up. Very Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
This morning I was driving up Porters pass and it was quite icy. There was a stock truck in front of me, sliding backwards towards my very insubstantial jimny, single lane, death drop off the side, nowhere to go. I was doing the maths about jumping out and hanging off the other side of the crash barrier Very Happy

Thankfully it got some traction with about 20 metres gap, and I managed to get past it towards the top.

That would have been my 3rd written off vehicle in 2 years.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@hang11, I hope the occupants of the stock truck weren't losing their load as well. wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@hang11, @ster, It's quite a while back since we were in NZ. We based ourselves in Wanaka and had hired a large Mitsubishi truck based campervan. We mainly skiied Treble Cone and Cardrona and the access roads were littered with a few vehicles that had gone over the edge. We would always pick up a local who was hitching a ride up the hill as they were all well practised at fitting snowchains. We never actually had a problem going up (twin-wheel drive axle) but a few times on the way down we found the rear wanted to overtake the front Shocked
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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?
The bigger ski areas have better (ish) roads usually but they are often worse to drive because of all the inexperienced snow drivers in rental cars. Quite often it’s chaos. More out of the way places tend to need a high clearance 4wd and a can do attitude, so it’s usually less hassle as long as you don’t go off the side (which I’ve done a couple of times)
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I worked on Patrol and Ski School through the late 90s at Mt Hutt and thus had the enduring joy of being up the road early doors. 4wd Subaru Justy with low range and chains, never failed me. The mental rentals were always a worry esp. on the way down with people banging it in Drive and then cooking their brakes halfway down. We had many many incidents, i had one absolutely banger night coming out when we'd been searching for someone until well dark and had to come down, couldn't see anything so we had the doors open and someone walking in front Shocked Very Happy All character building stuff. On my days off i'd be up at Porters, Craigieburn or sometimes down at Fox Peak or Mt Dobson. Spoilt for choice and terrain but it's not Alps level of lift infrastructure or restaurants that's for sure. But good skiing when the snow plays ball.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Dobson is a great hill when the snows on. Never been to fox and really should. Hasn’t really opened last few years but have heard it’s all good currently.

I took my kids to Austria a couple of years ago. They had no concept of what lift infrastructure looks like and were blown away by the food and drink offerings. They always thought a shoddy chairlift and a bacon sandwich out the back of the truck was living large Very Happy
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You’d like Britain then Cool
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...

http://youtube.com/v/UWagom_VmCg
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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!
Yeh it’s cold tonight New snow badly needed after the wettest and warmest winter on record.

Currently debating with myself whether I make the effort for 15cm of fresh covering ice and rocks with a big walk into a clubbie or just go lazy and drive somewhere with lifts and thousands of frothing Ozzie tourists.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Peter S wrote:
You’d like Britain then Cool


Nothing but top class facilities here!

https://metro.co.uk/2020/04/10/dad-builds-ski-slope-chair-lift-garden-entertain-kids-quarantine-12537750/
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I’ve actually got a chair lift in my garden Happy

Parked it under a cabbage tree looking out over the beach.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Some pictures from the hood over the last couple of weeks. Today was pretty good, boot deep dry powder under a blue sky. It's been a funny season, La Niña causing loads of warm wet storms, but there's always goods to be found with a bit of effort. Holiday crowds have been nuts, but I've heard it's nowhere near as bad as in Queenstown and Wanaka. Hopefully Japan opens up soon and everyone clears off over that way for their fix of fun.

These are all Hutt, Cheeseman, and touring and heli around the middle of the south island - sort of between Aoraki and the Craigieburns. We had a storm come in that rained about 1.5m of snow away, and unusually didn't replace it on the way through. It's looking patchy and getting a bit nervous about prime touring time over the next few weeks, but it does look like the weather is starting to go a bit more like usual, with a few reasonable top ups in the forecast.



















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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.
Nice, was at Cardrona yesterday, (Monday) flat light as a bit of snow came in but pistes were in good condition.

Cardrona was shut on Sunday because of high winds, and just one lift open at the Remarkables.

Hope for a some nice blue skies and steady bus ride up to Cardrona tomorrow
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
How’s the crowds at cardies?

Would be worth a trip to ohau this week if you are able to get up that way. Or mt cook heli. Been some good snow further north
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@hang11, the crowds were fine on the mountain if you stayed away from that first immediate gondola/chair lift, I just got off the coach and dropped down the mountain and did some loops on chair lifts without any queues.... except in the restaurants when the white-out hit ... absolute madness.

There was some NZ international snowboard competition on though, some incredible boarders and skiers on the jumps, so maybe more people up the mountain in the restaurants than normal
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