Over the course of the Ski Season 2018 (June – October) I managed to experience the slopes of Mt Hutt in all its amazing glory. Whilst not a rival to the huge ski resorts of Europe in terms of quantity of skiing, what this field lacks in size it more than makes up for in punchy atmosphere and serious smiles on faces.
Over the season, I was lucky enough to experience the slopes with so many people, I never realised the sport could pull so many people together. From close friends, aquaintances, hotel guests, colleagues and absolute experts (skiing backwards whhhaatttt) , the season has been a crazy one and I’m thankful for all of the great (and not so great) days up there.
Special mention to Fred – I can categorically say the funniest moments at Mt Hutt place you at the centre of the laughter.
The start of the season got off to a great start. A huge dump of snow got everybody very excited. And nothing really followed after that…
Mt Hutt is the highest ski field in New Zealand and, I’m told, usually boasts impressive snowfall. With a gravel road for access (that can be pretty sketchy at times – see this post) its about 90 minutes from Christchurch.
But as the days wore on and the sun shone, the snow became harder and harder and harder until…
After a big night it seemed like a great idea to head for the mountain. Who doesn’t love tequila fuelled 2am plans of “LETS GO TO THE MOUNTAIN IN THE MORNING WHAT A GREAT IDEA”. With me sleeping the whole way and wondering how on earth I would spend a day verticle on skis, I looked out to the beautiful sunrise from high up over Canterbury. This positive admiration for my surroundings was short lived.
On one of the early chair lifts, we came to a sudden stop and the chair was swaying vigorously, as it does. My stomach did not react well and heaving ensued. Fortunately, the contents of my stomach remained within me, but it was a reminder that I think my day was over before it had begun. No thanks to the man on the other side of Fred who offered me whiskey. I settled at the bottom, sat on the bench, watched as the mountain whited out and wondered if it was rude of me to ask to go home.
However, with the lack of snowfall came some glorious bluebird days. The views from Mt Hutt are sensational and it does boast a spa pool, New Zealands highest, at over 2000m above sea level. I didn’t get to experience it this year due to not being entirely convinced that skiing down the mountain in wet clothes is a pleasant experience.
We’ve had no end of laugh-out-loud moments, including bent ski poles from Fred, endless falls, jumps for the first time, speeding tickets, falls from jumps for the first time and all the bits in between.
As for the benefit of skiing as a sport and its accessibility in this country, it’s really good for ones brain. I find it amazing that you can wake up, do 3 hours skiing and then head off to work for 3pm. With amazing views, great weather and delicious coffee, it really is a great way to clear your head of the day to day stuff that so often consumes our mental capacity. Managing the stress of a visa application and a real unknown throughout June for me, it helped keep me entertained and my mind away from worry. It also provided me with something to do when I wasn’t allowed to work (sorry not sorry work!)
I also had my first snowboarding lesson which went very well, but for the life of me I could not work out the button lifts. It was exhausting running up the slope just to fall back down it on my bottom. I think I’ll stick to the skis for now.
And really, thats the ski season done and dusted.
*disclaimer – late post. The ski season finished 4 months ago so it’s been over a while*