The drive up the mountain was a new experience entirely. We're used to the jagged steep approach roads of the european alps, but this was practically one gradual ascent. The surroundings were different too, travelling through a lush forest for the first half of the ascent before emerging in to a volcanic moonscape for the remainder.
The resort itself wasn't what we're used to either - this was just a place to park your car and get on the lifts, any accomodation is found at the base of the mountains over here. I suppose it's not practical to live on a volcano?! The conditions were really good, a bit icy in places, but generally good snow. The base is up to 470cm, which is about 270cm more than european resorts normally get. It is a record covering over here, and we should be able to still hit the slopes around Christmas time - which is the middle of summer!! One thing instantly realisable is the ratio of skiers to snowboarders. It's at least 50/50 over here, whereas in the european alps borders are still in the minority, probably about 70/30 at most (depending on the resort). Another reason to come to NZ then!
The drive back to Auckland was a bit of a hike, but definatley worth it. I'm sure we'll trim a few minutes off the journey with a bit more practice.
Jody liked it that much that she's gone back there today (wednesday) with Kieran's girlfriend Nic. Jody starts her new job next Monday, so is making the most of her free time, especially now that our gear has arrived!! We'll write some more about that once we've got round to unpacking all the boxes - it's like Christmas, as we can't remember exactly what we packed.
Anyway, lunch is over, time to get back to work.
I'm out for dinner with work tonight.......more free food!! "I'll have the steak please". Need I say more?
View from the top
If those clouds had cleared you can see the coast!
Get out of my shot, skier!!