Snow Farm ski tour by full moon

As many of you know, my main primary interest in the Central Otago winter is cross country skiing, and I’m fortunate enough to have the managements blessing at the Snow Farm ski area to be a nocturnal wanderer. It does avoid sun burn, and oh goodness too many trips in our Southern Alps years ago have ravaged my skin in places.

With our short ski season it’s tempting to entertain the thought that you can go ski in a full moon whenever it suits, but it’s not this easy. A number of factors have to coincide such as cloud [low is bad as it confuses the definition of a head light], snow quality [ice has the potential to trip up even the best skier and landing on it, is worse than a normal downhill skiing fall which has a slope below to wash off energy], and then there are external factors like other things in life.

But last night it was all go:

My old mate Francois aka Johnny Fondue trucking along as the sun sets. He is out visiting from Switzerland right now after a 20 year absence. He spent 3 winters instructing at Treble Cone and flatted with us back in my married days in the 80s…
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Looking south before the moon rose…
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We’d descended into the Meg river valley, and then as climbing out the moon finally appeared, in what we both described as a spiritual like moment…
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Into the challenge of capturing the moment…
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Travelling light meant no tripod, and is also safest, and besides the weather was brutal, so many hand held shots, or using my knee as a platform, produced a crop of blurred images and the odd sharp one. I do quite like the effect on this blurred one ‘tho…
Snow farm moon 1

At this point we had to make a decision whether or not to go up further into the wind – it’s the usual one I make every time I visit the saddle below Bob Lee hut. It’s very exposed and in winter akin to a mountain summit.

So we went on and got our butts frozen off by the hut. That’s the hut chimney on the right and there was no one at home, but at least we had a respite from the wind…
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The weather system of the last few days did dump a modest amount of snow, but this riming into the wind is quite North Island like…
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We scurried back down to the saddle to warmer climes…
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A bit lower down we got a view up the Kirsty Burn…
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Meadow Hut was occupied by the time we returned, so a quick pause to capture the illusion of warmth…
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Closer to the Lodge we encountered the groomer preparing the trails post storm, for today. Eight tons of groomer was a bit of a shock to our lonely reverie…
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Not long now to a hot home made soup in my camper truck and a late coffee in the Lodge, we passed by the area known as Musterer’s Flat. I was reminded how desert like a snow covered landscape can be…

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And so ended another trip to my favourite area. Over four hours worth was a bit slow, but the surface was very crunchy.

About this Like Minds Blog Donald Lousley