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Skiing Downunder

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I was wondering how many people were coming down to Australia or New Zealand to ski this season?
post #2 of 18
I'd love to. I'm currently trying to figure out how to make it all happen. I need a plan. Can anyone recommend a good mountan to ski and teach at? Any instructors down there want to put in a good word for me?
post #3 of 18
I'm already here! Seems a tad warm to snow though. As far as teaching goes...I always thought they only imported full certs with extra quals - race coaching or whatever, as half the northern hemisphere wants to teach in their summer. but I met a young person during my US exam who'd already signed a contract with one of the bigger resorts here, which means they were sponsoring her for a visa, and she had 2 seasons teaching and a level 1 qual. So now I'm really confused!
post #4 of 18
Heading down under end of next week....Christchurch is going to be my base...intending to ski mainly the club fields in the Craigiburn Range....the other places look a bit flat.......is there any steep skiing in OZ...I have't heard of any!
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
is there any steep skiing in OZ
Only the prices.
post #6 of 18
As far as teaching goes...I always thought they only imported full certs with extra quals - race coaching or whatever.
I've been looking around a little bit. I've already got a couple of thiose ISIA thingies. And a USSA, too. But I haven't heard much back yet. I probably should have started earlier.

[ May 04, 2002, 11:09 AM: Message edited by: Geoff' ]
post #7 of 18
I'll be in NZ for the month of August. I bought a season pass to Treble Cone. From all I've read on the net, Treble Cone and Craigieburn Valley may be the best 'expert' areas. The certainly sound like they're the steepest. I'm concerned about snow quantity, though. Sounds like maybe I should have gone with the Mt. Hutt season pass. Does anyone have opinions about these areas or others?
post #8 of 18
My opinion:
Treble Cone has by far the best lift-serviced skiing in New Zealand. The main HS 6-pack up the front is the only lift in the country with some pitch to it. Everywhere else, you ride up looking at intermediate terrain and have to traverse to your fun. The most interesting terrain at TC is up on the saddle... double chair to T-bar to snow cat.... and in good snow, skiing down below the base area.

Mount Hutt can keep you interested for quite a few days. The south face has 30 interesting turns as do the chutes through the Towers. (Both are accessed by triple, t-bar, traverse.) Below those turns, the Montezuma ridge down to the base of the triple is fairly interesting. In good snow, the traverse in the other direction leads you to some good out of bounds terrain down to the access road. You can also chase powder in that direction though it's a loooong traverse for very few turns.

As far as towns go, I like Wanaka better than Methven. From Wanaka, you can get to Queenstown in a little more than an hour to get to something more of a destination resort town. From Methven, Christchurch (a real city) is only an hour or so.

If you're only doing a few days at Mt Hutt, I highly recommend staying at the Snow and Stream Lodge. http://www.fishandhunt.co.nz/lodge.htm The owner used to run lift ops at Mt Hutt. He's married to a Japanese woman (they have some cute kids) and they mostly cater to Japanese tourists. In the summer, he's a fishing and touring guide. In the winter, he tends to the lodge and is a pinnah up on the hill. I met him doing laps off Montezuma Ridge and ended up moving to his little hotel.
post #9 of 18
Thanks for your input. It pretty well confirms what I've heard elsewhere. I just hope there is enough snow. The Treble Cone website recently revised their reported annual snowfall to 3.5m. This is less than many of the New England resorts. Plus, the snow making doesn't sound impressive.
post #10 of 18
Just out of curiousity, is there anything resembling tree skiing in NZ? Also, bumps? Or, are the two basic choices "steep" and "intermediate"? Are there "trails"? This is not idle curiousity - I'm in withdrawal, and it hurts.
post #11 of 18
Snow quantity in NZ is hit or miss. Last season I think was an epic year. 2000, when I was there, was pretty bad. Rock hits about every other turn. I stayed in Queenstown and skied Coronet (Concrete) Peak, and The Remarkables. I never made it to Treble Cone. Treble Cone has the better expert terrain, but The Remarkables isn't bad. Plenty of heli-skiing there too. Definatley check that out. I skied with Southern Lakes Heli. Also check out the Nevis high wire bungee while your there. Very cool.
All skiing is above tree line. The snow covers the tops of the mountains, then stops abrubtly at a certain elevation. The roads going up are treacherous. Most skiers take a bus from Queenstown. Come to think of it, I didn't ski any bumps. Maybe it was a bad year. A lot of wind blown, icy conditions.
post #12 of 18
Skiing in NZ is very different to the US, all skiing is above the treeline so no trails as such, cat tracks are 1 cat wide and cut across the steeper slopes for the less confident to traverse across. Most of the skiing is in big open bowls but this means they are very exposed to the weather, add the fact that we are coastal in every direction and the weather can be pretty savage. Snow quality is variable, it can get icy but most snow is reasonably heavy, powder doesn't exist as such.

The commercial fields are all reasonably similar in terms of facilities, 1/2 hour unsealed road to the field, day lodges at the base, a couple of chairlifts and T-Bars, terrain varies from mellow to steep. But traffic is fairly high and all the good local skiers know the best places and after a dump everything is tracked out in a few hours.

But the club fields are where NZ really shines, run by its members as not-for-profit organisations but open to the public, few staff and facilities but ultra cheap and with the best terrain and snow. Several club fields don't have road access but do have goods lifts to get your gear up the mountain, bunk lodges on the snow, lifts are nut-crackers (not for the faint of heart), terrain varies from intermediate to underpants soiling steep. After a big dump Mt Hutt might have 3000 people a day, Temple Basin would be busy at 60 with comparable acreage. Fresh snow lasts between dumps and if you are willing to hike for 10 mins you are always guaranteed fresh tracks. Club fields are a cross between a resort and back country camping, basically lift accessed backcountry with small communal lodges and hot showers. They are pretty much unique to NZ and really capture the heart and soul of the sport. Anyone who comes here and doesn't visit one is really missing out.
post #13 of 18
Originally posted by Geoff':
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> As far as teaching goes...I always thought they only imported full certs with extra quals - race coaching or whatever.
I've been looking around a little bit. I've already got a couple of thiose ISIA thingies. And a USSA, too. But I haven't heard much back yet. I probably should have started earlier.</font>[/quote]I'm still a tad confused about how it all works. I have a sneaking suspicion that 'knowing someone' works wonders. Having your ISIA stamp and other stuff should be plenty, but then you are competing with many for a few spots. also, every year more and more aussies get qualified here and elsewhere. Having said that though, my young friend was 'in' with very little, although the resort she was at had quite a strong connection with the resort in Australia she is heading to.

As for steep skiing in Oz, our mountains are very low and rounded, having had several more millenia of glacial scraping than your pointy hills (ours is a very old continent), so the runs are short, the snow unbelievably heavy (yes, much wetter than your Californian snow)...but we still manage to find stuff that is challenging. The tree skiing here is very differnt, as the the trees are snowgums, all gnarled and twisted from the cold and the wind. It's quite lovely. The temperatures are very warm...I found this season in Colorado almost unbearably cold some days. In Oz, it tends to hang around zero celcius, which is about 32 fahrenheit. It's still cold, as the cold tends to be the humid sort. We get rain! Lots of it. Goretex is loved down here, we ski in heavy downpours sometimes. (the best gloves for this are washing up gloves, with thin liners).
Steeps, well we have them, but they are short. You work with what you've got, and I must say that many of my best days skiing have been down here. It's different, but can still be wonderful.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
... powder doesn't exist as such.
Not sure I can agree with that one Kiwi, I've seen some pretty good powder a Hutt. Mind you it doesn't take long to get tracked out.
post #15 of 18

Both AU sites. I'm not sure of any info as far as instructors are concerned sorry

<img src=http://www.tnfj.com/Images/Smilies/scatter.gif>
post #16 of 18
You folks are making skiing in the other hemisphere sounding mmore and more like SA rather than NZ or AU. From my converstions with a Chilean up here for a PSIA event, SA [at least Chile] has snow and terrain up the ying yang.
post #17 of 18
Yeah, Chile and Angentina have some pretty incredible skiing. Las Lenas has some kind of extreme championships every year, from memory. I taught a couple of Chilean ladies for several private lessons at Mount Snow, and their local area was Portillo. They sadly mimed that teh terrain there scared the willies out of them!
I'd go to South America, but the pay is poor, they say, and their currencies are more battered than the Oz peso. Ditto, to a lesser extent, NZ.
post #18 of 18
I will be going to Australia this coming season. Falls Creek to be more specific. I went to Perisher Blue last season and I had a great time. Although it was drag living in Jindabyne and comuting 40 minutes up the mountain. Hitchhiked for awhile until I found a steady ride. Scariest thing I have ever done. Traveling is one of the best parts besides being able to ski and teach for an extra 100 days a year or more. Can't wait to ski again. It has only been 2 weeks since my last ski day but I am definitely missing it.
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