We have finally made it to the Snow! ( Should have posted this before Midwinter madness… but forgot it was here! )
After much discussion, trawling the internet for accommodation and perusing the weather forecast we finally booked three days at Whakapapa.
Two excited boys and probably equally excited parents set off, car packed with winter woollies for the three hour drive to Mount Ruapehu.
We arrived in National Park Village too late to get skis and stuff so headed to the chalet and settled down for tea. The mountain had been closed all day due to high winds but next day dawned clear and bright with stunning views of Ruapehu and Ngaruhoehoe. Off to the ski shop where the boys and I were quickly sorted but half an hour later and on his 7 zillionth pair of boots later we were still waiting for Nige to fit his knobbly feet into rigid, unforgiving plastic! Up to the slopes then and we were a trifle nervous about whether we would need chains or even if the van would get up the hill!
However, no problem, though only four-wheel drives and chained vehicles were allowed right to the end of the road; the rest of us had to park lower down and then use the free shuttle buses to get to the resort. Lachlan was itching to get on the slope and was keen, as only a 14 year old boy with little imagination can be, to just get to the top of the mountain and ski down! We had decided to book the boys into lessons so Aonghas went down to Happy Valley and Lachlan went up to the Rock Garden, and we had a couple of hours to ourselves to explore! We spent the afternoon skiing the mountain taking turns with each of the boys and by the time we dragged them away from the slopes they were both skiing confidently.
Next day we put Aonghas into another lesson which gave him a real boost and then we hit him with the Rock Garden! It’s amazing how resilient kids are; despite lots of wipeouts and a good amount of tears, frustration and temper Aonghas still wanted to go back up and ski down again! Lachlan bulldozed his way inelegantly down the upper mountain in a neanderthal snowplough but loved every minute; he survived a mega wipeout on his first ride on a T-bar and was soon riding them like an expert! Two happy but exhausted boys were out like lights the moment their heads hit the pillows!
We paid the price of not remembering how dehydrated you can get on the ski slopes – Aonghas suffered that evening and was quite sick but a good night’s sleep and plenty of water and he bounced out of bed the next day as children do!
We were vindicated in our decision to take our hire stuff back the previous evening when we awoke to a mountain disguised as a fuzzy grey cloud! Made our way home with a sense of achievement and a determination to come back for more!