Skiing in Queenstown

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown
September 14th 2008
Published: September 14th 2008
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Hello again all, hope all is well back home. Time is flying by out here on the other side of the world and we can’t believe we’ve only got 5 weeks left in NZ and we’re still only half way round the South Island! So here’s the next installment of our trip so far:

As we weren’t skiing until Thursday and Queenstown seemed a little on the expensive side we decided to take a short trip down to Glenorchy. Glenorchy is meant to have some of the best scenery in New Zealand and quite a lot of filming for the Lord of the Rings was done here as it is so diverse. When we arrived in the town itself we were surprised by how small it was, there was only one campsite which was expensive and horrible! After lunch we went for a short walk around Glenorchy lagoon which was quite nice. Whilst we were cooking dinner a lady that we named ‘The hag’ came in and turned on the TV, it wasn’t working so she asked us if we’d been pressing buttons (this being near impossible to do as they’d covered front of the TV with plastic so you couldn’t touch it) whilst she was obviously implying we had. She eventually got it working and gave us a 5 minute demonstration on how to use a remote control! Apparently she keeps it with her at all times so people don’t change the settings…strange! With Glenorchy not being what we expected we headed back to Queenstown the next day and arranged to meet up with Rob from our dive course in Koh Tao. Before we met up with Rob however we had to buy our Australian visas and book our flights home…a very sad moment! We met Rob for a drink down town (I had my first cider in 7months which was amazing) before driving back to his house for a cup of tea and some biscuits. At 9pm we went out for some drinks, first stop was the Buffalo bar where they had loads of peanut shells all over the floor, next was Altitude where Nick got chatting to the strangest guy who told him the world would end in 2013 because of alien activity! Lastly we went to World bar where they gave you cocktails in teapots with little shot glasses to drink out of, it was the strangest thing. While we were out I got asked for ID a few times, although the drinking age is 18 if you look under 25 they ask for ID?! Apparently if a bar gets caught serving alcohol to underage people the fine is given to the bar and it’s something ridiculous like £5,000, so they’re really strict. The next day we met Rob again and he took us down to the beach (which was covered in seagulls) and around some of the shops. We were in bed early that evening as the next day would be our first day on the slopes!
We were up early to get to Coronet Peak where we could pick up our equipment and clothing before the slopes opened at 9am. It took about half an hour to get from town to Coronet and we were dropped off right outside the main building where the rental shops were. We filled out a form and were given a jacket, trousers, boots, skis and poles. Putting skis on again was really strange so we both went up the baby slopes first to get used to them. As I was lining my skis up for the ski tow a hook caught around my leg and sent me flying. I couldn’t believe it, I was first to fall over and we hadn’t been on a slope yet! To take you to the top of the baby slope was a conveyor belt and I nearly fell off that as well! There’s Nick in front with a massive grin on his face! We both went down the baby slope without falling over and right from the start Nick had a problem with going slow….he just couldn’t do it! We were both surprised at how easily he’d picked it up though and soon enough we were moving on to ‘The Big Easy’ which was the only beginners slope at Coronet Peak. To get to the top we had to sit on a 2 man chair lift and of course we messed up and stopped the whole thing! Oops! We did manage to get off at the top without falling over though…Thank God! The views from the top over the Wakatipu basin were amazing though with Lake Wakatipu in the distance, usually you just get a view of other mountain ranges. The top of the ‘Big Easy’ was actually a lot steeper than we’d expected but Nick was off straight away whizzing down the mountain and somehow managed not to fall over! He was loving it! We spent the morning getting used to the skis on the beginners slope and to my amusement Nick did fall over a couple of times. We stopped for lunch in the sun and noticed we were both getting a little bit sun burnt which we hadn’t expected. In the afternoon we did try another slope but it was a bit too icy and steep so we went back to the old faithful. At 4pm we caught the bus back down and booked into our accommodation where we were pleased to hear they had free soup at 6pm! We couldn’t be bothered to cook dinner after a long day skiing so we walked down to the famous ‘Fergburger’ restaurant/takeaway in town. We ended up ordering a ‘Mr Big Stuff’ which consisted of 2 ½lb beef burgers, 2 bacon rashers, 2 cheese slices, avocado, salad and sauces in a bun and a ‘Cockadoodleoink’ which consisted of a massive chicken fillet, bacon, cheese, salad and sauce in a bun….they were massive!!
Included in our ski package was night skiing on Friday and Saturday so we decided to have a lie-in before heading up to the slopes. At 11am we hit the ‘Big Easy’ again and it felt really strange putting the skis back on again…like you have massive feet. It was a bit cloudier today but Nick was adamant he wanted to go to the top of the mountain and try the ‘M1’ run which linked up with the ‘Big Easy’ at the bottom. Only problem was it also joined up with much harder runs in some places making some parts quite steep. We went up the 4man ski lift to the top of the mountain where you almost had a 360˚ view of the area which was really nice. As usually Nick zoomed off wobbling all over the place but not falling over and I slowly started making my way down. The first section was my worst nightmare, it was steep, icy, there were people going really fast and 2 sections joined at the iciest point! The second section was less steep but icy with big snow drifts scattered across it. The third section was really nice and gentle with quite thick snow and great views to take in. The last section was quite steep again but not as icy as the first. Thankfully there were no falls, no crashes and no broken limbs…Nick loved it and I hated it! I think Nick prefers the speed and challenge whereas I prefer to go slow and relax. We did do the big run a few more times but eventually my bones started aching so I left Nick to that and stuck to the beginners slope. At one point Nick met me on the slope and as I went to sit down next to him I foolishly sat on my skis and just carried on going down the hill waving my arms about everywhere! I must have looked a right idiot! Nick fell over a couple more times but he blamed people for getting in his way and said he was trying to avoid them…yea right! At about 4.30pm the slopes started emptying so there were no queues and no one in your way on the slopes. As the sun started to go down it got a lot colder, especially on the lifts and the snow started to ice over. At about 6.15 it got pretty dark so they turned all the spotlights on and you were pretty much skiing in the dark which was really cool. At about 7pm it just got too cold so we caught the bus back and had a very early night as we were both knackered.
On our last day skiing we both woke up a bit sore but we were still up and out at 8am. For the first few runs I didn’t feel like I was in control but then I realised I hadn’t done my boots up! I decided to stick to the big easy as I was aching quite a lot but Nick wanted to stick to the big run. He would do one big run and meet me at the top of the Big Easy and I would do two runs and we’d go down together. We stayed until 3pm as although it was nice and sunny again it was really cold. That evening we splashed out on a Pandemonium from Hell’s pizza which consisted of cranberry sauce, chicken pieces and camembert…YUM! We stayed at Robs and had a nice long hot shower before sleeping in a nice comfy bed with an electric blanket…I wasn’t looking forward to going back to the cold campervan!


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