Skiing Bitihorn Beitostolen Norway
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Skiing in New Zealand

Several years ago, we endured a heart-stopping trip to The Remarkables Ski Fields in the South Island of New Zealand. Australians flock to the NZ ski fields, every year, as it is more cost effective for them, than skiing in the limited fields in Australia.

Finally, we arrived!

After the 8 Kilometre, nail-biting transfer to the Remarkables Ski Field, in a very old bus, we checked “in,” to receive our NZ Ski My Pass Card, microchipped to follow our progress around the ski fields and were measured for clothing, boots, and skis.

Hiring Skis and Clothing on the Ski Fields

The Ski Centre, (at 1610 m a.s.l.), was awash with bodies of all sizes in snowsuits, teeny tiny kids sliding about on snowboards and loads of skis resting in the snow.

Travel tip: Visitors can hire ski gear for their skiing adventure, (pants, jackets, and boots etc) but they do have to bring some items of their own, as I was to soon discover.

No, you can’t hire gloves, Ma’am, for hygiene reasons” – the attendant in the Ski shop told me sternly, upon enquiring. What was I thinking? (Even in this pre-Covid vacation). Ski gloves would be a personal item you couldn’t and wouldn’t want to hire!

I regretted not thinking through the Travel agent’s vague advice: “Travel light, you can hire everything over there.” I cursed leaving my own super-thick Norwegian gloves at home and regretted passing up the opportunity to buy a pair at our local supermarket, (which had so many on sale, as ski gloves aren’t usually a popular commodity in Australia). Thus, having a captive market, I succumbed and purchased a pair for $50.00 at the small mountain Ski shop. It would be impossible to ski/toboggan without gloves.

Storage Lockers for Hire at The Remarkables

I also regret not hiring a storage locker at the ski centre; however, the locks appeared dubious and I preferred to have my passport, drink bottles and asthma medication with me so chose to carry it around on my back, whilst skiing, not realizing how destabilizing this would be on my balance.

Update: The Ski centre now offers secure day storage with automated pay lockers and if skiing the next day you can store your used gear overnight in the Rental Department. This is available downstairs in the base building and you can pay by credit card or EFTPOS.

Ski Lessons

Group and Private ski lessons can now easily be booked ahead of time, via the website.

I’d opted to introduce my daughter to the thrill of downhill skiing in New Zealand, so I attempted to teach her what little I knew from a trip to Thredbo Ski Fields, as a school student, some 30 years ago.

Unfortunately for my pride, it fast became apparent that following the lead of another beginner skiers in the very generous Beginner’s bowl as well as eavesdropping on a few instructors was far more successful for my daughter, than listening to Mum’s antiquated knowledge. Physically adept, she quickly got the hang of it, having been cross-country skiing in Norway, several years previously. Before long, she was going up and down the magic carpet in the Beginner’s bowl area, while I watched on from a distance.

Hands up in a Happy ‘Y’

Lifts at the Remarkables

It is useful to bear in mind that lift passes allow you to access both The Remarkables and Coronet Peak ski fields and do not need to be used on consecutive days.

From the ski centre, we jumped, (literally), onto the chairlift, to travel up to the Tubing area. With skis on, it is no mean feat for a 10-year-old, new to downhill skiing, to manage this without any assistance. What happened to those nice attendants I remember who were there to help you on and off the chairlift with a modicum of grace?

In this age of economic rationalism, they had been replaced by a single safety officer, who replied to a request for assistance with a lackadaisical, “You’ll be alright!”  That is Kiwi skiing for you and his confidence in my skills, as anticipated, was sorely misplaced. Getting on the lift, was managed fine, but getting off was quite a different matter.

Busily advising my daughter, Miss 10, on what to watch out for when alighting from the chair, (which she managed with incredible finesse), I suddenly realised I’d left alighting from the chair a second or two, too late!! By which time, I had to jump, as the lift had started to turn and the ground was fast disappearing beneath me. The sharp decline on the slope meant I promptly lost my balance, falling over right in front of the turning chair!

With not a soul to help, I got up with the help of Miss 10, which was humiliation enough. I was then relieved to see a friendly face approach me, thinking this stranger was going to assist me to maintain my precarious balance on the snow. Alas, she was a photographer out to take an obligatory-first time ski portrait- the kind they sell in kiosks at somewhat ridiculous prices.

Snap snap snap, clicked the camera.

I inwardly hoped she didn’t get one of me falling at the top of the chairlift. On second thoughts, that could have been a better tourist photo! With my mouth wide open, gasping for air and scrambling for something on which to gain a solid footing, (said backpack swinging around on my back), it is little wonder the photographer suddenly hesitated, thinking I was about to sneeze, or collapse. No, it was me with a mild bout of asthma, gasping for a little more air.

Tubing and Snow Fun at The Remarkables

After that mild mishap, and a few more falls and runs down the slopes, we arrived at the Tubing area – which is a short walk from the lift.

Riding a Rubber tyre tube down a huge slope is a real blast in the snow. I can’t tell you how much fun it is, even for a person of my age. It is not just for children.

Miss 10 and I tubed up and down for over an hour, and I would have continued if I could have. I think sometime we may have reached speeds of 20 -30 km/h. It was heady! I felt young again!

Back then, the Tubes are pulled up by a rope tow, which has to be held taut whilst you are seated on the large rubber tube. For me, that meant holding the tow rope in a position that rather awkwardly was between my legs! Yet this was so much more preferable to walking up the hill in the snow dragging the tube in thick snow. And it meant we could get more downhill runs in. Yay!

Of course, the ubiquitous Tourist Photographer was there too. I think two photos cost near to over NZD$60.00 – you have been warned!

After several more hours, I was utterly exhausted and needed some fuel and asthma medication to continue. We returned to the beginner area instead of attempting more advanced runs. We’d fallen over too many times to remember, by this stage.

Despite seeing a nasty beginner snowboarding accident which to me looked like a flip gone wrong, we had so much fun, going up, coming down, going up, coming down, throwing snowballs, sliding down the snow cave/tunnel etc.  And the view from the Remarkables was well, remarkable!

Ski Transfer to Queenstown from The Remarkables

The return trip from the ski fields is simple enough. No need to book as apparently shuttles leave the mountain every hour, or as soon as they fill up a bus load, from 2 pm onwards.

Something to Ponder About

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last time Norway

Every second Monday, I post a photo of a ‘mystery’ location, and sometimes a mystery object. 

I invite you to leave a comment if you think you know the location, or what the mystery object might be.

 

This Week’s Monday Mystery Photo

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Can you guess the location?

If you guess correctly, I will link back to your blog in a post the following Monday, when the answer is revealed.

Comments will be released later in the week, (Thursday Australian E.S.T.), so as not to spoil the fun for latecomers to this post.

The Mystery photo this week comes from Amy P from the Blog Tesserolo.  Many thanks to Amy for the use of her photo.

If you also have a travel photo you would like featured on Monday Mystery, please leave a comment or contact me on my email which you will find on the Contact page.

You can also find my email by hovering over my Gravatar and viewing my Profile information.

Last Time on Monday Mystery

Ted from recipereminiscing.wordpress.com has been a very welcome regular commenter on Monday Mystery, but his gorgeous photo comprised the very last MMP for 2017.

It was of course, the very famous Vigeland Sculpture park in Oslo, Norway.

  Thanks Ted for the photo!

This photo was taken on New Year’s Eve some years back, and strangely enough, both Ted and Myself were at the park on that very night!

Although we did not know of each other then!!! The snow fell right on midnight following the annual Fireworks display lighting up the sky.

A wonderful moment for a traveler in Norway!

Congratulations to Drake for correctly guessing the location.

Who will guess the location this time?

Something I do Ponder About

– Amanda

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Snowball Zermatt
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My Frozen places

Take a tour with me –

 

Iceland – the ultimate Frozen landscapeIceland Thingvellir

 

A snow bunny in the frozen Norwegian countrysideOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Delicate frozen-ness atop the Swiss Alpssnow

 

Icy vastness in the Antipodes of New Zealandsnow

 

Even in Australia, one can find frozen Gum treessnowgums falls cree 2011

 

The snow was icy and ‘sharp’ this day. If you fell skiing, it really hurt!Beitostolen

 

A face that could freeze hearts!

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Linking to the Travel theme: Frozen

 

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Walking with Edmund at 760 metres

Once a humble beekeeper, Sir Edmund Hillary came to know this mountain very well. For it was here that he would hone his mountaineering skills to become the first man, along with Tensing Norgay Sherpa, ever to reach the summit of the tallest peak in the world – Mt Everest.

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Hillary was certainly an imposing figure, even in Bronze. The man was apparently very tall, and perhaps this is what gave him an edge over other mountaineers, when climbing with cramp-irons on his feet up vertical ice cliffs….??

His statue stands at the Hermitage Hotel at Mt Cook, New Zealand, a place that came to be his second home. Known as Aoraki in the Maori tongue, I stopped here en route to Queenstown and took a walk around the Mt Cook vicinity.

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Yes, I was mad enough to go to the South Island of New Zealand in the middle of winter!!

Mt Cook is in the South Island of New Zealand and a stunning place of phenomenal beauty, yet a very unforgiving place.

 

There was a patch of blue sky in the far distance, which looked promising for my walk, but at this altitude, the weather can change exceedingly quickly so there was no guarantees.

So my walk entailed being extremely careful when I stepped, not wanting to fall on the ice like I did, once, in Norway. That little trick rendered me unable to walk properly for weeks.

Ouch!!

The flora around the Hermitage area is very much alpine heath, struggling to survive in a harsh environment, although there are also sheep grazing here. The finest merino wool in the world, is in fact, grown a few kilometres away, at Mt Cook Station.

 

The sheep seem to have right of way here, at one point we had to ‘split the mob’ to get through.

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The finest fleece – Mt Cook’s Flock

In the area around Mt Cook, you can also see the most delightful blue snow/glacial fed lakes, like this one which form part of the hydro and irrigation scheme.

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We had to walk back very quickly to the Hermitage, as the weather was closing in, fast.

 

Lunch was a quick bite in the hotel restaurant and whether it was due to the intense cold, I am not sure, but it tasted really delicious. And prices were very reasonable. They do have a monopoly as it is the only place to eat, for miles and miles, But oh! I would pay a lot more for such a meal when one can take advantage of that very special view.

We ate in front of these magnificent full length glass windows at the hotel admiring the view. You can also get an idea in the reflection of the windows….

There was then only a little time for my daughter to throw around some snowballs and slide up and down the slopes on a toboggan, which the lady at the hotel reception said we could use free of charge.

She was so kind, and it seemed that her manner was from a bygone era, when you do things for free, with no expectation of returning the favour.

(Great New Zealand hospitality!)

It is claimed by some, that New Zealand is a rather conservative place and that they are still a bit stuck in the past at the end of the world. Well if that is the case, it is not a bad way to be, is it?

And certainly not a bad place to be stuck, either.

All too soon, it was time to leave and I was left with the memory of these wild and extreme walks, I took, at Mt Cook.

Linking to Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s walk this week is to Carding Hill Valley

New Zealand
Restless Jo Monday Walks

Footnote: Up to 1953, seven separate climbing expeditions had thus failed to reach the summit of Everest, but on May 29th, Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a native Nepalese climber who had participated in five previous Everest trips, were the only members of the party able to make the final assault on the summit. At 11:30 in the morning, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit, 29,028 feet above sea level, the highest spot on earth. As remarkable as the feat of reaching the summit was the treacherous climb back down the peak.Throughout the rest of his life, he worked tirelessly on humanitarian and fund raising projects, building schools, health clinics, and many aid projects for his beloved country of Nepal, (a country dear to my heart), until his death from heart failure in 2008.
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Travel theme: Snowy

mmp sept29

 

 

chiniophilen

A few days ago, I saw this meme referring to those who love snow. Yeh, that’s me, for sure! My hand’s up, waving frantically in enthusiasm for snow and the colder elements. People in the northern hemisphere must think I am stark raving mad, and I can see where they are coming from, when cold surrounds them for the majority of the year. However, not only do I love the snow and cold, I crave it! I am even married to a man whose nickname was Snowy!!! My holiday destinations usually encompass snow in some form as you will see here.

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There is plenty of Snowy scenes in Iceland in winter

A friend who knows me very well saw the meme and said, “This is SO you, Amanda!”

She knows! I thought.She knows me so well. She knows for instance that I have a preference for low light, that I hate the blazing sun and glare and suffer from the effects of it; and she knows that I feel energized when it is cold and finally she knows that being in a snowy place fills my heart with contentment!

Skellefteå
Skellefteå – Swedish Lapland

You think I am crazy too? Then I challenge you to find me a person that feels energized on a 37 degrees plus day (97 for Fahrenheit readers), and I will be genuinely surprised. Even the Spanish/Mexicans etc need a siesta at high noon!

28th April MM photo
Iceland

There are many that claim they crave warmth and heat. Chionophile deniers, I accuse them, under my breath! These are the people who can’t wait to travel to tropical island destinations for holidays or go out in the heat and glare of the midday sun, without hats and sun protection. And yet, it is these same self-confessed sun ‘worshipers,’ who are spotted at these tropical destinations – exactly WHERE, I ask?

Mostly you will find them languishing on a hammock/bar stool/ beach towel/ or a day bed dotted with cushions in trendy colours. Yes, languishing in the SHADE of course! Why? Because it is SO HOT, they state wafting their limp hand back and forth in front of their face in a vain attempt to create some a cooling air flow.  

They seek out a beach umbrella, covered verandah, or simply the protective branches of a shady tree, out of the sun they so dearly love, and they sit, often accompanied by cool drinks, lathered with swathes of ice, sipped in an effort to do what….. to COOL down! A little hypocritical, don’t you think? Perhaps the sun-worshipers are closet chionophiles at heart?

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A Sunny snowy day – but no heat, thank goodness, in Norway.

Snowball Zermatt
Switzerland  delivers on the Winter Wonderland

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This is one of my favourite Snowy photos. The blue light exudes calmness.

Lunch with Edmund Hilary at 760 metres at MT Cook /Aoraki
Probably not the best place to put my hand for the photo!!

Lunch with Edmund Hilary at 760 metres at MT Cook /Aoraki
Magnificent awe-inspiring Mt Cook – what is not to like?

Lunch with Edmund Hilary at 760 metres at MT Cook /Aoraki
Snow is so much fun! And the reflection is not bad, either.

Lake TekapoNew Zealand Christchurch to Queenstown cont'd
I love the contrast between the stone and the snow here

Of course, my comments are only in fun. (These days in social media platforms, words can be misconstrued so easily!), so I want to make it clear that I am only having a friendly jibe at these sun ‘worshipers.’ For whilst I love the cold and it gives me energy to get about and do three times as much as I would have accomplished on a hot and sultry day, I too crave a bit of a balance. I can be out in the snow all day but do enjoy coming home to a wood fire and a warming cup of cocoa or wine!

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Feeling blue? Not me!!!

I hope you enjoy some of my travel photos from my contented or snowy places! They make me feel cool just looking at them.

Linking to Ailsa’s Travel theme- Snowy

Snowy places are Something I always Ponder About

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WPC Challenge – Transmogrify

Transmogrify    

It means, “to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.” 

The challenge is to express this in photos.

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A milk can with more than one life!

Zematt Cog Railway station

The strangest snowball/man I’ve seen – perhaps better suited to Halloween!

graffitiart (Small)

Graffiti art in Melbourne- really espousing the Transmogrification theme.

Dog photo
What my dog wants me to transmogrify!

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A childs treat  (fairy floss), transmogrified into an inter-galaxial tornado type mass

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No legs!

head on a plate

Doesn’t stop her from smiling, though…..

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Watch out!

Image120A gigantic pygmy or a Pygmy Giant?

Something to ponder about this week

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Beneath My Feet – WPC

Sometimes I love what is “Beneath Your Feet.”

 20150613_134025~2 (Small)Nature’s colourful montage

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cliff boy

Sometimes I am not a fan of what is beneath my feet

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Bearded Dragon at Coolangatta, Australia

IMG_20140727_155643Snake

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My furry friend is the best thing beneath my feet

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Pondering what is beneath your feet today!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

Another new week for WordPress’s weekly photo challenge, and the challenge will be to choose which photo depicts JOY the most. Aha! Yes, I know which one I will pick.

Joy in Zermatt

All children love snow, especially if they live in a place that doesn’t have it. Can you see the joy on my daughter’s face, when she arrives here in Zermatt and there is tons of snow?

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And then, it snowed some more….

??????????????????????????????? Time to eat some falling snowflakes!!

Joy  Now there is enough snow to slide down the hill on a plastic bag

(a makeshift toboggan)zermatt

“Aha! I’ll make a snowball!” She squeals with joy.  She has only ever seen this in the movies. She even names the snowball: ‘Snowy’ (very original!!)

Snowball Zermatt

Snowy is getting bigger and bigger, and heavier. She wants to keep it and add to it all the way to the Railway station.

Zematt Cog Railway station

Time to say Goodbye to ‘Snowy’, but what joy and what fun she had today.

The delight and joy I saw on my daughter’s face will live in my memory and heart for years to come. Not from an expensive toy but from frozen water, and a borrowed hat. What joy can beat that?

Something to ponder about.

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Related posts:

lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com (joy-in-art-and-nature)/

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Daily Prompt: Fright Night – Haunted House

 

What could be more frightening than a night spent in a haunted house?

This abandoned house in Iceland somewhere between Bogarnes and Akureyri looked truly scary, even from a distance. Examining the photograph in the comforts of home some time later, one could see the many orbs, indicating ? spirits. The stories told by my Icelandic host when she had to seek shelter there one night with her friend when their car broke down in the snow, filled me with goosebumps, on the inside and the outside. She said the spirit of the house made it clear that it did not want her there, as she walked out the door for a smoke break, her shoes were flung at her from the empty room behind. She was certain it was signalling she was NOT welcome to stay. What could be more frightening than flying shoes flung at you from an empty room in Iceland’s most haunted house?

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for more frightening pics and stories check dailypost.wordpress.com/

Something I won’t ponder about for long tonight.