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Trip Report Wanaka 2015

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Heinz, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Back in town now. Have been doing this a few years now but the sense of anticipation and excitement is there as always.

    Pretty cruisy flight over, ahead of schedule and surprisingly quite a few empty seats.
     
    #1 Heinz, Aug 1, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
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  2. MisterMxyzptlk

    MisterMxyzptlk Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    That's been the word on the ground Heinz
    Not quite the Aussie invasion of recent years
     
  3. Dave6

    Dave6 One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Will be there next week. Save some snow for us.
     
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  4. Centago

    Centago One of Us

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    How long are you here for Heinz? Forecasts suggest the heli ski terrain will get an ample supply of fresh snow this week!
     
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'm here for my usual 2 weeks.

    Was a good day up at TC today.
     
  6. Pow_Hunter

    Pow_Hunter Hard Yards

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    Whats the snow like Heinz? Any thoughts on what it will be like winter games week?
    Wanaka locals what are the queues like during the winter games with the university mid semester break also? Cheers.
     
  7. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    No powder today, but Saddle basin was skiing very well throughout. Particularly enjoyed all the natural half pipes - you forget sometimes how many and different ones there are - was fun, after a tentative start with very limited visibility on lower mountain in the morning. More later - going to catch up with an old friend for a beer.

    When are the Winter games?
     
  8. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    Winter games are 21-30 of august.

    Would have thought the snow would have still been powdery over that way. We found a bit of soft stuff in the Remarks BC but it was on protected southerly faces, and rather stiff and slabby in places.
     
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  9. hpsauce

    hpsauce A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Saddle is good fun. A lot of fun and genuine challenge packed in there.
    2 weeks before I'm in!
     
  10. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sun Aug 02 - Treble cone

    Day didn't look too promising to start with. Visibility was very limited, was snowing lightly and seemed a fait bit of moisture in the air, so first couple of runs down Main Street were very tentative skiing from one flag to the next, wiping goggles every few turns.

    Fortunately things did improve. There was low cloud drifting in and out all day so light was a bit flat but generally good enough. Skiing in the Saddle was generally very good - no powder but consistent snow. First couple of runs on South ridge which had the best visibility.

    Did make the mistake of dropping down to Magnum in the Main basin which was refrozen crud from the previous days. Cover in the Main basin was generally better than same time last year, but most stuff off trail appeared badly affected by the rain yesterday. Best run for me down there was Matuki ridge.

    Stopped for a quick lunch at the new cafe just below the top of the 6 seater chair - well actually a container with a half dozen outdoor tables serving pizza, coffee and a few othe snacks. An Austrian hut it is not.

    Back to the Saddle for the afternoon which was very good, light was generally better. The natural halfpipes were all skiing very well - Shooter, Superpipe, Bullet as well as Mineshaft. Forgot how many good halfpipes there are, and didn't even ski Gunbarrell.

    Was a bit of a crowd there around 2pm but disappeared again before 3pm. Then after Saddle close a couple more on Matuki ridge to finish.
     
    #10 Heinz, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  11. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wasn't a day for picture taking with the cloud about, but took a few of the new 'cafe'.

    Good view at least.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not much to it.
    [​IMG]

    This appears to be a regular guest (was tagged).
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    One from the Matuki ridge late in the day.
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Angus_McCrory

    Angus_McCrory Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good to see one of those cheeky green buggers about.
     
  14. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    Uni holidays don't have a huge impact, unless you're at cardies while uni games are on.
     
  15. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  16. Pow_Hunter

    Pow_Hunter Hard Yards

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    Thanks guys! Great report Heinz by the way!
     
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  17. 1dayasalion

    1dayasalion Hard Yards

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    Wow, that container cafe looks so prestigious. Not what i'd expect from the Coneheads over at Wanakbrah at all.

    Powcast is looking quite good for end of the week though!
     
  18. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Spend the afternoon starting to read the just released book "Mountain Rescue" by Phillip Melchior. It covers several of the rescues in the NZ Alps by Search and Rescue teams. Was in the newsagent and saw Davie one of featured guides flipping through it and the author himself was there as well.

    A good read with some good, some sad results particularly relating to people I have known. Have to admire the amazing work that these volunteers do.
     
    #18 Heinz, Aug 3, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
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  19. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    LandSAR are nothing short of incredible.

    High Misadventure is an interesting read too. Especially the yarn about the old Barron Saddle hut. Grim.
     
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  20. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Tue Aug 04 - Treble Cone

    Left in the morning in the rain not quite sure what was going to be in store. Was snowing in the car park but visibility was very limited so was skiing quite cautiously. Top of the 6 seater down Ridge run probably had about 5-10cm of fresh dense snow which wasn't bad, but it was still fairly warm damp in the morning. Snow in Gunbarrel was nice but with this visibilty wasn't really a day for that.

    Then bumped into a couple of the guides Grom & Laetitia so spent the next few hours skiing with them and their crew (or at least trying to). Headed up to the Saddle where the snow was certainly a little deeper and lighter. Vis was still pretty bad, had to try and make good use of the few reference points. Was very nice in those periods when you could see a reasonable distance. In the afternoon the storm turned southerly so was quite a bit colder.

    Dropped back down to the bottom around 1:30 and decided I needed a short break, so left the others. Was also hoping for traditional old 2pm clearance but it did'nt quite eventuate. There was a brief semi clearance around 2:15 when I could actually see half the run to the Saddle chair, so that was nice. But by 3pm it has closed in again completely so at 3:15 headed back to Main basin. Went back up for a final Ridge run and finally at 3:40 the sun came out, so had a very nice last run even with some fresh lines.
     
    #20 Heinz, Aug 4, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  21. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    With the limited vis today was not worth bothering with pics.
     
  22. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mostly clear skies this morning. Looks promising.
     
  23. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wed Aug 05 - Mototapu

    Mostly clear skies in the morning so time to fire up the heli. Had the old team back together - Stewart, Josef & I with Whitney guiding and Nigel flying.

    It wasn't totally clear, there was some cloud hanging around up the north of the valley so we opted to stay south and base from the Mototapu dropping off at various points along the Mototapu ridge. Was very windy up on the ridge itself and clearly this wind is fairly consistent as there was quite a decent cornice.

    Once off the ridge though we were mostly out of the wind and the snow was good and it was particularly nice to be able to see. Somewhat wind affected up high but always getting deeper and better lower down. Did quite a few variations along the ridge. Opted to get our runs in while we still could rather than stopping for lunch.

    Evenually flew down to the valey outside of one of Shania Twains huts for a late 2pm lunch. Then dropped off on Skyhawk for one more on the way back home which was also very nice.
     
    #23 Heinz, Aug 5, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  24. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Ruapehu rescue of the soldiers included?
    That was a brutal story.
     
  25. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not that one. This book concentrates largely on Wanaka LandSAR, so covers 11 rescues in the Mt Cook, Aspiring and Fiordland regions. The author was on Radio Wanaka this morning - there are potentially hundreds of rescues he could have covered, so may be potential for another book.
     
  26. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    I had a mate in SAR up Arthurs pass...
    sadly its a year round job.
     
  27. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    From today. Mototapu ridge was a bit windy.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    But the snow was good.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  28. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=147589
    This was the instance
    A japanese national was also holed up on the mountain...in a snowcave... was found by a groomer.
     
  29. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Indeed. Covers winter and especially summer climbing and tramping when people get easily deceived by fine weather - but it can change very quickly here.
     
  30. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    How did the AS350 go getting you onto that ridge? looks hectic....
    great snow
    epic NZ
     
  31. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    add car accidents to that list alas...
     
  32. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    More from Mototapu.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The hut down on Shania Twains property where we stopped for lunch.
    [​IMG]
     
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  33. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nigel didn't have too much trouble landing on the ridge - it was apparently 30 knots but consistent, so he was easily able to manouver in place. Nige is very good though (He is one of the pilots in the above book). He seemed to have more trouble descending with an empty load against it to pick us up at the bottom - needed to circle around a bit.
     
  34. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    30 knots on the beam is a fair shake of tolerance for a squirrel ...
    kiwi pilots are epic.
     
  35. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Skyhawk on the way back was nice as well.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Back at the staging point in the Mototapu.
    [​IMG]
     
  36. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    From what I heard today the limit that they are allowed to operate in is 35.

    Yes, they are.

    Nige is just back from a stint in Indonesia.
     
  37. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    who was he flying for in Indo
    My dad may know him (runs squirrels in cambodia)
     
  38. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  39. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don't know. He has been doing that for a few years I think. Exploratory work I think. Nigel Gee.
     
  40. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Down day. More snow forecast.
     
  41. benchives

    benchives I forgot how to ski Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice as always
     
  42. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fri Aug 07 - Central Harris

    After attempting to dismiss the horror of seeing the cricket score, looked out the window and saw a mix of various cloud layers and some clear sky. I was still expecting to head up to TC but then got the call that they were flying. It was clear where we were heading and there had been a bit more new snow overnight so decision made.

    We headed out to Cattle Flat with exectly the same crew as on Wednesday. Looked at what was clear then and opted to fly up to Twin Falls just to the south of TC. There was a feeling a deja vu standig on top of that first run with many of the same players in place from that day 11 years ago. Happily this time it was far less eventfull and we had a very nice run. Good snow 5-10cms new snow on top of the fresh from the previous days. Not deep but very consistent and easy skiing. No wind also for a change. Only issue was somewhat flat light.

    Did a second run in the vicinity of the first for more fresh lines again very good. But then looking for a landing for the third run saw that the cloud had moved in from above and below and reduced the options. Nigel decided at this point it was time to head back to the valley while we still could. We got out fairly easily, but then it was a matter of getting the other 2 groups out which took a little longer.

    Then while we were having our lunch in the valley we noticed that the Southern Lakes guys who were operating from the same base had not yet returned. Either they still had a clear window on Towers ridge or they were stranded. So one of our pilots went for a look and came back with one of their groups. The other heli came back with the other group soon after so then everyone was back out.

    It then started raining and reportedly snowing again up on the mountain. Been a stange week with very small windows. Plenty of snow now, just need a decent clearance. Early next week looks more promising.
     
    #42 Heinz, Aug 7, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  43. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    View from my balcony this morning.

    [​IMG]
     
  44. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Twin Falls

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  45. benchives

    benchives I forgot how to ski Ski Pass: Gold

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    Win some lose some I guess
     
  46. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, pretty much. Mountain weather can be very localised and very hard to pick precisely. Sometimes you take a punt and it doesn't quite come off like today. Other days you don't and it turns out perfectly fine and you regret it. We know it will be very good once we do get a clear day.
     
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  47. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    There is a reasonable amount of snow to low levels between dunedin and queenstown, more out east.

    Monday/Tuesday should be all time for you guys!
     
  48. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Epic
     
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  49. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    You guys got the sunshine. We just got clagged in all day over here.
    Amazing snow out there though!
     
  50. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    We had to wait a while for the cloud to clear properly over the North Buchanans and it was cold, but was certainly worth it. Possibly one of the most consistently deep light powder I have had in NZ for quite a few years. From 20cm to 50cm all day, just awesome.