Skiing on Mt Ruapehu


About a month ago now we went on a trip Skiing, the nearest ski fields to where we live in Napier are a 3 hour drive away on Mt Ruapehu a nice big active volcano.

We booked to stay in a backpackers section of a hotel called Skotel (I was later to learn the highest hotel in NZ). We loved Skotel and we have booked to stay there again for when we do the Tongariro crossing in December. It was a typical ski lodge type of design that you would imagine and it was very cosy just what we needed as it was freezing. We stayed in a village called Whakapapa at the base of the access road to the ski field, it was a tiny village with a few hotels and about 3 cafes/bars.

When we arrived on Saturday afternoon we checked in – our room was a cosy little bunk room it really reminded me of an overnight train for some reason and then went for a drink (what Lucy and Chris do best). We opted for the Chateaux a very very posh grand hotel that is quite a feature in the village- so it was perfect for us (ha). We sat at this huge bay window that framed Mt Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom as it is now better known as) and watched the sun go down. Chris kept shouting ‘Mount Doom’ and ‘You Shall Not Pass’ in a really deep voice so that was really relaxing as you can imagine. That night we just chilled at the backpackers as it was absolutely freezing!

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We planned to Ski on the Monday as that was the best forecast so on Sunday we had a lie in and a lazy breakfast and then wrapped up in hundreds of layers to go on a few of the walks around the area. The first walk we did was Taranaki Falls walk which was about 1.5 hour trail to the falls and back. As we set off we soon realised the weather was a lot hotter than the day before and soon took our thermals off. Chris had 2 pairs of thermal leggings on and gave a passing elderly couple who were in their 70s a treat when they came round the corner to him in his underpants. They then proceeded to tell us that we were looking a bit ‘over the top’. When we had regulated our temperature and got to the falls they were really impressive it was definitely worth it.

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We went back to the hostel to offload some of our winter clothes, had a tuna sandwich and then set off on this next walk. This walk was called Silica Rapids I was excited as it had a volcanic name. This walk was really cool it was a series of volcanic features such as a ‘golden rapids’ due to golden coloured silica rising up through the rock. The main Silica Rapids were huge and the silica coloured the rock a yellowy cream colour!

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In the evening we went back to the Chateaux and a sports bar called Tussocks for a few and then went to get ready for our big day on the snow.

Chris had never skied before and I hadn’t skied since I was 15 so we planned to buy a discovery package that included lift passes to the beginner’s area (Happy Valley), a lesson and all equipment hire for $115 (£50) which we thought was pretty cheap! When we arrived on Monday morning we bought our tickets got our equipment and set off for our lesson, by this point it was 10am- we got to the ski school and the next lesson wasn’t until 12! This is the point where we decided to sack off the lesson and that I would teach Chris to ski, as I’m practically a pro after my 5 days experience as a 15 year old (not as disastrous as you may think).

I hasn’t lost it as I was worried I would have and Chris set off and took to it really well (we both only fell once!) There were a few pretty funny moments like where we were battling to get off the ski lift (every man/woman for themselves, I lost on this occasion) and I was wiped out by the lift as I wasn’t quick enough and ended up face down in the snow.

Chris got in a situation when we were waiting for the ski lift where he ended up bent over doing the splits (bit of a Bambi moment) and I had to push him forwards to resurrect the situation.

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By the end of the day we were both skiing down together with big grins on our faces in our hired ski gear, standing out like a sore thumb (typical tourists) thinking we were pros. That was until kids who were only just old enough to walk came whizzing past and doing tricks – they were pretty amazing although it really annoyed Chris that they were better and faster than him.

We had a great time skiing and it was helped by the fact we had the best bluebird day in 10 years (fresh layer of snow and sunshine).

My next post will be about our trip to Rotorua this weekend 🙂 (I’m seriously excited).

Lucy ❤

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