Monday, August 30, 2010

Foggy goggles on Mt. Ruapehu

Beautiful Ohakune in the middle of the North Island was our destination for last weekend's ski trip on Mt. Ruapehu. Apparently the town is pretty proud of its ability to grow vegetables. And why not?

I appreciate how Wikipedia doesn't make any crazy claims. "This is reputedly the world's largest model carrot."

Ohakune (pronounced oh-uh-KOON-ee, I think) is a great home base if you're wanting to hit the slopes of Mt. Ruapehu, and lots of other cool activities like waterfall hikes and hot pools. The two main ski fields are Turoa and Whakapapa.

Luckily I had the opportunity to check them both out over two days. Jake was only able to hit the slopes on Sunday because he came in late on Saturday from Raro. What's Raro? Oh, that's Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, where they sent him to "work" for a few days last week. Yep, he has it pretty rough. Photos coming soon.

But I wasn't going to wait for him. I wandered around and found a lift to the slopes with a colleague of his. This is Simon and Sanja, who were nice enough to let me tag along for the day and even fed me snacks. Thanks guys!

The weather on the mountain certainly left something to be desired. It was cold, windy, raining at times and the visibility ranged between 200 meters and "where the heck am I going?" The photo above may give you an idea ... now imagine seeing this through my foggy goggles.

The weather cleared up rather well on Sunday afternoon and I found my bearings, although I can't say it improved my snowboarding skills. In contrast, Jake's so good at snowboarding he needs to wear a helmet.

We've been to Colorado several times, and while it's not fair to compare the two destinations after such a short visit, I'll do it anyway: There are no trees on the mountain here -- quite different from Colorado. But there were also no long lines for gear rental or lifts (honestly we never waited more than a minute), which in my mind makes the tradeoff more than fair!


Phil said...

Oh no.. not that dreadful monster carrot. Could anything be more embarrassingly kitsch?

Jenny @ Practically Perfect... said...

How fun! That carrot is hilarious!