New Zealand Yeetskis
A guest post by Kerollos Halim
Winter takes different shapes depending on what part of this awesome globe you go to. There are spots that have very consistent and famous qualities, like the terrain in the Sierra’s or the powder in Japan. And in truth sliding down mountains on sticks attached to your feet can be found anywhere there is snow, but some places are just a bit more obscure than others.
New Zealand is one of those places. Its name has been thrown around in the background of every après ski, but it’s not normally the talk of the town. Like a pigmy hippo invokes curiosity in the amateur zoologist (and general population) so too does the muffled chatter about the NZ mountains make the ski bum scratch their itchy head.
This is the view from the valley level where I’ve been living. Scoping lines became more and more exciting as I waited for a snowfall thick enough to reach the ground. I wanted to ski back to my car and after waiting for over half the winter, I realized it wasn’t going to happen.
Over the course of 3 months, the days were already getting longer and the number of days we had snow on the valley level was 4; the snow lasted over a day from only two of those dustings. Good thing the surfing was great on the coast, which is pretty much where we went and what we did on all our days off thus far.
However amazing the surf was, the unsatisfied crew of mountaineers decided we had to go up, regardless of the lacking conditions. So we packed our hiking boots and up we went through the forest. Most of the climb looked like this:
Yup, hiking through the rainforest with skis. You might be wondering where we’re going… so were we to be honest. But past the bush line, we found what we were looking for: still skiable snow-covered peaks. Once we got to the snow it seemed to keep going forever. So we kept hiking until we found a line that looked damn good, and knowing this could very well be our one and only day on skis this southern winter we did the only sensible thing we could think of. Shred it naked. What’s the currency exchange rate for gnar points from the USA to NZ?
Regardless it was so much better than we thought it would be, that beautiful packed snow was easy to cut into and soft enough to bounce. We were in heaven for about 6 hours until the sun went down and everything froze instantly. Super stoked on the day we returned at ease. Knowing it was probably awesome up there all along is enough to force a smile on the faces of the three mountaineers that’ll last at least till dinner.
Ah well, the best is clear now. Take your skis up to your peak of choice, stash it somewhere, and head up when it’s raining in the valley, because it’s another world past the bush. At worst we just drive back to the coast for more awesome surf. No complaints on this side of the hemisphere.