Yeah baby! I’m pretty psyched to say that I’m headed to New Zealand to ski for the entire month of October. Before I go any further, I’d like to specifically thank Black Diamond and Arc’teryx Equipment for helping me make this happen. Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to experience a lot of things I do, one of them being this trip to the southern hemisphere. Please support these brands and the others affiliated with this website, as they all make great products and treat their customers extremely well. Thanks.
Centennial Hut above Franz Joseph Glacier.
So, there have been a lot of things going on in the background lately in the world of Randosteve, one of them being trying to put together a ski trip for this fall. I think the fall season is the best time of year for ski trips, because it helps you avoid the winter waiting game here at home. Plus, it’s usually not too hard to find some decent skiing thru June in the Tetons, so there’s no sense in going anywhere in the spring. I’ve had a couple of opportunities for travel this fall waiting in the wings, but after much thought, I’ve decided to head back to New Zealand. I skied in New Zealand back in 2006 (just when TetonAT was getting started…maybe some of you remember?) with Andrew Mclean, Chris Figenshau and Grant Guise, and I thought the mountains were amazing (the weather…a b***h!) and vowed to return.
Randosteve in New Zealand in 2006.
Photo courtesy Andrew McLean.
I will be joined by two others, one being Scott Fennell, a skier from Alaska that I met on the Antarctica trip last fall, and the other being a splitboarder, Ben Starkey, who has been in New Zealand for a few months now and has been stretching his legs on both the north and south island. Our plan is to fly into Aoraki/Westland National Park and visit as many of the huts in the area as possible…with maybe a side trip to Mount Aspiring as well. A lot of this trip depends on the weather, which New Zealand can really dish out, so we are lucky enough to have some flexibility in our agenda.
The plan is to tour to and ski in the zones around all of these huts.
For those that aren’t familiar with New Zealand and the Aoraki/Westland region, it is extremely glaciated and is home to Mount Cook, the highest peak in the country. The Tasman, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are all located within its boarders…maybe you’ve heard of them? The New Zealand Alpine Club, as well as the Department of Conservation, maintains a number of huts in the parks. Most have bunks, mattresses, lights, and outhouses, which makes the stay and long weather days a bit more bearable. Access to and from the huts is usually by plane or heli. In 2006 we walked out the Tasman Glacier and probably won’t do that again, as I remember getting what seemed like 3rd degree burns/blisters from the sun that day and the trek in general being pretty painful. (I know…I’m getting soft. But hey, I’m almost 40 now!)
It’s been a little weird since hearing about the earthquake down in Christchurch, since that is where we are flying into. In addition, 9 people just died in a plane crash at the airport we will most likely launch from on the west side of the island. They say things happen in threes, so I’m just waiting for the next crappy thing to happen…which will hopefully be before we get there.