Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wanaka, NZ, and Snow Skiing adventure

We arrived in Wanaka on a Monday evening to a wonderfully warm and roomy rental house with a view of the mountains! Warren's parents came and joined us on this part of our journey as well! We have enjoyed walks, lunch by the clear blue lake with amazing snow capped views of the mountains and the slower pace of life.

Anna-Kate and I were able to stop for lunch at the famous Moeraki Boulders en-route to Wanaka. Although it was a long drive, it was nice to travel along the Pacific Ocean for a time, then pass through Middle Earth on the way to this little mountain gem of a town. Wanaka is surrounded by mountains, but still gets lots of sun - even in winter!! There are three ski resorts nearby, and lots of heli-skiing.

On our first day here we did lots of shopping around, and then Warren gave a talk hosted by his Engineering Institute. Our second full day in town was the opening day of the ski season (unseasonably late). We joined the crowd flocking to Cardrona, and were awed by the majestic views along the way.
The trip up was a little more exciting than we planned when one of our wheel chains broke ... not good when chains are required.

A brochure for the ski field boasts.."Cadrona Parks are EPIC!...Cardrona has the most extensive Terrain Park & Halfpipe facilities in the Southern Hemisphere, 3 Terrain Parks, a Gravity Cross and & 2 Halfpipes including a 22ft Olympic Superpipe." However, the focus for our day was to let the kids have some lessons and learn the fundamentals from people skilled at explaning these things (not Warren!). We were worried that the kids wouldn't like skiing after the wind gusts started causing white-out conditions on the ski-field (and they started closing lifts) ... but it appears they were not to be deterred!! The photo shows their instructor (in red), then the three kids in front of the old barn.

Warren spent almost 2 hours sorting out a temporary solution for our missing chains, and we ended up giving two Australians on their honeymoon a ride down the mountain. Unfortunately it was almost zero visibility by the time we left, and shortly after we started down the hill our temporary chain broke ... meaning a serious problem for braking and steering (both important parts of driving down snowy mountain roads). Fortunately our prayers were answered and we made it to the bottom. Our last wheel chain then broke ... three in one day!! We sure were tired by the end of the day. There was a brief moment on the mountain when the skies were clear and the wind died down, and during that brief moment we were able to get a photo of our family as you'll see below.

I'll update the blog when able.


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