Blog #1 Chairlift Chat

Hello Takapuna Ski Club! I am so excited to write the weekly blog for you this season. A little about me, before I regale you with my ramblings on the joys of skiing. I’m a 22 year old student, hailing originally from Wellington, now studying in Christchurch. I am passionate about the outdoors, and love nothing more than getting out into the mountains after a hard week of study. I’ve spent the last 3 years skiing every weekend with a group of boys who make no allowances for my female status. I love to ski hard and fast, with no joy rivalling that of swooping down the mountain in my poor interpretation of a race tuck.

Anyone with any sense knows that Whakapapa on a good day is the best skiing in the world. However in a season where those good days roll around a little less frequently than we would all like, the lure of skiing overseas becomes strong. The deep powder of Japan, steeps through Canadian trees, or a French ski town always seem especially tempting when the snow just won’t fall, and you’re rock-hopping for the fifth day in a row.

Being a student with restricted funds, my experiences of overseas skiing have thus far been limited to two trips; one to Japan in the summer of 2013-14, and a second to Canada during the summer just been. Both were fantastic, providing ample snow, and vastly different cultural experiences. The skiing was exceptional, although at times lacking enough steepness to challenge my inner adrenaline junkie. However, I did find one aspect of overseas skiing very challenging indeed: Chairlift chat.

I live, for the most part, in Christchurch, so the club fields of the South Island are my home mountains. These clubbies are unique in many ways, not least due to the complete absence of chairlifts, gondolas, or even T-bars. Being pulled up a steep hill by a nutcracker attached to my harness at a rate of six metres per second requires considerable bodily concentration, but nothing whatsoever in the communication department. Therefore it was something of a rude shock when I entered my first Japanese gondola, and was instantly assailed with questions from the crowd of Australians within.

Chairlift chat is a tricky beast. Get too involved, and you risk setting yourself up for a dinner date that night with the charming-but-very-dull couple from Run #3. Avoid chatting altogether, and you come across as a stony, cold-hearted ice queen. Chairlift, or worse still, gondola, rides can vary from about two to ten minutes, and while the ice queen approach can be appealing for the shorter option, maintaining that kind of glare for the entirety of a ten-minute ride is nothing short of exhausting.

In my experience, it’s best to fall somewhere in the middle. Maintain a pleasant but reserved countenance, ask a few questions but keep it reasonably impersonal, and whatever you do, you’re always busy tonight. Of course, you might meet your soulmate on a gondola or chairlift, in which case, that last rule can be broken. Some question suggestions:

-          What run are you headed to?

-          Where are you from?

-          Sweet skis, are those the 2015 model?

Note: This last is potentially dangerous, and should only be attempted if you are a gear geek.

The time has come for me to sign off for today, but keep an eye out for another post next week. I can’t promise what it will be about, my mind works in mysterious ways.

p.s. Mt Ruapehu opens this weekend! For those of you going down this weekend, I hope you have a blast! Fresh tracks, bluebird days and awesome nights at TSC! 


What is your theme song?

We are officially into the 2014 ski season! 

Our guest blogger, Dylan Pine, has been a bit tied up lately with his university work and has asked me (his favourite sister) to write this weeks blog for him. However, I am slightly sceptical of this unusually large work load, as the weather forecast in the South Island is predicting huge snow dumps and some epic powder days. So, maybe the temptation of first tracks on a bluebird day is just a tad too much to resist. Whatever the reason, I am sure he is skiing some awesome runs, getting epic GoPro footage and creating stories that he will share with us in his many more blogs to come.

The mountain is open, the snow is falling and bookings are coming in thick and fast. Checking the snow report this morning for Whakapapa, it is a stunning bluebird day there today and looks like it is going to continue for the weekend. The RAL team are working hard to get the far west facilities open (hopefully by the weekend) but everything else is open. 

When I was driving to work the other day, listening to the local radio station they brought up a very interesting point and I wanted to share it with you and get your opinions. The scenario is; you are skiing or boarding down your favourite run, when suddenly there is an avalanche and you have to ski for your life. The question they asked is, at that very moment, what is the song that would be going through your head? 
God forbid, it never happens to any one - but I thought it was a very interesting question and one that my brother and I have actually spoken about on our many hundred trips up the T-bar. So, dear readers, I am going to share with you my theme song - only on the pretence that you will in return, share with me your song. My song, that would be playing in my mind as I ski away from an avalanche is .... The Indiana Jones theme tune. So, have a think about it and let me know what your song would be. 

Have a great weekend, ski some epic lines for me, and until next time - keep doing your snow dance. 
Monique Teterin