At about 5.30am on Tuesday, Davey woke me to get ready for our day of skiing at Cardrona, which is about an hour from where we were staying.
We had breakfast and most importantly coffee, and then, armed with all of our skiing implements, which had been dropped off to the hotel’s ski locker the night before, we caught one bus to Frankton and then another to Cardrona, arriving just as the ski field opened.
The reason that we had selected Cardrona over Coronet was that Fae, our slightly over the top iSite travel agent, told us that it had a better beginners area with less chance of being ploughed over by experienced skiers. As far as I could tell, even with one of the slopes closed, it did seem like a well laid out facility. And there were beautiful views.
Wisely, we had signed up for lessons. Our instructor was named Frederico and I was his worst pupil. I was passable at attaching my skis to my boots, walking around with skis on, walking sideways with skis on, and propelling myself forwards, but I was pretty lousy at the “ski plough” which is the mechanism by which one stops skiing. As a result, I ended up looking at the sky a lot after realising that while Frederico did keep his promise to catch me, he didn’t mean that we were actually going to stop moving (and in my case, falling).
Cardrona’s learners area has a very slight slope called The Learners’ Carpet, which has a conveyor belt (instead of a full on ski lift) for getting you to the top. I skied down this two times successfully (under supervision) while it started to snow. Not just snow on the ground, but in the air too. Snow is not quite as romantic as it seems in movies when it is coupled with wind, but when you’re a child of the tropics, you still find it pretty exciting!
Our lesson ended, which meant it was lunch time. I had a spectacular stack on my way from the end of the Learners’ Carpet to the lodge but was rescued by Davey and one of the other instructors so I made it to lunch, albeit it with much sorer knees. Here’s me on our lunch break being cold due to snow and fog.
While we waiting for our noodles to be cooked, the snow got heavier and heavier, almost blanking everything out.
We defrosted a bit, ate our noodles and then went for a few more goes on the Learners’ Carpet. I think I was getting a bit better with Davey’s encouragement. Here’s a photo of me not falling over.
And here’s Davey being a pro:
Another thing about Cardrona that appealed to my geeky side, is that your ski pass card logs all of your data so at the end of the day you can see how much skiing you’ve accomplished. I was feeling pretty chuffed by the end, completing 5 runs and travelling 85 vertical metres.
We were feeling a bit broken by the afternoon, so although we had an hour before our bus left, we decided hot soup inside was the better choice. I also had the feeling that I should quit while I was ahead (that is, I hadn’t broken any bones).
The ski field looked gorgeous as the sun set.
We got to the bus early (unlike some of the other passengers who turned up 25 minutes late without even an apology to the driver) and got settled in for a nap. Our bus driver, Mitchell, was incredibly talented and we thought were were going over the edge a few times, but it never happened.
Davey was a bit cold on the bus and had a bit of a ninja vibe going.
We arrived in Frankton just in time to catch the last connecting bus to the Hilton, which was incredible good luck!
Hot baths in our wonderfully spacious bathroom were the order of the day, and then we went down to the Wakatipu Grill, for their first night of service with their brand new menu. There were about 10 chefs working, presumably to learn all how all the new dishes were to be presented and we had a little wait in the bar for a little while, next to the fire.
It’s a hard life.
A sucker for advertising, I ordered a Wakatipu Winter Warmer, which is like an alcoholic hot chocolate, only better, which was the creation of our own bartender.
Dinner was also amazing! We had an entree of scallops and chorizo with wasabi sherbet, and then I had a sous vide rib eye. There wasn’t even room for dessert!
Although I spent a portion of my day terrified, I did enjoy my skiing experience (and my après-ski) and expect that I could get better with some more practice so that I spend more time with snow flying past my face and less time with snow smacking against the back of my helmet.
Yes, I definitely think I could get used to this lifestyle!