Today was a special one.
Between the 4 of us, we have approx 40 full winters of living, and working in ski resorts, many of them back-to-back between both hemispheres, and of course countless weeks and months on snow outside our working careers.
One of the Japanese snowboarders from one of the other groups declared to us when we met up after today’s skiing, in her broken but charming English “So Happy Day!” – and with our wealth of combined experience, all we could do was agree.
After 2 days of pow extravaganza at Craigieburn we knew that another day in a chopper was the best way to milk this storm, and after a couple of emails from our fantastic guide Laura from Methven Heli egging us on, we pulled the trigger, set our alarms for stupid O’Clock, had a record early night and bounced out of bed.
We were so eager we arrived at the helipad at the stunning Glenfalloch station a full 15 minutes before our guides. Unlike Sunday there was no inversion or fog, and the view of the mountains was spectacular.
As we had already done the safety briefing and Laura was aware of our ability etc we were the out on the first chopper and made our way up to a run called ‘Master Blaster’ – a 900m vertical glacier run with amazing pow:
I hadn’t really felt any nerves or vertigo in the chopper so far, but this approach and landing was pretty special…..
Yours truly on ‘Master Blaster’:
Nic enjoying ‘Master Blaster’:
Next up was the adjacent glacier called ‘Gridiron’ – we landed on a massive serac and again gorged on shady, soft, deep pow:
The crew on Gridiron:
Next up was the Reischek Glacier – with – wait for it – more soft deep, shaded, lovely pow:
We were whisked back up to our lunch spot – the same perch as Sunday – once again looking over the NZ Alps, the spectacular seracs of the Reischek and our tracks below:
After a great spread for lunch we skied the Reischek again knowing how sweet the snow was below. Up next was to the usual ending run – Homeward Bound – but given the quality of the day, it wasn’t time to quit just yet.
So we headed back to the ‘Master Blaster’ area and skied another variation. 900m of virgin pow never gets boring.
It was time for one last run as the shadows lengthened – we were dropped off in a saddle looking over our previous exploits on Master Blaster and Gridiron which made for a great photo opportunity:
The final turns of the day, weary legs but big smiles:
It was then time to return to the helipad to take a seat, soak in the magnificent scenery and reflect on the day.
As our Japanese friend so aptly described it: “So Happy Day!”
We cannot thank Methven Heliski, and in particular our fantastic guide Laura enough. Unlike many professionals in the ski industry who like to spend the day telling you how wonderful they are, Laura’s calm and low-key manner left us consistently feeling that we were both being kept safe, and shown the best time possible.