I've skied since I was 2 and was raised on the club fields of Canterbury. I'm now living in Auckland and in the process of getting my young children, aged 3 and 5, into skiing. My magical skiing memory occurred last season, while skiing with my 74-year-old father. We skied the Heritage Express Rope Tow at Roundhill, Lake Tekapo (the longest rope tow in Australasia, with a vertical drop of 783m ) on a perfect powder day. We eventually made it to the bottom and my father explained that the last time he had skied down that slope was 52 years earlier at the end of a 14-hour expedition from Fox Peak - another skifield in the Two Thumb range. Inspiring to all and I hope I am still skiing with my children in 2056.
Ed's note: Thanks for sharing your memory Pip, and congratulations - you've won two season passes for Mt Ruapehu, valued from $735.
And there it was, a wide-open, unmarked, simply gorgeous field of snow. As a late-age skier, I was doodling along looking for a small bit of snow to have fun on. It just appeared in front of me. I couldn't believe my luck: so beautiful, untouched and no tracks. So, as the oldest teenager on the hill, I just went for it; turns for turns, big splats, making ginormous herringbone birds' prints, racing back as fast as I could go to the lift to go down again on this new, well, not so new now, piece of snow - magic.
My day off coincided with the aftermath of a serious storm, which had passed through the Central Plateau, blanketing everything in thick snow. Although I didn't get to ski that day (the road to the top of The Bruce was closed) I went for a walk around the Loop Track, beginning at the end of the old Skotel. Within moments, I was enveloped in a silence so deep, external noise ceased to exist. Scrunching footsteps, ragged breath and my heartbeat were the only sounds present. It felt protective, nurturing, calming, and probably as close to the fabled womb experience, as I would ever come across. It struck me that this is what poets write of, when they dream, and perhaps a few may have touched infinity the way I did that Easter Monday.
When I was about 14 my parents took me to Mt Ruapehu for the first time for a skiing lesson. After the lesson my mum wanted to show me how to ride the tow rope lift to the top. About halfway up, one of her skis slipped out sideways. She did everything she could to try and correct this but instead fell and in the process knocked over everyone on the lift like dominoes.
After growing up skiing the volcanoes of the North Island and the odd trip to the South Island, I managed to fit a skiing weekend in at Lake Tahoe on a trip to California. It was the same as home, but different - skiing among the trees with animal hoof impressions all around made it feel like a fairy tale.
My best skiing experience was at Pyhatunturi in Finnish Lapland. The snow was amazing, like fine sand on and off-trail, queues were non-existent and paths through the trees provided a bit of a challenge. In addition, when downhill gets too much there are hundreds of kilometres of free trails for cross-country skiing, with huts dotted along the route [where you can] stop to cook a sausage or boil a billy of tea. Overall a fantastic experience and one I'd love to repeat some time.
My good friend John and I were backpacking around the States and Canada, and when we got to Whistler, the weather was not flash and the locals were not skiing. We donned a couple of black rubbish bags as our ski attire to protect us from the elements, hired some skis and went out and enjoyed ourselves. The locals thought we were mad but we weren't going to let this opportunity pass us by.