The wedding of two celebrities and former rivals took place quietly earlier this year, overshadowed soon after by the global pandemic.
The couple, a renegade known for his wild side, and a popular, fun-loving party girl, tied the knot on January 27 at a small ceremony in Wanaka.
Until recently, they and their devotees were more foes than friends, each believing they were superior to the other.
Their personalities are diametrically opposed, the renegade with his avant-garde, offbeat, defiant approach to life and the party girl with her outgoing, sunny, friendly disposition.
The renegade loves to challenge his exclusive band of followers, catching them off-guard and dazzling them with his good looks. He's brilliant company on a good day, but has a tendency to be erratic. On the other hand, the party girl is Ms Reliability — easy-going, consistent, approachable and welcoming to all.
However, the pair also have much in common, a love of the great outdoors especially winter sports, and ultimately, this is what brought them together. They both come alive in the chilly months of the year, attracting skiers and snowboarders in their droves.
We've been friends with the party girl for 40 years and, during that time, she's seldom disappointed us. Occasionally she's been in a stormy mood and has hidden her pretty face behind a thick grey-white veil but soon after, she's emerged positively sparkling, more beautiful than ever.
The renegade, however, is stingy with his favours. We've only seen snippets of his genius, but the euphoria he imparts on one of his primo days is worth the wait.
The party girl turns 40 this winter and we'll be there at the celebrations, albeit scaled down due to the pandemic. Her many overseas friends will not be able to attend but her loyal Kiwi mates will show up. The renegade and his followers will be there too, keeping their distance, slightly disdainful of her populist appeal.
The marriage will be fascinating to watch. Will the party girl be able to smooth the rough edges off the defiant renegade and bring him into line? Or will the renegade succeed in exerting his edgy, non-conformist influence over his new partner?
They are like yin and yang, opposing yet at the same time complementing each other. Together, they have the potential to make a formidably powerful couple, each contributing what the other lacks.
And they are soon to become a ménage à trois ... but that's another story.
Cardrona Alpine Resort, (the 'party girl'), purchased Treble Cone Ski Area, (the 'renegade') on January 27, 2020. The two entities will henceforth be operated under the banner of Cardrona Alpine Resorts and a single lift pass will cover both mountains.
The two fields — Cardrona, 34km southwest of Wanaka up the Cardrona Valley, and Treble Cone, 23km northwest of Wanaka on the Mt Aspiring Rd — have long been competitors. Cardrona has marketed itself as a friendly, fun field, accessible to all levels of skiers and snowboarders while Treble Cone has largely been the exclusive domain of experts.
Cardrona's 400 hectares are characterised by cruisy, open, undulating, perfectly-groomed pistes, mellow basins and world-class terrain parks. The field is classified as 25 per cent beginner, 25 per cent intermediate, 30 per cent advanced and 20 per cent expert. The mountain seems to be in permanent party mode hosting many colourful events like Gay Pride Week and the thrilling Winter Games.
Treble Cone's 550ha field is famous for its long, steep, uncrowded runs, natural half pipes and chutes, legendary off-piste terrain and spectacular panoramas over Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. The resort is classified as 10 per cent beginner, 45 per cent intermediate and 45 per cent advanced. It's a seriously challenging field at the end of a gnarly, narrow mountain road but the diehard TC fans love it that way.
And as if this union were not exciting enough for winter sports aficionados, in a few years' time, Cardona's next-door neighbour Soho Basin will join the mix to form New Zealand's largest alpine resort. What a threesome that will be!
For more information viist www.cardrona.com