I can't remember the first time I touched snow, but I'll never forget my children's first encounter with the stuff.

My first meeting with snow came — my mum tells me — when I was a pre-schooler. We would make an annual trip up Ruapehu from our home in Putaruru. I have dim memories of heavy yellow raincoats, gumboots and sliding down hills on sheets of alcathyne. A tyre inner-tube might have been involved.

I came to the business of proper skiing later in life — although if you've ever seen me ski, you'd be unlikely to classify it as "proper skiing". Still with poles in hand and planks underfoot, I've been lucky enough to have some magic days on mountains from the slopes of Ruapehu, to Queenstown, Austria, France and Switzerland.

Skiing is a fantastic reason to travel. I'm hopeless at it, but I love being up there.


Our kids had their first day of skiing last year. Like all children under 6, they took to it easily. They have cousins of the same age living in Wanaka, so ski trips will be a mainstay of family holidays for years to come. I'm sure that within a year or two, skiing will become the first thing that my kids are better at doing than me — not counting, of course, Zoe's ability to remember the names of all the Rainbow Magic fairies.

Kids' lessons today are setting up great adventures — and great travels — later in life.

Next week, we start our annual Snow Series, covering the best of winter travels from around the world and close to home. Get your boots on.

Further details: See mtruapehu.com