Posted by: Tommy | August 24, 2011

It is August, I am in a blizzard, and I am happy!

By Guest Blogger Jerry Carlton (Anna’s Dad)

August 7 in Dallas must have been about 110 degrees.

But I didn’t really know, because I was skiing in a blizzard near Queenstown, New Zealand at The Remarkables ski area. Wow!

 Ski trips are real vacations to me. Outdoors and cold. Snow. Mountain scenery. It is not so much the actual skiing, because I don’t ski hard or long. It is the whole experience that I like. This ski trip was special. Skiing in August. Skiing in New Zealand. I was really looking forward to it.

At 9 a.m., Jack, Tommy and I start our 1.3 hour bus ride to The Remarkables ski slope. Stunning scenery starts right away. Mountains capped in snow are in the distance. Queenstown’s beautiful Lake Wakatipu is just outside the bus window beside the road which starts to wind around. Snake around. Hairpin turns. Along the way, the driver puts chains on the tires because of the ice and snow on the road. All the way, scenery is beautiful. Going higher, higher. Slower. Narrow roads. A bus coming the other way. Tight, tight fit on the road to pass by each other, and they are going too fast, aren’t they? No real barriers to stop a bus tumbling thousands of feet into a fiery crash. At least that’s what I am thinking! I don’t like heights. I don’t like winding roads, especially if I am not in control. I was nervous. But all
the way, I kept looking at the mountains, the downhill views, the lake, the town. And I say to myself that the bus ride is worth it just to see that.  And it was.

Finally, we are at the mountain base. What a relief. And now, I relax in anticipation of a fun day. Jack and I will ski-snowboard. Tommy heads off to take a ski lesson and will join us for lunch. We all ski-snowboard together in the afternoon.

Snow everywhere, including falling from the sky. Really almost like sleet. Hard snow. And the wind howls and whistles. But we ski. We are here only for 3 days. I probably never will have this chance again.

OK, it wasn’t exactly a perfect ski day. Visibility varies from can’t see the front of your skis to seeing halfway down the mountain.  The wind literally almost blows us over. On the chair lifts, we don’t talk. We bury our heads in our chests to avoid the cutting chill on our faces. But we ski. I enjoy the extreme physical exertion, the burn in my thighs. Speeding downhill is  fun. Seems pretty fast to me on the blue runs.  Jack would say I am not speeding, because he is always ahead and waiting on me. But I was being nice and hanging back for Tommy. Ha!

We take the bus down. Beautiful views for sure. I grip my seat. The gears and brakes work all the way and we make it back safely, tired and thirsty. We walk around, find a local pub and tell our stories to Anna and Sally. Then, back at the apartment, Sally cooks her famous chili to sate Tommy and Anna’s desire for Texas food.

Like I said, a perfect ski day at The Remarkables.

The rest of the story is that Jack and I skied a second day at Coronet Peak on a beautiful sunny, still day. The ride up was much easier and shorter. The scenic views at the top of Coronet truly are amazing. Gotta be about the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. We can see the town and the lake from Coronet. The day is so crystal clear. The sun is so bright. This is a vacation.

It was a perfect ski trip.  Wish you could have been here with me!

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Responses

  1. and those of us in Dallas in the 100+ degree heat would have liked to have been there with you also. Just reading the blog, I feel a little cooler – perhaps I’ll have some hot cocoa!


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