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Ski Whakapapa - Mount Ruapehu
Epic day, that’s all I can say. Whakapapa was on fire on Tuesday. It was one of those days when it’s brilliantly sunny above the cloud and the snow is softened to spring perfection. Oh yes, it was dreamy.
Epic Day the Ruapehu Way
Can you believe I almost didn’t go? It was cloudy in Taupo and the weather forecast was for things to deteriorate during the day. So, this is where the priceless Mount Ruapehu webcams come in. I checked the website in the morning. The Te Heuheu Valley webcam showed blue sky at 6.30am. I checked again at 8.30am. The cloud was moving up the mountain but there was still blue sky above Hut Flat. Game on.
If I hadn’t decided ‘Carpe Diem’, I would have missed the best day’s skiing I’ve had this season. Seriously, the snow was like silk, and there were wide open, uncrowded slopes to be carved up all day.
Before I hit the slopes I headed into the gigantic Knoll Ridge Café for a breakfast burger and cuppa. Full credit to the Knoll Ridge kitchen staff – it was a yummy burger and was just how I remembered them. Egg, bacon, hash brown, relish, mayo – yummo!
As I stood in line at the cafe I heard a familiar voice from the past call out “Marion, is that you? and there was my dear friend Louisa standing there grinning. I was stoked. She too had escaped her responsibilities for the day so now we’d both found a ski buddy. My day just kept getting better.
At this time of year the best snow conditions are definitely up as high as you can get. We spent most of the morning on the Far West T Bar, dropping into Dreamer and enjoying the bumps of the first moguly 100m before breaking into big carved turns on Turnpipe. It’s just magic up there, and the view is like nothing else.
The best snow we found all day was on the Valley Traverse, between the top of Knoll Ridge T Bar and the Valley. When we started skiing it in the early afternoon it still had the pristine corduroy tracks from the groomer on it. We couldn’t believe our luck. Come on people, I can’t believe you haven’t discovered this gem of a slope!
Once we’d dropped into the Valley we stuck around for a while and watched all those totally talented riders in the Terrain Park. We were lucky to see a line of ski patrollers come through the park and hit the biggest jumps, one after the other. It was a laugh.
All day I felt like I was floating on the clouds. Everywhere we went we could look out and see the white, billowy layer of cloud below us. It was like being in another world, and for that day, having left my ordinary life behind, I was happy to pretend I was.
I returned home feeling like my batteries were fully recharged. Even though I had spent all day skiing hard out and my quads felt like jelly, I couldn’t stop zipping about with a big grin on my face. It’s true what they say. A hard day’s skiing will actually give you more energy.
As I write this, it’s been snowing again up on the hill, and the outlook for the remainder of the season is fantastic. There’s still three weeks to go at Whakapapa and five at Turoa, so there’s plenty of riding still to be had.