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A great time to be in Canterbury as Level 2 brings the Chill Fields back to life

  • 2 min read

Cover Photo: Kenji Boekholt, Tailgrab, Mt Olympus tow queue, Sat 11th September.

 Like you, I spent the 17th August patiently waiting for the day of the decade on Wednesday the 18th of August.

The lockdown announcement was like a slap in the face with a wet fish, and the automatic webcam pictures uploaded to each skifield's website did absolutely nothing to help that.

The photo of large avalanche at Craigieburn (below), which was shared the day of lockdown, offered only mild consolation.

An impromptu break to the season had some benefits though, taking advantage of the Port Hills for some government mandated local exercise helped to restore my legs, but watching the mountains on every ride, the announcement for level 2 couldn't come soon enough. 

Pre lockdown I had scored a few great days to whet the appetite for more:

Ferg McIntosh, on top of Mt Enys, looking back towards Porters on the left.

Ferg McIntosh and I ski toured to Mt Enys from Porters on the last day of July, as you can see from Ferg's expression above, it was fun despite the presence of some particularly rude crust.

Early August offered a few good days too:

Olympus, Sat 7th of August

(T-Minus 10 days to lockdown)

 

Pow Day, Broken River, Tuesday 10th August. Another goodie. 

(T-Minus 7 days to lockdown)

 

Luke Jackson laying one over in some freshies, Craigieburn, Wednesday 11th August. 

(T-Minus 6 days to lockdown)

Artificial Snowstorm, Broken River, 14th August. 

(T-Minus 3 days to lockdown)

One of the benefits of living in Christchurch is that when exercising on the Port Hills, the mountains are almost far enough away that you can't see the snow melting. Almost.

Photo from above the Bridle path while busy staying local, snow barely visible in the distance out towards the Kaikoura ranges.

24 August, Lockdown day 7

With the fields back open on the announcement of level 2 I made my way to Broken River on Thursday the 9th September after a few work commitments frustratingly ruled me out of the Wednesday. It was a little windy, but I don't have any photos worth sharing as I was having too much fun.

For the first time I can remember, there were no moguls anywhere - the rain during the lockdown combined with no skiers smoothed the field significantly. Not only can you now carry speed more easily all over the field, the legs burn a little less too.

Heading to Olympus on Saturday the 11th September turned out to be a great decision. It was great to see the NZJFT getting back into the swing of things, and even better that the usual groms weren't wearing out the fresh snow on the hiking terrain:

NZJFT venue behind the Main Tow, as seen from below Rum Rock. Fresh snow almost everywhere else, especially on the hikes.

Not often the short hike up to Back Ridge gets you fresh tracks at 2.30 pm on a Saturday - but for the 15 or so people in this photo that was what we found.

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