Trip Report Wanaka 2016

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Heinz, Jul 29, 2016.

  1.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Well it is nearly August again which means one thing - time for the annual Wanaka trip. This will be number 34.

    Have been keeping an eye on conditions over the last couple of months. Thanks to the guys on the ground posting in the NZ weather thread. Things weren't looking too good following a very warm June. Hugh (one the guides) remarked a few weeks ago that "the cupboard looks a little bare right now". But based on past history we were still reasonably confident of things turning around and July certainly has done that with quite a bit of snow in the last couple of weeks. There is a reason why I go in August.

    So bags now packed and ready to fly out early tomorrow morning.
     
  2.  
    JeffW

    JeffW Active Member

    Looking forward to some vicarious holidaying Heinz :woohoo::cheers:
     
  3.  
    N0frilz

    N0frilz Active Member

    Keen to see how you get on, whats your plan to hit TC and heli?

    I was hoping to get back and do some more days with HMH and back country riding this year but I had an accident and now I have ten screws holding my knee together. Fingers crossed I can sneak back home for some late spring skiing but its looking like an overseas trip in the new year.
     
  4.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Yes, TC & Heli as usual.

    Accident sounds nasty :eek: Good luck with the recovery and getting back on the board.
     
  5.  
    Draizuh

    Draizuh Dedicated Member

    there is some bare essentials in the cupboard now. Its an OK meal, its not 5star but it gets the job done.
     
  6.  
    Zimboo

    Zimboo Addicted Member

    Our daughter has a compulsive repeat disorder................people ask why, I just smile.
     
  7.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    5am Adelaide airport :zzz:
     
  8.  
    ScottGN

    ScottGN Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    Welcome back Heinz. Good luck with the flight(s). It's looking pretty murky here today. Snow tonight - and some crazy talk that we'll see 20cms at lake level. As usual it's in the hands of the gods where it falls in NZ. Looking forward to your exemplary posts!
     
  9.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    On board now in Sydney for ZQN flight.
     
  10.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Landed in Queenstown, sadly though minus skis.
     
  11.  
    sara777

    sara777 Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    Oh nooo :headbang:
     
  12.  
    kaegee

    kaegee Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    • The missing Mantras
     
  13.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Yep you got it. Pretty much used to this happening now. Have had it happen at least a couple of times to Europe as well as to the US years ago as well as several times coming home from NZ but from memory this is the first time heading over to NZ. I guess it was a matter of time and the tight connection this morning in Sydney did it.

    At least though that is my advantage of packing my skis separately. My main bag got through fine so it is just a matter of renting skis up at TC tomorrow. So could have been much worse.
     
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  14.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    It is nice as always though to be back at home in Wanaka. Bumped into my friend Stewart a couple of mins after arriving. Then caught Hugh in the HMH office.

    Supermarket was crazy busy as usual. Noticed a few new street food vendors this year including a Schnitzel van - will have to check that one out. Had my first couple of Speights for the trip with a few other Australians who had a couple of good heli days.
     
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  15.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Earlier flight into ZQN was fine though not much of a view. Coronet Peak was covered in cloud - only the road visible. A bit of heavy sleety rain over the Crown range for a while, still not too cold.Imagine it would have been snowing higher up. Expected to be colder tonight.
     
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  16.  
    ScottGN

    ScottGN Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    Bit of a fail on the snow front today sadly. We had a few brief flurries and now a starry night sky. Treble Cone should be pretty good tomorrow.
     
    :thumbs: windy likes this.
  17.  
    Zimboo

    Zimboo Addicted Member

  18.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Only heard about that when I was back in town.
    Haven't heard any details on it yet.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  19.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Skis have been delivered though :thumbs: :woohoo:

    Got a call from Qantas in Queenstown in the afternoon on the way back from TC that they were being sent on the bus and finally got delivered at around 7pm.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  20.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Sunday July 31 - Treble Cone

    After a slow start turned out to be a very good day - a perfect day to get the legs going again for the first ski since February.

    Being a fine day following fresh snow and a Saddle closure and being a Sunday it had all the ingredients to be a busy day and it certainly was. Probably the busiest I've seen it up here - cars parked way down the road even early on. Queue for the 6 seater early was insane, but once the Saddle opened the load got spread out. I normally would have had a couple of cruisy groomer runs down Main street to start but with the crowd opted to head to Saddle straightaway. Had some nice runs up there - had clearly been quite a bit of wind, lines got tracked quickly, quite a queue of people hiking up to te summit (I didn't). Very good skiing but it was quite cold - with the wind at the top of the chair.

    So eventually opted for a break and headed back to Main basin. Knew the base café was going to be a disaster with the crowds but had my own sandwich with me and stopped at the outdoor café just below the top of the chair. Was joined by a inquisitive Kea then also bumped into Anna & Dave.

    Spent the rest of the afternoon in the Main basin where all the runs were in excellent shape. Pretty much everything was on - Gunbarrel, Matuki bowl etc. Pretty much everything was on except Sundance which still looked a bit dodgy so didn't head there. So a pretty satisfied tired at the end of that.

    Queues weren't too bad at all through the afternoon, so still got plenty of skiing. The Café looked very busy though so stayed clear of that except to take boots off at the end.
     
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  21.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Checked out the Schnitzel van tonight. It is run by a couple from Berchtesgaden in Bavaria just near the Austrian border. Had a nice chat with them while I waited for my Schniztel burger with Bratwurst and cheese. Very nice.
     
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  22.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Race to the Summit
    [​IMG]

    View from Saddle
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    Main basin
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    lunch companion
    [​IMG]
     
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  23.  
    Telestrom

    Telestrom Addicted Member

    Given how TC was looking a couple of weeks ago, it's looking great.
     
  24.  
    Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    Never seen that many people heading up to the 'summit' before. Someone got a little impatient on the way up.
     
  25.  
    BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Well-Known Member

    Berchtesgaden. ...the Fuhrer's old stomping ground. Wonder if he relaxed with a schnitzel burger after a hard day invading something. Ach! Hold ze mustard but!!

    What's the drive time up from Wanaka Heinz? :D:doh:
     
  26.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Very nice spot Berchtesgaden & Koenigsee. Was there many years ago, didn't go up Eagles Nest.

    Wanaka to TC is around 35-40mins.
     
  27.  
    VSG

    VSG Pool Room Season Pass Gold

    Needs rope tow.
     
  28.  
    ScottGN

    ScottGN Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    They need to put one from the bottom of the chutes back up to the saddle chair first.
     
  29.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Monday August 01 - Triple Peak

    Back to the flying machine today. A bit of a slow start waiting for the cloud to clear, but were able to get away eventually. Catch up with a few more regulars, Nigel flying, Grom guiding and Stewart of course. Looks like wind had affected snow a bit more, so was somewhat variable, so had to concentrate. I was still a little tentative. Started off on Triple peak, was a bit slabby high, but quite good lower down. Could see that Boil the Billy over the back still looked good so headed there and did a number of variations - a couple of shorter runs from a lower landing then a couple from a higher landing. These were mostly pretty good but again had to look for the right aspects to get the best snow. Got down fairly low a couple of times but it was very warm down there and snow was quite heavy.

    Was a threat of cloud coming in so moved to Peepees on valley side which was very good more the most part and had lunch there. Continued to the bottom where I hit a dip in heavier snow and double ejected and head planted just before the pickup. Figured that was probably a good point to call it a day.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
  30.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    View of Penstock from Boil the Billy . We didn't ski there as that looked more wind affected.
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    Boil the Billy
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    [​IMG]
     
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  31.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Tuesday August 02 - North Buchanans

    A calm, clear day before the forecast change tomorrow so had to make the most of it. Joined by Josef again having arrived back from Austria yesterday though still a bit jetlagged. Stewart of course, Mark guiding today and JR flying. Had an idea yesterday of heading to Mt Cook but there weren't the numbers and the wind had been quite severe up that way.

    So instead we headed a bit futher up the Matuki to ski in the North Buchanans working the area around Dragonfly peak. First run on Eostre was nothing special - wind affected snow like yesterday but it was just the jumping off point.

    The main part of the day was on Dragonstail where we found some good skiing in parts - top was still wind affected so fairly tricky but was quite good lower down in the dappled snow on the ridges, just getting a little heavier at the bottom. So had 4 runs in here, stopping for lunch part way down the last one.

    After that went and tried Furballs just across the valley but that wasn't great, not terrible, just not as good as Dragonstail. We were hearing reports on the radio from one of the charter groups who were venturing further out but not finding anything better.

    Then usual plan at end of day was to hit a run back towards the Matuki base in this case Moliefes and as it happened (not for the first time) this was where we found easily the best snow of the day. This was what we were after - powder with almost no wind affect. Certainly appreciated it much more having skied the trickier stuff. So of course it was an easy decision to do it again.
     
  32.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    View from Eostre down the Matuki valley - can see the wind affect on the snow.
    [​IMG]

    Dragonstail
    [​IMG]

    and with Triple peak in the background where we were yesterday
    [​IMG]
     
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  33.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Down day, snowing in the mountains. Katsucurry for lunch.
     
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  34.  
    hpsauce

    hpsauce Dedicated Member

    From Yohei?
     
  35.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Yeah, that's the place. :thumbs: Quite a reasonable one for NZD12.50.

    Like going there for the sushi as well.

    edit. Note for @Vermillion if he happens to visit Wanaka.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  36.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Caught up with old mates Muzza & Roger for a couple of beers and a few old yarns. Raining lightly again.
     
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  37.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Thursday August 4 - Treble Cone

    Currently in an easterly weather pattern which does bring a bit of snow this way but mostly just has cloud which hangs around for days. TC did report another 10cm of snow so headed up. Another very busy day with cars parked well down the road.

    Queue on the 6 seater was again long though not quite as bad as Sunday. Was an easy decision to again head straight to the Saddle where there was almost no queue at all. Hard to understand - sure it was cloudy and light was a bit flat but visibility was pretty good and the skiing was good. Was cold but there was no wind at all - so little movement in the cloud.

    Today though was a reversal of the traditional 2pm clearance. Instead there was a 2 pm whiteout. So headed down for a short break. Did improve a bit so headed back up, Powderbowl was then lit up for a good 30 secs, enough to suck me in, but of course by the time I got there vis was back to near zero, so it was a slow careful trip down. A couple more and I figured that was enough.
     
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  38.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    On my first run in the Saddle I thought I'd take a cruisy warm up run on South ridge. While heading down some guy on fat skis blasted past pretty much straight lining then managed to stack. He did this 3 times on this one run losing a ski the third time. I made a mental note to try and stay well clear of him. Saw him a few hours later down at the base when I was having my short break and heard him briefly - he was a Pom.

    Did notice quite a few Brits around, more than other years, but even more noticble was the ever increasing number of Chinese around.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
    :thumbs: pedub likes this.
  39.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    A few pics from the Saddle when visibility was still good.

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    Plenty of Keas at the base.
    [​IMG]
     
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  40.  
    pedub

    pedub Active Member

    Same thing for us yesterday. Cloud looked ominous in the saddle but we went straight over anyway. Nobody there and 20+cm fresh over the whole bowl. It was like a Japan day :). (Calm, cold, dark, snow floating down). Couldn't see sh1t but that did not matter.

    Later on as people made their way over you could even hear hear all the hooting and hollering just like at niseko.
     
  41.  
    Draizuh

    Draizuh Dedicated Member

    Snow was fantastic on thursday, really hoped i was going to get to enjoy more as the snow had cleared, however the South easterly bought the clag once again.. Lets hope it pisses off for the weekend.
    Did see some pics of heli terrain out west looking epic on thursday though.
     
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  42.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Down day. The guys were hatching some plans for a small group to head somewhere out Glenorchy way but the cloud never cleared sufficiently.
     
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  43.  
    Draizuh

    Draizuh Dedicated Member

    Story of my day.. Hatching plans.. didnt clear.. Tomorrow is another day!
     
  44.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Saturday August 6 - Triple Peak

    A somewhat frustrating day. We got a taste of the goods and they were indeed very tasty but all too short as once again we were beaten by the lingering cloud.

    The forecast was for a clearance, so while it was cloudy early we were hopeful that after delaying start it would clear sufficiently. We headed out to the Matuki and I was happy to have old friend Hugh guiding again. Kept options open as we flew further up the valley, the Buchanans side looked slightly clearer than the Harris side so we headed there. Managed to get in a low ridge landing below Triple Peak. Was quite cold while we waited for Hugh to have a quick dig and happy at what he found. This was the good stuff - around 40cm of fresh powder from the last few days with no wind affect. Just what we were after!
    And it skied beautifully even if light was a little flat. Short but very sweet.

    We wanted to get back up for another shot but the cloud had already drifted further down, so we had to move slightly further south and lower to Matuki Face. Here the cloud had clearly been sitting for a while previously as a bit of a rime crust had formed on the surface. I had seen similar in the Saddle at TC on Thursday. Still skied very well though, much easier than the wind crust we had last week a it was consistent. Decided to repeat that run while we could. Was still too limited to fly the other groups in.

    The cloud kept coming though, almost chasing us down the hill, so we were forced to retreat to the valley, have lunch and re-assess. Sadly though there was no wind at all so the clouds were not moving at all. At least we did get out for a few runs, the other groups didn't get out at all.

    So we know the goods are out there, we just need the cloud to move off. Hopefully tomorrow.
     
  45.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Clear skies, no wind, overnight frost. I'm looking out my window at the early morning sun lighting up the top of Fog peak. All set up for a good day.
     
    :thumbs: TropicalPow likes this.
  46.  
    Gimp

    Gimp Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Look forward to tonight's pics, enjoy
     
  47.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Don't have time now for a proper report. Suffice to say all the elements were in place to make for a great day as I reported this morning and it duly delivered. Was an awesome day. This is what we come here for! This is skiing.
     
  48.  
    Draizuh

    Draizuh Dedicated Member

    Your 200th trip i see! Lucky bugger ;)
     
  49.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Yeah, 200th day with HMH starting in 1983. Was a great day to do it and has been a fantastic journey.
     
  50.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    and tomorrow my friend Stewart will most likely be celebrating another milestone.