Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

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Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby sven » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:12 pm

I headed up to Craigieburn on July 10th and stayed at the lodge the night before opening day (the 11th). I was one of two guests at the lodge the first day.... for opening day, only overnight guests, staff, club members and chill pass holders were issued lift tickets. I'd say there were maybe 25-30 people on the mountain total (if even)... and the following days there were generally not any more than that, except maybe on Sunday, when there may have been 40-50 people up there. There were fresh tracks all day, never a liftline on any of the days I was there, though I did struggle a bit with getting used to the nutcracker/rope tows (with a good 15 failed attempts getting on the tows over my first two days). Visibility wasn't the best the 2nd day, but then it cleared up again and there were great almost spring like conditions on the third day. I also skied at Mt. Olympus and Mt. Hutt (which I'll post pics of later).... I was sort of shell shocked to be at an actual "ski resort" when I ended off my trip at Mt. Hutt - which has some great terrain, but I think for my next trip to NZ I'm going to only ski club fields.

Really great snow on opening day
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This is what it looked like where people actually tracked the snow out... but there still was a ton of untracked snow available a day or two after opening day
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Looking up to Hamilton Peak at Craigieburn at the end of opening day
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Looking at the bottom rope tow at Craigieburn in bad visibility
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The pub at Craigieburn.... I spent a lot of time here... I guess maybe Glen Plake did too (based on the autographed poster on the wall)
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Nice scenic shot for good measure
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Seems like a lot of really amazing backcountry options...
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My own tracks crossing each other between the rocks... it's great to be able to see your own tracks all day
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby Admin » Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:09 pm

Nice!! =D> Great to hear from you, sven!
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby Patrick » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:13 am

Admin wrote:Nice!! =D> Great to hear from you, sven!


Yes, it's been a while. Thanks for posting these TRs up. I'm taking notes for future reference. :drool:

I got a few questions, are you in NZ only for one week? Or is this part of a larger Down Under trip?

I've been looking at the logistics for myself and it would be hard (physically and financially)to make a commitment to NZ if I can't make it minimum 3 weeks. I know a "former" colleague at work did his Honeymoon in NZ for 2 weeks because the boss didn't want to give the green-light for 3wks. He gone, but that boss is still here. :roll:
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby sven » Tue Jul 21, 2009 5:17 pm

Yeah I definitely agree it would be difficult (+16 hour time difference from EST, something like 22 hours of flying time not including the stopovers and transfers)... I am currently living in Melbourne doing a postgrad degree, so Christchurch was just a 3.5 hr flight away, and the flight was relatively cheap. But the prices in New Zealand are really not all that bad, especially the club fields. Craigieburn was something like $65 NZD for non members (I got the $45 NZD student price which was great), and I think kids under 13 actually ski for free (but don't quote me on that), and accomodations were $85 NZD (I paid $65 NZD as a student), including breakfast and dinner. Pretty amazing prices (at least generally under the current USD/CAD/AUD exchange rates with respect to the NZ dollar). I was surprised how many families were up there based on some of the terrain, but on the flipside, any kids who grow up skiing there will definitely be pretty great skiers, and it is really affordable.

But yeah, when you look at the travel time from eastern North America, both going and returning, thats a good 3-4 days out of your vacation on that alone. I had 11 days total there which was a great amount of time (allowed me to make all the necessary arrangements in Christchurch & spend a full day there before heading off to the mountains). I was expecting a friend to meet up with me, who had an unexpected death in the family and thus had to cancel - he was bringing a lot of gear I was planning to use, but the ski shops around Christchurch & on the way toward the hills had everything I needed... mainly all the avalanche gear, which I was easily able to rent from a shop called Gnomes in Darfield.

I'd probably try to plan my trip for August if I had the luxury of being able to take time out of class, though the cover is pretty great right now - but I still hit a fair bit of rock now and then. Some of the locals were telling me Mt. Olympus particularly takes a while to fill in because of the big volcanic rocks all over the mountain. The trip was definitely worth a little base damage though...

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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby Patrick » Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:27 pm

Thanks Sven. I just realized that you were Down Under when I read the Australian TR.

Wanted to go to New Zealand since 1984, while South America wasn't on the list back then. This year will be year #3 in SA, so I'll be running out of new Southern Hemisphere ski area pretty soon. :-D
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby jtran10 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:37 am

Awesome! Lots of great memories there, my favorite club.

Mid August was THE time last year.
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:23 pm

If/when I get a 4th NZ trip in ski season, the club fields will likely get most of my time. Reports like this ehnace my curiosity to see them.

Patrick should take a hard look at NZ this year. Most years are not this good so early.
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby Patrick » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:21 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Patrick should take a hard look at NZ this year. Most years are not this good so early.


:troll: Make up your mind. Either I book early to get to Las Lenas or I go to NZ? :roll: :wink:
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:51 pm

If you are determined to ski NZ sometime, I would say consider doing it now with the good season. The more challenging skiing is going to be limited in years like my first 2 trips in 1982 and 1997.

Las Lenas has crappy snow years too, but average years in Las Lenas are much better than average years in NZ in my opinion.
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby Patrick » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:59 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:If you are determined to ski NZ sometime, I would say consider doing it now with the good season.

:brick:

A bit late now, plane ticket is already bought and working on the final details for the upcoming South American Sampler Tour 3. :roll:

NZ is not, really not going to happen this year. The only (relatively) big island I'll might see is Prince Edward Island, undecided on that trip.
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:08 am

Adam leaves for Las Lenas Thursday. He says the on-site reports from TGR are quite good. There's plenty of coverage and Marte has not been down much except for the derailment during the first big storm.

So I suspect Patrick may get the best skiing of his SA trips this year. For future seasons I would caution him not to force the issue with NZ in the interest of preserving the streak. He should wait for a season that starts off like this one before committing.
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Re: Craigieburn Valley (NZ), July 11-15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:15 am

I love this one:
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