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Trip Report – Ski Touring at the Remarkables

By Katrina Gardiner

Source: Central Otago Newsletter (August 2019)

After a slow start to the season and only one skin up Sarah Sue I wondered about my fitness for a ski with others of the Central Otago Alpine Club but remembering TS Elliot, I decided to go.

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go” TS Elliot

After a delay from Saturday to Sunday to allow for snow and possibility of avalanche danger I met Erik, Ash and seven others at the bottom of the Remarkables for the ride into the cloud. The promised snow was aptly described by Erik as ‘A powder puff event’.

We all gathered next to the patrollers building and started up towards Alta in great snow conditions, but poor viz. My skinning pace is considerably slower than the others and they were kind enough to wait for me at the top of Alta before crossing the covered wetlands towards Lake Alta. At this point I decided that, although I knew they would wait for me, I didn’t want hold them up and also, skiing into the Wye in white out conditions is not for me, so I made the call to return to the base building while the others went on.

In hindsight I should have gone on because wind and visibility conditions at the Wye Saddle made it unsuitable for going into the Wye and the group spent the time brushing up on technique, practicing kick turns and having a generally great time.

How do I know this? After a coffee at the base building I felt the need to give it another go and skinned up to Lake Alta in the poor visibility, but great snow conditions, being passed be two other skinners who disappeared into the mist.

At Lake Alta I heard the group having fun trying new skills and as their ghostly shapes skied past on the way down I managed to catch up with them and finish off the morning with the group as we picked our way down through some rocks to the top of Alta run and into the café for conversation and lunch.

Huge thanks to Erik and Ash for sharing skills and leading this day out.
Nga Mihi Katrina

Posted: 05/09/19

Posted By: Narina Sutherland