After over 3 weeks of waiting, FINALLY a truly fantastic day arrived here in Ohakune.

By the time I got to the top of the lifts, the last remaining clouds had disappeared and nothing but blue skies and sunshine remained. Very little wind made this a perfect snowboarding day. The owner of the motel I’m working at, Donald, came up with me to offer some pointers for the first little bit of the day before going off to the advanced stuff. His advice was very good – lots of improvement today!

I have now advanced to the highest lift of Turoa/Mt. Ruapehu, which takes me up to 2300m and gives a 700m+ vertical drop down to the lodge at the bottom. I still can’t do the black diamond runs, but the blues at the top are a very good challenge. They are considerably steeper and faster than lower down blues.

Looking up at some of the peaks of Mt. Ruapehu, you might notice some black dots in the distance amongst the snowy white surface. Those are people hiking up to the top, carrying their snowboards and skis. On a good day like today, this is one of the best runs you can do, going all the way from the peak downward. You just have quite a good hike to get up there!

That’s something I’d like to do in the next two weeks (season closes November 6th), but that will require a bit more skill on my part, along with another gorgeous day and a bit of extra time (the hike takes 40-60 minutes). The peak is often covered by cloud or high wind. For now though, I was content just enjoying the view on my way down the mountain. You can’t be afraid of heights to enjoy this kind of snowboarding/skiing! These are *steep* runs.

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