Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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I've even managed to perfect one of those nifty little last minute hip-shifter manoeuvres. You know the one, where you go screaming up to an innocent sour-face at high speed before showering them with fresh powder at the very last second. It's an exhilirating feeling, highly satisfying. Actually it's one of those dead classy moves that gives great satisfaction to the person actually doing it, while provoking some unnecessary overreaction from the recipient, usually some snappy remark like 'You are SUCH a dick. GROW up!'
The pinnacle of activity came at the weekend, way out north-east on a little remote mountain known as Fox Peak, just off the Southern Alps towards Timaru. It was a 'two-birds-with-one-stoner' as Caroline got to celebrate her dirty 30th while the rest of us ate, drank and watched as the madness erupted. My days off coincided perfectly with the event and I happened to be one of the lucky ones to drive out there on the Friday night securing a half-decent bunk and a good nights sleep. Well, kind of.
We made it there in one piece just after midnight. The place was remote, very remote, and a right buzz chugging along white-knuckle up the mountain access road by moonlight to a faint wooden lodge jutting out of the mountain. Sweet!
From what I understand Fox Peak is a volunteer-driven skiing mountain. The conditions on the day were superb. We were so lucky again. The only downfall, and a nasty one at that, was the fact that there wasn't a chairlift. We had to use the 'nutcracker', a small but hefty metal flip device which gets strapped to your waist and has to be crimped over the fast flowing tow rope in order for you to progress up the incline. It was just another one of those things that's great in theory until you try it yourself. Absolute pandemonium. In fact, half our party got pissed off with it by midday and resorted to standing around on the mountain knocking back the Speights. This is where I surprised myself. I actually perservered with this nutcracker thingy and got a few good runs in (joining some of the others in looking like retards as we were dragged unnaturally up the mountain from the arse.) Such is life.
With the skiing over and done with it was time to celebrate. Fox Peak Lodge itself didn't offer a great deal to write home about. It was all very DOC, but perfectly adequate for a bunch of powder freaks on a birthday weekend.
As was to be expected, 'birthday night' was chaos. The real blessing was that we'd got the place to ourselves. The lodge accommodates up to forty people, and as we're all so interesting and so popular, we had no trouble gathering the troops. There were thirty eight of us there in the end, all packed in. Imagine it. One poky little kitchen? Thirty eight tired and hungry people trying to rustle up dinner? You help yourself mate, we'll just get the beers in. It was a mad one and felt uncannily like a student-y type house party, just perched on a mountain in the middle of middle-earth! Surreal. Nevertheless it was a memorable weekend. An eye-opening weekend, and the game of 'What the f***' was class!
The journey home was pleasant too and surprisingly eventful for a journey home. Caroline was on top form and filled us all with joy as we looked for a petrol station:
Scott: 'Stuff it, just head up there towards the town. There's a BP there. It's better petrol...'
Caroline: (Long, long pause) 'Is that what it stands for?'
Scott: 'Yep. Didn't you know?'
By the early afternoon we'd arrived in Tekapo and jumped out instinctively for a quick touristy photo shoot at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Then it was on to the lakeside camping ground where we blagged the use of a shiny new barbecue for ten bucks. We had to. James had a crate of rib-eyes marinating in tequila, herbs and red wine that just had to be seared and served. We got comfortable outside while he grilled them and tucked them in to chunky Turkish rolls with smooth dijon, a blissful feed in front of the lake and the surrounding snowy peaks. I took my time and soaked it all in again. I'd forgotten how much I love Tekapo.