••• tiff firth photography •••

Friday, August 9, 2013

New Zealand Day 8 9.8.2013

Today's start of the day was a bit different from the last four days. Due to our taking on the extra ski day, I needed to pick up the hire car that had been arranged for the next couple of days. I rang the car rental business yesterday to delay a day, but unless I contacted Eyre Travel and our wonderful agent Janene (plug plug) and she rang the hire car company on my behalf, they couldn't do anything. What an arse about way to rearrange a small detail. So rather than make the international call and bother Janene we decided that I would pick up the car while Kym got the kids up to Remarkables via the bus and get them to their lesson on time.

I purposely not let myself think too much about driving a car in a place that I'm unfamiliar with. Adelaide totally freaks me out and I just literally can’t drive. The buildings loom down on me and the cars in the lanes alongside are waaaaaay to close for my comfort. (I'm claustrophobic). Fortunately having being on the bus the last few days on the same route that I was about to drive on reassured me a bit. Even still, I took the wrong turn out of the airport where I picked the car up from and I had to stop and ask for directions. I was soon back on the right road.  Driving myself worked out well as I was able to dawdle my way up the dirt mountain road and pull over at different wheel chain parking points that I had eye balled over the last days to shot off a few images.

Frankton township with Queenstown in the background. Queenstown International Airport on right. Lake Wakatipu with Kawarau River outflowing from it

The kids have both passed their level 3B which qualifies them for the Intermediate Ski Slopes. Not kids intermediate, but adult intermediate. Don’t tell the kids but that scares me more than a little. More so tonight after watching Annie’s POV when she wore the GoPro.

We did lose Sean for a bit. We had all gathered together after the lesson end and decided that Kym would take them up for a run on Sugar Bowl so the lunch line up would be less by the time we got back. We looked around and Sean was gone. Not to be seen anywhere. Kym and Annie went up the chairlift to see if they could find him either up at the top of Alta or Sugar Bowl or spot him coming down while they were in the lifts. I started to hunt around the Lodge, the beginner slopes, the magic carpets (3 of them). I was starting to really stress. And it spiked when a Patrol Snowmobile took off up the slope with its siren on and the bloke carrying a first aid back pack. Annie and Kym were back from their run and still no sign of him. I was starting to really get worried now. I went to the Alta chairlift and asked one of the attendants if they were able to see if he had boarded the lift in the last 40 minutes. You need a Lift Pass that’s electronically swiped each time you go through the gate to allow access to the lift. Information is recorded and can be accessed via the attendants’ iPads. But I still couldn't find out as the info is not recorded alphabetically but by time stamp. And there had been hundreds of people in that time period as each chair can carry four people.  So the attendant put out a ‘missing’ report to each chairlift and magic carpet attendant. 7 year old skier in orange jacket and black pants. Answers to Sean. He was spotted at the bottom of the magic carpet and was sent up to meet me at the Storage Area.

I just about cried and he nearly was too. We hugged a lot and worked out what happened. When we had all got together after the lessons and prior to Kym wanting to take them up to Sugar Bowl, Sean said he needed to go to the toilet. None of us had heard him so when we started to look for him we all moved away from where we were. He came back to find us gone so he clicked on his skis and hopped on the chairlift to catch up Kym and Annie at the top of Alta. Instead of going up to Sugar Bowl he came back down the Alta slope and further down to the base of the Ski School beginner slope in search for one of us. That was when he was spotted by the magic carpet attendant to come back up the Lodge.

We all sat and had lunch and set some new ground rules. Just because they have passed the Ski Schools Green Beginner Slopes and have qualified to ski on the Blue Intermediate Slopes, they still can’t go on them on their own. There is just too much traffic and too much risk for a young person their age. And I really don’t want/need the grey hairs.

We had some fun and threw snowballs at the GoPro while it was recording for the video montage.

Annie and Kym headed up Sugar Bowl so she could show him the Rollercoaster. Her favourite bit of the slope before leading him through the tunnel. This is when Kym had the GoPro on and was recording Annie doing her thing.

Mid-afternoon saw our only accident for the entire time on the slope. Annie had hit the deck hard on an icy patch and has an ice burn on her hip and butt cheek with abrasions surrounding those areas. That really rattled her and she wanted to park her skis and call it a day. We went to the first aid room and had the area on her hip where it’s the most raw covered with a dressing. 

The first aid room was a bit of a surprise. It’s a bit like a hospital ward with curtains around each gurney. While we were there, a fella was having a nasty leg injury seen to by who I assume to be a doctor. Injections and stitches and all. (He didn't have his curtain drawn)

Hot chocolate put a smile back on Annie’s face.......

(ice coffee for me)

......and we soon spotted the boys coming back to the lodge. Sean had his hot chocolate and it was time to organise for the bus ride back. I wanted to leave in the car before being caught behind the buses coming down. I really wanted Annie to snap on the skis for one last little ride down to the steps that lead to the car park to get some confidence back in her. (a bit like getting back on the horse after falling off type of thing). She did and it was good to see her real smile light up.

Sean came with me in the car and Annie went with Kym in the bus. When I rang about changing the bus transfers the night before, the company had it all totally mixed up. Instead of just cancelling my seat on the bus today, they cancelled all of ours. Including the skis, boots, poles, jackets and pants. So Kym and the kids weren't even on the list this morning to be on the bus. Fortunately another party didn't arrive for the bus and our lot were able to have the last 3 seats. We told the driver tonight that I would take one of the kids with me in the car to free up a seat for someone else if needed. Everyone is ticked on the bus in the morning and ticked on again at the Ski Car park to make sure no one is left behind up the mountain.

Driving down was fairly straight forward as was coming back to the apartment. The kids went through the hot bath to soothe their tired legs before loading up the car with all our rental bits to return down the street. Because I didn't have Kym’s driver’s license with me this morning on vehicle pick up, he can’t drive the car yet. So that left it to me to drive it into downtown Queenstown in peak hour and on a Friday night. I just about shit myself. I did take a wrong turn and in doing so found the local ice rink.
Eventually made it in town and it was bedlam. People just walked anywhere on the road without a care and traffic was at a crawl. I did manage to score a park within 50 metres of the rental business and I'm glad for that. The gear was dropped off and I wanted to clear up any bill remaining from the mix up. There should have been at least the extra day rental on all the gear. But no, with a smile and an apology for the confusion, they waived it. A saving of over A$200. Thank you.

Drove back through the madness with the window down so the cold night air could cool me off as I was sweating from the driving jitters. Seriously sweating!

Once we were back inside we had tea and watched the days GoPro efforts. Total stacks recorded on film.
Kym - 2   (he only had two for the 5 days and we have evidence of them both)
Sean – 1  (the one recorded was one he actually didn't tell us about but it’s when the GoPro head harness popped off his head when he fell and it was later recovered)
Annie – 0 none recorded but she’s has the war wounds to show for it.

Some things I've noticed while on the ski field. Skiers have a particular kind of walk due to the rigid ski boots. Snow boarders seem a bit arrogant but tend to fall over more often. I was surprised at how many boarders there are. Their boots look more comfortable and softer than ski boots. Skiers go faster than boards on the ski runs.  Wee little kids who seem not long walking zipping around on skis. The grey nomad generation on skis and boards. That guys with long legs look seriously good in the fitting ski gear. Some of the women are much more concerned with their hair, make-up and attire than their ability. How happy people were to be on the ski slopes. How much bigger the smiles got when it snowed. (it snowed again today). The honesty, the lack of angst. How good hot chocolate is when lips are cold. How many grown men wore onesies. Some of the getups people were nearly wearing but really shouldn't be. 

Tomorrow’s weather looks quite pleasant and we are talking of a bit of a sleep-in, doing the Shotover Jet, taking Annie out to see what Bungi is about (she’s keen but Dad is not), the luge and the Gondola at sunset. Well that’s the plan at this stage


No comments: