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Previous Issues:

Issue 38 - 10 August 2009
Issue 37 - 17 July 2009
Issue 36 - 03 July 2009
Issue 35 - 19 June 2009
Issue 34 - 05 June 2009
Issue 33 - 21 May 2009

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of the SMC E-newsletter

ISSUE 39            FRIDAY 28 AUGUST 2009...

Welcome to the latest edition of the SMC/Manganui e-newsletter.

Well, the Weather Gods have not been kind to Manganui of late; with either a frozen snowpack failing to release from rain or sun, and/or bad weather and low vis, on our top tow; not much has been happening of late.
Our lower mountain has lost all coverage, and we would require mother nature to deliver at least 20cm of cold snow and cold temps, to get going on the lower mountain once more.

However our top tow cover remains excellent at present, even after all the rain.

Once again, that mid-May snow we got - seems a long time ago now.

Keep hoping for decent snow and hopefully our lower mountain will swing back into action, and we can host the Primary & Secondary Schools champs as well!

The NZ Mountain Film Festival was a success in the fact that it was well supported at both venues, with Arthouse Cinema directors stating that.."the support for the festival has meant that we can now look at making the NZ Mountain festival a regular fixture for Taranaki."
Thanks to Arthouse Cinema for the concept, and much appreciated that the Taranaki Alpine & Mountain Clubs could be a part of it.

If you are a Naki local then the focus may be on Ruapehu for your north island skiing experience. Having skied there over the last week (when weather permitted!) and visited both ski areas, I can vouch for the fact that there is plenty of great skiing at our neighbours in the centre of the island, and heading into spring and the longer daylight hours, it is looking good for those who make the pilgrimage across. That 6 pack High Noon express lift is sure impressive, and has transformed the Turoa upper mountain slopes.

In this issue...

Contact Us:
06-759 4609
New Plymouth

Get all your winter gear here.
New season Icebreaker now in store!

Kiwi Outdoors Centre
18 Ariki Street,  New Plymouth
Phone and Fax (06) 7584152

4 Mustang Dve Bell Block
New Plymouth
phone and fax (06)755 0005


GOINGS ON’ Around the Manganui Ski Area

Synopsis for week ending 25 August 2009


We now enter the last week of August, and the turbulent spring cycles are becoming more regular. Wet and warm, windy and wild.

This winter has seen a great uptake on people attending Avalanche courses. We hope that following these training sessions, students will continue on to practice the skills they have learnt, and build their experience under the eye of more experienced friends and colleagues.

Gordon Smith

Taranaki Region

Rain on the mountain at the start of this past week with moderate north westerly winds, soon gave way to some beautiful fine weather from Friday and through the weekend with light winds and mild temperatures. As this new week starts it is a return to heavy rain showers with winds out of the north. Rain showers are expected to continue over the next couple of days with warm temperatures. The freezing level is forecasted to rise to 500m above the summit.
The rain that fell at the start of the week has greatly diminished the snow pack. With the cooler clear nights over the weekend a slick ice crust has formed on the snow surface. Multiple ice crusts still exist within the snow pack providing some strength at this time with no significant instabilities. With the forecasted warm temperature and rain over the next couple of days this will greatly affect the snow pack with wet spring avalanches possible.
No avalanches have been observed this past week. Please report any avalanche activity you may observe to the local mountain safety council branch or the local ski area.
The Danger Rating is at MODERATE due to the forecasted rain and may be raised with the incoming weather.
Care will be needed over the next couple of days as temperatures start to warm up with rain showers. Caution will be needed around most steep aspects above 1500m as loose wet avalanches could develop with the changing weather conditions.  Conditions can change quickly on the mountain so always carry the correct alpine equipment with you and be prepared to change your plans. Backcountry travel is not recommended in poor weather conditions. The avalanche advisory is at MODERATE.

Tongariro National Park Region

This week started with a 10 to 30cm snow event which deposited large drifts lee to the SE, especially above 1800m. Mostly settled weather remained until Tuesday when a strong Low pressure system approached bringing gale force winds, rain, and snow above 2200m.
The storm snow of August 19th and 20th added some depth to the snowpack above 2000m, mostly on Western slopes, but warmer daytime temperatures and nightly refreezes created a thick melt freeze crust especially on Northerly slopes.  The snowline has crept up and most slopes below 1500m are below threshold. Average snow depth above 2000m is 1.5 to 2.5m. Above 2200m colder snow exists and some facets remain within 50 cm of the snow surface.
Control work and ski cutting saw several slides up to size 2.5 during and after the 20th and 21st. Natural size 1.5s and small wet loose avalanches were noted due to increased solar radiation on many steep unsupported slopes facing the NW 1/4 on the 22nd and 23rd.
The Danger rating is currently Low, but will Increase above 2000m with continued snow and wind.
Gale force winds with a mixed bag of rain and snow will keep travel difficult at best. By Thursday lee slopes facing the SE 1/2 above 2000m may have
dangerous pockets of wind slab and should be avoided. Warmer temps with new snow and rain will also make steep unsupported slopes susceptible to wet slides and travelers should avoid gullies and be aware of run out zones. The avalanche advisory is currently LOW, but will INCREASE over the next few days.

Remember that you can now access the reports on the go - just punch in on any WAP capable handset and access both the cameras and full reports on your mobile.


K2 Racing at Turoa

Tai Juneau, Oakura, placed third in the men’s K2 combined time giant slalom ski race Sunday August 9, as part of the North Island Series held at Turoa, Mt Ruapehu, August 8-9. Juneau also took third in both of the giant slalom races on Saturday.
Tai Juneau

Truman Edwards also of Oakura was 10th in the combined time K1 division. In the first weekend of the North Island Series of ski racing this season at Whakapapa, July 25-26, Juneau was third in the men’s slalom combined time and Edwards was sixth.

Truman Edwards

We are still waiting for the snow for these below events! We are all set to go, so hopefully will happen soon...

The Taranaki Secondary Schools Ski/Board Champs
1st available ski day after the July school holidays.

The Secondary schools hold their Championships on the first suitable day of next term and the Primary and Intermediate schools follow on the next suitable day. The event is held at the Manganui Ski area on Mt Taranaki a suitable day means adequate snow cover and fair weather.
The SMC racing & training coordinator Clive Saleman will attend to set the race course, and we will have Safety Services on hand for any first aid requirements.

Please feel free to contact Clive Saleman, Stratford Mountain Club Racing Coordinator 0272906636,

Also contact  Mr. Richard (Titch) Turner at NPBHS for further details.

SMC will provide ONE complimentary (free) lift ticket voucher for each team manager from each school …on application to the race coordinator.
SMC will provide COMPETITORS lift tickets at members rate ($15), providing that each school get their manager to buy all competitors lift  tickets (ie organize total payment for all their schools competitors).

The Taranaki Primary&Intermediate Schools Ski Champs
Manganui Ski Area, 2nd available ski day after the July school holidays.

Over the last several years the Taranaki Primary and Intermediate Schools Skiing Champs have been coordinated by Philli Butt of Oakura School The Coordinator this year is yet to be announced.
The Secondary schools hold their Championships on the first suitable day of next term and the Primary and Intermediate schools follow on the next suitable day. The event is held at the Manganui Ski area on Mt Taranaki a suitable day means adequate snow cover and fair weather.

Bring your lunch - pies and snack food and drinks are available on the mountain. This event is all about participation - register with your school, turn up and you will be given a start!

I will be attending the event as per the last several years with radios, stopwatches, and computer and printer to record the results.

I will attend to set the race course, and we will have Safety Services on hand for any first aid requirements.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries.
Regards, Clive Saleman, Stratford Mountain Club Racing Coordinator 0272906636

SMC will provide ONE complimentary (free) lift ticket voucher for each team manager from each school …on application to the race coordinator.
SMC will provide COMPETITORS lift tickets at members rates ($15), providing that each school get their manager to buy all competitors lift  tickets (ie organize total payment for all their school competitors).
SMC lodge will be available to teachers, parents and kids attending the primaries.



no report this issue.


The SMC committee has a number of projects on the go.
These include…

  • Top Tow replacement (new rope delivery is imminent)
  • Top Tow maintanance - new return & night pulleys manufacture
  • Metservice WeatherStation maintenance
  • Arthouse Cinema's NZ Mountain Film Festival (volunteer help)


B Tech 70 was $690.00 now $518.00   28.5/29 sizes

B Tech 100 was $845.00 now  $633.00     28/29.5  sizes

B Tech 120 was $899.00
now   $675.00     27/27.5 sizes

Womens B 70 was $590.00
now   $450.00     26.5/25.5 sizes

Womens Hawk 80  was  $849.00 now   $636.00     26.5 sizes

Backcountry Avalanche Advisory for Taranaki

Taranaki Region
06 August 2009
A mix of fine and cloudy conditions today with some light showers expected and moderate west winds. The freezing level will rise to 2200 by evening.

Variable surface conditions exist on the mountain today. Most catchment areas lee to the south and west have been filled in with recent wind activity. Some ridgelines have developed large overhanging cornices. Highpoints generally are scoured back to very firm and icy conditions, as are any exposed faces. Below all of this, our snowpack is a very consistent layering of ice crusts, and well settled and well drained snow.

No avalanches observed in 24 hours

Safe travel will depend upon terrain choices today. Watch for scoured off icy areas that exist throughout a variety of aspects and elevations. Avoid any heavily loaded areas lee to the south and west today. Be aware that some ridges have developed large cornices which it is best to avoid today as well. Crampons and an ice axe are advised anywhere above 1200m.

The Danger Rating is at MODERATE.


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The Lure Of The Mountains

 What is it about mountains that lures people back, summer and winter, year after year? Maybe it's that modern life involves few challenges and much complexity. Forays into the mountains reduce life to a simpler level, and give us a chance to test ourselves against an unyielding standard.

We seek the summits on foot, by lift, on skis, boards and snowshoes, awakening early to catch the dawn's early light on the sharp, glistening crystals of fresh powder. We stay late to watch the sunset from a vantage high above the Earth.

John Muir, arguably America's first mountaineer, put it this way in The Yellowstone National Park, published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1898: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

Jim Whittaker, first American to stand atop Mount Everest, told me some years ago that he climbs mountains because the view from the top "makes my eyes feel good."

Englishman Edward Whymper won the race to be first up the Matterhorn and met disaster on the descent when four of his party fell and were killed. He wrote Scrambles Amongst the Alps, with this note of caution:

"There have been joys too great to be described in words, and there have been griefs upon which I have not dared to dwell; and with these in mind I say: Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

Gunther Jochl, president and co-owner of Sugar Mountain in North Carolina, told last season, "You're out in nature, have the thrill of going downhill under control, feeling the cold air in your lungs, having a great challenge. It's one of the few sports that combines being outdoors, being challenged, the exhilarating feeling, you can go with friends, have family along, or be by yourself. You can go up the mountain in the dark morning, make first tracks in the powder as the sun comes up, or go out in the spring and set your first tracks as the sun just touches the snow and it gets soft. What other feeling is there?"

What other feeling, indeed?

By Roger Leo
August 10, 2009


Feature Article

Kiwis take to slopes in record numbers

Record numbers of New Zealanders have taken to the slopes this winter despite the recession, ski field operators say.

Mt Ruapehu marketing manager Mike Smith said numbers were up 25 percent over last year, making this the busiest skiing season on record.

"It's the best we've done by a long way."

Demand for Mt Ruapehu season passes was also at a record high, with 25,000 sales this year compared with 18,000 last year.

"That's a significant increase. I don't think anyone in their wildest dreams would have picked that coming into 2009," Mr Smith said.

The increases were mostly driven by domestic demand, as budget-conscious families took to the slopes during the July school holidays as an alternative to overseas travel, he said.

The increases were also due to consistent snow conditions and a good number of blue sky days.

Numbers were expected to remain high throughout the August season peak, Mr Smith said.

"I don't see any slow-down at all. If things continue as they are, I would expect demand to be high right through."

Domestic numbers had also increased significantly in the South Island, where overseas skiers typically drive demand.

Mt Hutt marketing manager James Urquhart said it had been a good season for ski fields despite the economic downturn.

Demand had been driven by good domestic tourism packages, he said.

"We're bargain hunters, us Kiwis. We look for the best deal for the most fun. And I think the doom and gloom out there ... people are getting sick of hearing about it."

People were holidaying closer to home, with more people driving to ski fields than previous years, Mr Urquhart said.

"We've had a few from the North Island who've actually driven their cars across the ferries and down here, where in the past they probably would have flown to Christchurch."

The bumper ski season has also benefited accommodation providers.

Destination Queenstown marketing manager Graham Budd said demand for accommodation in the Queenstown area had risen 15 to 30 percent.

Accommodation in the region was still plentiful, Mr Budd said.

However, Bachcare general manager Leslie Preston said demand for accommodation had outstripped supply during the July school holidays, with a 200 percent increase in bookings over the same period last year . Demand for high-end accommodation increased 10 percent on July last year, while demand for add-on services increased 25 percent, she said.

NZPA 14/08/2009

If you would like to post a classified advert (buy/sell gear etc), please post it on the SMC  'Garage Sale' page of our website.

We now have a link from the Taranaki Daily News online website homepage direct to our Manganui Ski Area snow report/webcam page.
Thanks to


SMC families enjoying a break, at Turoa's Wintergarden area, Monday 24 August

See you on the top tow! Oh and lets all hope for more snow heading into September
SMC Management
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