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Previous Issues:

Issue 39 - 28 August 2009
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 40            FRIDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2009...

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

What an unusual August & September it has been, snow wise in any case. with mild temps and precip, but not cold enough to deliver snow to us, it has been very lean for snow over the past 6 weeks.

Not much has been happening of late at Manganui.
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.
The upper mountain snowline has receded also, to the point where the top tow is currently inoperable.

A trace of snow on Thursday morning

If you are a Naki local then again the focus may be on Ruapehu for your north island skiing experience. Sounds like both mountains are still skiing great, with Spring conditions prevalent lately, though they have been receiving snow this week. Plenty of Naki skiers/boarders have been spotted over at Ruey - you are bound to bump into fellow Naki skiers over there.

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

Funding secured for Warwick Brown building re-roof/re-clad

Taranaki Electricity Trust has granted SMC $20,000 for part of our Warwick Brown building refurbishment (the Warwick Brown houses Ski Area Operations/Accident / Treatment/Maintenance/Storage).
This grant gets us underway, and with more funds sought, it is our intention to get this kicked off as a major working bees activity for this summer.

We are seeking further funding for the foundations/helipad part of this project.

We'll keep you posted on how this develops over the next 2 months.

SMC thanks Taranaki Electricity Trust for their contribution for this important refurbishment/upgrade project.

Peak Safety Outdoor Emergency Care Course - Mt. Ruapehu

Whakapapa Ski Patrol is holding its annual hiring clinic again this year for the 2010 winter season. People keen on seeing what is involved in ski patrolling and interested in applying for jobs for the 2010 season are invited to come along.

The clinic is taking place on the 9th of October with the 10th as a reserve bad weather day. To register just flick an email to

Outdoor First Aid
2 day
Mt Ruapehu 7 & 8 December $215 inc GST    
Outdoor First Aid course for all outdoor people.  It is being run at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre which is a really cool place for courses like this.   Lots of outdoor scenarios etc
Location: Mt Ruapehu

NZ Mtn Film Festival/Arthouse Cinama - post note

Arthouse Cinema director Rose Stoddart has advised that once all costs were tallied up, they will be able to pass on a modest profit to the 3 Taranaki Alpine Clubs.

SMC is grateful for all the hard work gone into making this a successful fundraiser for SMC, and the other clubs.
Thanks to the SMC volunteers who helped out on the 4 nights at New Plymouth and Oakura.

We'll make sure the dosh gets put to good use.

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.


Finlay Neeson, results from the NZ National Development Team

Finlay raced in the New Zealand Nationals Championships held at
Coronet Peak on 4th and 5th September.
On the 7th September they shifted the New Zealand Nationals for Super G to Mt Hutt.
Finlay is a member of the New Zealand National Development Team in Alpine Ski Racing, an ex SMC Junior Ski Squad member.

the race categories:
J1 - 15-16 year old athletes
J2 - 18 and under athletes
J Cup - for overall Junior Champion. 18 and under
Open NZ Men Category. From the age of 15 and upwards.
Overall Mens Placing from the Field. 24 Nations were represented. 91

4th September at Coronet.
Giant Slalom
Finlay awarded J1 National Champion in GS
5th September at Coronet
Finlay awarded J1 National Champion in Slalom.
Finlay awarded J Cup in Slalom. Overall under 18 champion in Slalom.
Finlay awarded 3rd Place in Open NZ Men Category in Slalom.
 (Skied 4/10 second behind one of our  2010 Senior men Olympic hopefuls)
Finlay placed 19th in an International Field  (24 Nations) of 91
Competitors in the Overall Mens.
Super G
Finlay awarded 2nd place in Super G in J1 NZ National Champs.

the National Champion in action

The 19th place issignificant and also the 3rd place in the NZ Mens as Finlay is only 16 and was competitive in an international open mens race.

He  also placed 18th in the Super G in the Winter Games against an international field of World Cup skiers (From 20 to 30 years old)

Finlay Neeson, Super G, Winter Games

Finlay and attends Francis Douglas Memorial College (for term 2 and 3); the rest of the time he is training down South with the New Zealand National Development Team. He studies in between training and racing.

Finlay was unable to train and race last year due to a growing
condition of his knees known as Patello Femoral Syndrome. After some intense physio from Anita Walsh over a period of 6 months he went to Canada in 08/09 and trained for 3 months and rejoined his team.

In February he returned to NZ due to an injury in a race. So, it's
been a tough 18 months. He will be returning with his team to USA Stratton Ski Academy (where Bodie Miller trained) to train from mid December until the end of March 2010.

Finlay competed in the ANC races at Mt Hutt (which he again came second in the GS for J1). He then had a speed training camp with the National and Development Team, and has now returned home to get on to his NCEA level 2.

John Neeson 



no report this issue.


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

  • Top Tow replacement (new rope install)
  • Top Tow maintanance - new return & night pulleys manufacture
  • Metservice WeatherStation maintenance (return of old weatherstation)



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Wet, cold forecast for 2010

Weather expert Ken Ring predicts next year's winter to be a month longer than this year's. 
Take this as a weather warning - from summer through to the end of winter, 2010 is going to be a miserable year.
Ken Ring, a long-term forecaster with unorthodox methods but a surprisingly accurate track record, has predicted next year's weather to be "disappointing", with wet and cooler summer months, followed by a winter that lasts a month longer than this year, with record-breaking cold snaps.
The summer will be rainy, Canterbury could be as low as five degrees by February, and March and April could see the coldest months on record for half a century.
Christchurch can expect its heaviest snowfall since 1945, Wellington will face gale force winds, and thousands of shorn sheep in the Hawke's Bay and Manawatu may die from the cold.
It's also likely next year's ski season will see the last decent powder for five years - although chances are it will run through until January 2011.
Ring's methods of using the moon and tides to forecast well beyond the timelines of MetService or NIWA have raised eyebrows in the scientific community for years, but the Kiwi weather watcher has been largely on the mark in New Zealand and overseas.
In 2008, he predicted the Shotover River in Queenstown would freeze over in July and that we would experience colder than average winter months - both predictions rang true.
Even the Irish are applauding him for accurately predicting the country's mini-heatwave in June and the wettest July on record, completely contradicting the UK Met Office which said it would be a "barbecue summer".
His weather predictions are laid out in the latest Ken Ring's Predict Weather Almanac 2010, to be released this Friday.
Ring's working principle is that weather recycles just as tides do, and predicting the tides means he can logically forecast, based on the moon's "gravitational forces" going through the air to get to the ocean.
His methods derive from studying the fishing calendar on the East Coast, where local Maori would use the tides and moon cycles to predict the weather. "It sounds complicated but it's really just about the moon and the tides," said Ring.
"Based on feedback I'd say my predictions are about 85 per cent accurate, and that's feedback from my peers - farmers, fishermen and trampers - people that know the outdoors and how these cycles work."

Despite a huge following, Weather Watch analyst Phil Duncan is sceptical about Ring's theories, saying it is too difficult to predict weather more than a month out.
He admits there is a science behind Ring's methods, and agrees that summer could be cooler than average.
"We're seeing the makings of an El Nino on the way, which is not confirmed yet, and it could mean Auckland could be cooler and places like Waikato and Wellington will have stronger westerlies," he said.
"I'm a big believer in short-term forecasting, but I wouldn't do anything more than a month out. I don't think anyone can predict what can happen in a year's time."

MetService weather ambassador Bob McDavitt said he would not comment on anyone else's theories, but could say MetService - which conducts its seasonal outlook with the help of Niwa - has recorded sea surface temperatures that predict El Nino weather patterns. "These temperatures can change from month to month, so I couldn't comment on anything more than that," he said.

 Sunday Aug 30, 2009 By Rebecca Lewis











































































Feature Article

South Island 2009

Back at Christmas time, an ex Taranaki mate Paul living down in Queenstown put a great idea into my head – come down south for his wife’s 40th, but leave 5 days earlier than my wife for a boys’ trip from Christchurch to Queenstown, visiting the club fields on the way. Great I’m in!

Day 1 Fri 21st Aug
My bags are packed and I get a phone call 5 hours before my flight. Paul had slipped at work on Monday tweaking his back and physio over the last few days had not fixed the pain.  He was not picking me up at Christchurch airport. Bugger.
Lucky for me I convinced my Dutch mate Eric to join us 3 weeks earlier so it was a matter of booking a rental car at late notice and just getting on the damn plane.
I connected with Erik at Wellington airport and flew to Christchurch, picked up the rental car and made it to Smylies accommodation in Springfield by 11pm. Trip underway, despite the hurdles.

Day 2 Sat 22nd Aug

We woke to a clear frosty morning, early up and on our way through the Southern Alps to Temple Basin, which is just past Arthur’s Pass. There’s a goods lift by the main road then a 500m drive back to the car-park and track. This track puts our Stratford Mountain track to shame, the grand daddy of all tracks and you are well and truly warm when you get to the rope tows. The field hadn’t had any new snow for a week, so we waited a while for the morning sun to soften the sun-facing slopes.
One of the first Naki people we bumped into was Mitch Davies from Oakura, who was visiting his brother Morgan (studying at Christchurch and VP of the Canterbury University ski club - loves his cask wine I hear) and both were staying for a week. As for staying, many asked how long we were there for and when we told them it was just a day trip they thought we were crazy.

We got to move around the different lifted areas with short 10 minute hikes horizontal and vertical linking upper bowled slopes with the bottom lifts while taking in continuous breathtaking views in all directions. This is the place you go for an adventure and a work out.

A beer to finish riding our first mountain, then a quick hiking decent back to the car and a one hour drive back to Springfield.  To our bonus, we find out that our accommodation has a Japanese bath, the Japanese ski team was staying and a traditional Japanese dinner to cap it off. The connection – Smylies owner, Colin, has a Japanese wife.
Great watching the All Blacks beat the Ozzies at the Springfield Pub.

Day 3 Sun 23rd Aug
Overcast, windy North West conditions greet us for the drive to Broken River. The new vertical funicular people-mover was running taking us from the car-park to the base lodges in no time.
It was great that the club fields gave us concession priced tickets for SMC being an affiliated member.
Loads of steps past all the accommodation huts (on a ridge with tress camouflaging them) lead us up to the access tow (Rugby tow), which runs up the right hand side of the large bowl. Now, this rope tow has the potential to damage people - it runs fast and has a bend that pushes goofy-footers towards the pullies. Watch out!
Lucky for us there was about 7cm of new powder from the night before, enough to make it fun. It didn’t take long to cut up the fresh slope and cover all aspects of the basin.
Lunch at Palmer Day Lodge gave us time to chat to the local members about the clubs history. Most of the guys staying with us in Springfield were also up here enjoying it.

The top Ridge Tow opened after lunch letting us experience some of the steeper black runs down the Flutes.

Day 4 Monday 24th Aug
It was time to move on from Springfield heading south for the one hour trip to Mt Hutt. Another blue bird day, the runs were groomed flat and we rode fast all day.

Some of the field was closed for international racing and when the competitors did some free skiing they were rocketing down - made our speeding seem like a slow run.
We did the big traverse to the black runs beside the chutes and enjoyed the steepness and soft snow getting blown down after every turn.
Later in the afternoon they opened the ridge road that gave panoramic views towards Christchurch and a black run that was steep, with fast and sun rays directly in your face.
I spotted an old yellow Del Free & Easy sticker on a straight pair of Dynastar skis that belonged to a guy from Toko. He had tried carving skis but didn’t think they were as good as the Dynastars.  Yes, a real retro man and, yes, he had a moustache.
We knew the storm was close to this ski area so we headed south and arrived at Lake Tekapo right on dusk.  We arrived to the last rays of light on the old church by the lake side - amazing views and very calm.

Day 5 Tuesday 25th Aug
The front had hit with gale winds and rain on the mountains. Dobson was closed, but Ohau reported sunny and light winds. Yes, it may have been like that at 7am, but when we arrived at the turn-off and looked up at the ski field, it looked grey and wet. 20 minutes later at the ticket office we decide to get only a morning pass because it was wet, wet, wet. The snow was sticky off the runs and slow on, so not much of a selection. But it looked like good terrain... if only the weather gods had given us a better day.

Nothing like standing in front of the fire in the day lodge with huge amounts of steam rising from your body. There were a few inside also wondering why skiing in the rain is a fun thing to do. To me, it still beats being at work.
A few hours down the road we hit Wanaka, still raining. Lucky for us we find the only backpackers with a spa pool. Curry in a hurry takeaways and drinking cold beers in the rain, kicking back in the spa – priceless.

Day 6 Wednesday 26th Aug
Windy, clear powder day - the day a few things did not going our way. First, we slept in a little and arrived at Treble Cone’s car park at 9:45am. The 6-seater was running, but very crowded because the 4-seater is on hold (gale winds in the Saddle Basin) By the time we get to do our first run, most to the main face is already well cut up.
5 mins up, 5 mins down, then 10 mins in the queue – not priceless.
Heading up the 6 just before lunch we see everyone heading over to the Saddle Basin, so we high-tail it over there too - fang it to the lift. The lift was slow as the wind was very strong at the top, so it gave us plenty of time to watch others doing fast powder turns down the main bowls. Just before we get to the top, they close the Saddle Basin and we are forced to take the road back. Bugger. At least we got a short, untouched powder run before dropping back into the Home Basin.

3 hours later the Saddle was open again, but this time it had a slight wind blown crust on it. We raced in 2 runs before again being told last run just as we get to the top of the lift. Not our day for scoring extra powder runs.
We were sombre on the road back to Queenstown. The boys’ trip was over, the wives were waiting. 5 fields in 5 days - not bad at all. But were have 5 more days in the Queenstown area to look forward to, staying with friends and gearing up for Rachael’s 40th party on Saturday.

Day 7 Thursday 27th Aug
The 7am text report for Coronet Peak was grim - cold, snowing and little visibility but clearing later in the day. 10 seconds later I was fast asleep with my first real lie-in for a week.

It was raining when Keryn & I went to Arrowtown for brunch at the famous bakery café (lamb and mint pies are the best) and then went for a nice stroll around the assorted souvenir and arty shops.
During the drive up to Coronet, we could see the clouds clearing so we were keen to get going at 12:15pm when the tickets became available.
A few runs later on the Green Gates chair and we caught up with Erik and his family. The kids were stoked to be skiing for their first time in the South Island and loving the soft powder runs.
The sun came out fully with 5mins before the lifts closed - typical.

Day 8 Friday 28th Aug
The 7am text report for Coronet Peak was worse than yesterday, warm, raining and OK visibility. It was a repeat with brunch at Arrowtown then up to Coronet for some sliding in the rain.
The Winter Games women’s giant slalom were racing down the course. The world’s best going hard out with Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon wining Gold,  Poland 2nd and Sweden 3rd. Pity about the conditions.

Day 9 Saturday 29th Aug
The day for Rachael’s 40th was sunny with light winds, and she was getting us up early to hit the road for Cardrona. We needed chains for the last 2km on the mountain road.
A primo day for the Winter Games woman & men’s free skiing halfpipe finals.

It was fantastic to finish the trip with such an awesome day.  Cold and windy on the chairs, but the snow conditions were excellent.  Fast, wide runs with plenty of room to go hard out – even with the crowds.
Apres ski and Rach’s 40th party at the Cardrona Hotel topped off an epic trip.  Cold beer, mulled wine, fine food and great company!

Rhys Williams, Vice President SMC

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


lets all hope for that big September/October dump.
SMC Management
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