Welcome to the latest edition of the SMC/Manganui e-newsletter, and the 1st for 2010.
February is here and although it's not quite time to start thinking of the snow just yet, the SMC committee is busy organising and gearing up for the upcoming ski season. It's usually about March/April when people start hanging out for a shred or ski, when it gets colder...
The uncertainty of snow and when it will come does affect the ski industry. Early season starts are beneficial - and we experienced that here at Manganui last season, getting the jump on the rest of NZ and kicking off the ski season, on May 12th no less! This really got the industry buzzing for 2009. In these recession times, it seemed that peoples lifestyle and leisure pursuits became more important to them than ever...
Further down you'll find our new initiative on working bee qualifiers for discounted SMC members' season pass rates - or put more simply, working bees are now required to be completed in order for SMC members to purchase season passes at the discounted rate. Our reasoning here was that we have struggled in the past for attendance at the working bees; also we have plenty of projects that could be completed with volunteer labour. Our new policy still gives members the choice of not to attend - it will just cost more to acquire that season pass should not complete working bees.
In the snippets of interest section, are some comments from weather analyst Phil Duncan of Weatherwatch.
Climate change is a big issue these days. It is not only a lack of snow or excessively warm temperatures that cause problems, but also a phenomenon that is often neglected: rainfall. At Manganui we are well aware of the affect rainfall has on our snowpack - being the 2nd wettest place in NZ tells you that we do get substantial rainfall events all year round. Part and parcel of being on the West Coast of NZ. So how can we clean up our act? According to figures the highest CO2 emissions (nearly 88%) were attributed to transport. Only 9% was due to lodging. So filling up the car seats and taking it easy getting to the mountain is a start. Staying at the Manganui Lodge overnight also cuts your emissions!
Our feature article is on some different snow sports you may or may not see around the traps.
4 Mustang Dve Bell Block New Plymouth phone and fax (06)755 0005
UK blanketed in snow, Early Jan 2010
GOINGS ON’ Around the Manganui Ski Area
Warwick Brown building re-roof/re-clad project update
We have received a total of $40,000 from TSB Community Trust and Taranaki Electricity Trust.
We are still to hear back from NZCT regarding funding.
Giiven budget restraints, we have re-scoped the job to remove the emergency landing earthworks and storage work.
At present we are confirming pricing on both roof and cladding.
SMC thanks TSB Community Trust and Taranaki Electricity Trust for their contribution for this important refurbishment/upgrade project.
SMC Annual General meeting - highlights
the SMC 2009 Annual General Meeting was held on Monday 7th December. An enjoyable AGM well chaired by Kev Rowlands president.
a minutes' silence for those members who in 2009 moved on to higher mountains (as Kev nicely put it).
financial accounts tabled. Generally in good health, though we made a small loss last year, with fixed costs increasing substantially. Some major purchases include new double mattresses in lodge, new maintenance mobile scaffolding, new radios, new operators avalanche transceivers, new top tow rope.
committee nominations accepted for positions up for re-newal (2 year rotation). 2 new committee members for 2010 are Gerald Hood Treasurer, and Mike Reeve Social Convenor. Standing down are Chris Burr and Clive Saleman. Racing and Training position is vacant.
update on working bees maintenance campaign (Warwick Brown re-roof/re-clad, T-bar towers corrosion maintenance etc).
the passing of resolution for member subscriptions 10% general adjustment, and season passes increase (see below for more).
the passing of resolution for working bee qualifiers to gain club season pass at the 'discounted' rate (see below for more).
in general business, a robust discussion on top tow expansion (portable lift or other) to the north of The Policeman rocks; and location of a lift into no.3 valley. Lots of general good humoured banter. Peter Quinn commented he would like to see it done sometime soon, as he is not getting any younger!
awards - Dave Thatcher Shield to the Jenni & Brooke Fletcher Family, Joyce Beal Award to Justin Keenan.
2010 SMC Membership Rates
There is a one-off entry fee to be paid on joining SMC, in addition to the annual subs. Seasons passes are optional but represent outstanding value for money, especially if purchased at the ‘discounted’ rate. All season passes are now due by 31 May 2010.
Note for 2010:
annual subs increase by 10% (the last adjustment was 2005).
season passes increase
discounted and full price season passes are now due by 31 May
a working bee qualifier is now applied to 'discounted' season passes. Working bees are required to be completed by 31 May to qualify for the 'discounted' season pass rate, otherwise full price season pass rate applies.
1 member working bee still qualifies for 1 free nights accommodation at SMC Lodge, or 1 free days skiing, whichever you chose.
all other rates (joining fees, day lift passes) remain the same as 2009.
ANNUAL SUBS 2010
DISCOUNTED SEASON PASS before 31 May *working bee qualifer*
FULL PRICE SEASON PASS before 31 May, no working bees attended
$100 *qualifier = 2 full working bees
$95 *qualifier = 2 full working bees
$60 *qualifier = 1 full working bee
$50 *qualifier = 1 full working bee
So as you can see from above, working bees are now required to be completed in order to qualify for discounted season passes.
the SMC committee is busy finalising job lists and a full working bee schedule based on those jobs. We will publish this prior to our working bee period, commencing in early March.
We also intend emailing out each Friday 1 page emails detailing the working bee scheduled for the upcoming Sunday; what the jobs are, what is involved, who to contact if you are keen.
We are also keen to pole our members on whether they would be keen to do the working bees, what skills they currently have or what they would prefer doing on the hill.
Remember that for the working bee qualifiers, you still receive a working bee ticket, each ticket being valid for 1 nights accommodation at the Manganui Lodge.
Working bees are 6hrs duration, and commence at 10am on the mountain, giving attendees time to get up to the area.
You can find our working bee schedule on the website working bees page; we will also display it in this section in upcoming e-newsletter issues.
SMC PRESIDENT’S REPORT
No report for this issue - watch this space next issue...
WHAT THE SMC COMMITTEE IS UP TO
The SMC committee has a number of projects on the go. These include…
Warwick Brown building re-roof/re-clad project - final costings and scope.
Top Tow maintenance - on going
Getting organised for working bees
SNIPPETS OF INTEREST/ADVERTORIALS
How was last season in NZ?
Figures reveal last winter's ski season was the best ever - thanks in part to snowball affect of Australians spending their recession-beating handout.
Figures released in November by the Ski Areas Association of New Zealand reveal 1.5 million sets of skis and boards were recorded on our slopes, the highest annual figure. Executive director Miles Davidson said separate government and industry campaigns in Australia had helped promote New Zealand's 15 commercial ski areas and 11 club fields.
A colder start to winter brought early snow and drew the public to the mountains. The warm August brought fears of an early melt - dispelled by a bitter September and October which kept the season going.
Ruapehu Aline Lifts marketing manager Mike Smith said the central North Island fields had recorded massive visitor numbers, with Turoa more popular after arson devastated some facilities at the Whakapapa field.
Source: Stuff.co.nz Sunday Nov 8, 2009
Global Warming - by Weather analyst Philip Duncan Thursday November 12, 2009 NZ Herald
I see in an article in the Herald that the weather is predicted to become more extreme in the future. I'd have to say looking back over 2009 I think we're starting to see more weather extremes already.
New Zealand had its warmest August on record in 2009, followed by the coldest October in 25 years. We saw huge snow falls that shut the Napier-Taupo highway stranding hundreds of motorists - something that rarely happens even in North America.
West Auckland reached it's highest ever temperature back in summer and snow fell in Napier this winter, with snow to very low levels around Rotorua, Palmerston North, Masterton, even Wellington.
In October a cold snap resulted in Auckland failing to make double digits - very rare for October.
In Australia November temperatures are challenging the record books.
It's very clear that we're seeing all sorts of extremes. Humans aren't the best at remembering things... we tend to fondly remember warm, sunny, childhood days and cold, or wet, winters tend to fade with memory. The human brain is wired to forget things we don't care for. But, in seeing the weather this year, it does look as though the weather is becoming more extreme.
Certainly plenty to talk about that's for sure.
By the way - global warming means just that. The globe is getting warmer on average. Being two small islands in the South Pacific means that we will still see big snow storms and cold snaps and have the coldest months on record etc. I often see "Global warming? Yeah right" in our comments section at WeatherWatch.co.nz when we run news stories on major cold snaps. Remember this is a worldwide issue that affects the most vulnerable first - and we aren't the most vulnerable.
In saying that, without the environment New Zealand has no economy. We rely 100 per cent on being clean and green and temperate and unpolluted. We should support any law changes that reduce pollution, that reduce using unsustainable resources and that help make our air and water ways cleaner.
If you look at the planet as a human body I think the old adage "everything in moderation" probably works well. while I'm not expecting the world to self destruct in the next 100 years I am keen to see it clean up its act. .
Source: Phil Duncan Weather Watch
Alternative Snowsports... NO-BOARDING; JUNKBOARDING
That's right, I said Noboarding. That's not a typo, but rather a new take on the relatively young sport of snowboarding; the "new" sport involves riding a full-sized snowboard without bindings...think snowskate on steroids. Based in Canada, NoBoard Sport, Inc. has been around for four years, but it wasn't until the company partnered with industry leader Burton Snowboards for the upcoming 2008/2009 season that they began to attract serious attention. According to the company's website, noboarding was developed after a day when "the snow was so deep we couldn't even find our binding straps, so [we] decided to get rid of them. That was 1998 and we haven't used bindings since."
After several years of building prototypes in a garage, the company decided to partner with Burton Snowboards. Burton offers two NoBoardTM products:
the No Fish, which is based off the popular Fish powder board
the NoBoard kit, which acts as an adapter to turn any snowboard into a Noboard.
Check out NoBoard Sport, Inc. online to see if this new take on an existing sport is for you!
Noboarding was conceived and developed by Canadian legend Greg Todds. For many of you, this will be your first look at a new way to shred (soft snow I would suggest). However, the Noboard posse hasn't strapped in since 2001. Noboarding feels completely different than what you're used to. The absence of bindings gives you a greater sense of of foot control and a feeling of freedom similar to surfing or skateboarding. Working with JG at Burton, we created the new NoFish in Greg's memory, to give riders the ultimate Noboard experience. The flex, shape and contours - everything about this board is completly unique and designed to let you slash and tweak in ways you never thought possible. You can even get just the pad and convert your old board into a Noboard.
Now here is a sport with relevance to our own t-bar slopes when they don' t have quite enough coverage to fully operate...we may trial this!
The Junkboard Manifesto By Justin Woods
Meet Justin Woods, pioneer of junkboarding. Junkboarders don’t fret about things like lifts, parabolic skis, or snow. They care about skiing. Justin and his friends cut old snowboards lengthwise, attach bindings, then hunt for whatever snow they can find. Sure, they love a powder day as much as the next guy, but while the next guy is waiting for ideal conditions, they’re skiing.
Junkboards are not just simple tools, though it's true they are a means to an end. Junkboarding is a way of life, a philosophy, and a coping mechanism for Eastern snow (or lack thereof). (Could be a coping mechanism for Taranaki snow?)
While many of our ski brothers and sisters are moping around their houses in November, still doing silly things like mountain-biking and “pre-season training,” Eastern Junkboarders are already out on the flanks of the grassiest of the Appalachian slopes. (Don’t bother to ask us where the best grass is – we won’t give up our secret one-inch stashes.) When the season “opens” with first turns on the death ribbon at Sugarbush or Killington, us Junkboarders have already been earning our dirty turns for weeks.
The Junkboarder philosophy goes hand-in-hand with Yankee ingenuity and self-sufficiency. We make our own boards. We use tablesaws and bandsaws to rip asunder two halves of a snowboard (preferably a free one, found at the junkyard). We flip the halves so that the inside edge is the “ski” or turning edge. Some of us even shape and tune the outside edge, though many of us consider our boards disposable and dispense with the formality of outside edges. Grass, over time, will smooth them out. Last but not least, we T-nut our three-pins or sometimes gnarlier bindings to the board, and voila: Junkboards. (Note - telemark bindings - who says you can't do this with alpine bindings?)
Nothing floats on a dusting to three inches of snow like a Junkboard. They’re light, flexible and easy for touring, though most of the time, Junkboarders are booting up the toll-roads of our favorite hills. Junkboards eat grass. They hover. They make one inch feel like ten. And when you break one in half trying to skip across the backside of the inevitably open waterbar, you look for your next pair to mount.
Junkboarders believe that the best training for skiing is skiing, and that’s what we do: we JFS (Just Frickin’ Ski) that stuff. We don’t hit the gym for some fancy-shmancy “ski-machine” or worry about “dry-land training,” and we’re never deterred by a dusting of snow. When the inevitable January Thaw hits – the slopes revealing their brown, ugly faces – we do not despair; no, sir. We hit the gear closet and break out the Junkboards.
Thanks to Junkboards, our seasons are extended by at least a month. We hike to snowline, and we ski. There is no seasonal affective disorder for the Junkboarder; there is only the sweet anticipation of an inch of snow on grass. There is no wallowing in self-pity or second-guessing for the true J-board enthusiast; there is only the self-assured knowledge that determination, two halves of the otherwise worthless snowboard, and an inch of snow can bring. JFS!
The concept of cutting up an old snowboard to use as rock hoppers (or in Manganui's case tussock hoppers) appeals. Just not sure how conventional ski bindings would work.
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.
PHOTO OF THE ISSUE
The Mario & Anja Padrutt family - a family occasion for the last day of the 2009 season, Sunday October 11