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Previous Issues:

Issue 71- 11 Nov 2014

Issue 70 - 21 Aug 2014

Issue 69 - 28 Jun 2014

Issue 68 - 15 Mar 2014

Issue 67 - 22 Sep 2013

Issue 66 - 12 July 2013

Issue 65 - 16 May 2013

Issue 64 - 20 March 2013

ISSUE 72 FRIDAY 11 APRIL 2015....

Welcome to Issue of 72 Manganui Notes, the e-newsletter of Manganui Ski Area and Stratford Mountain Club, and the first for 2015...

so as we head into darker nights, the thoughts shift to winter pursuits (or all-year-round round pursuits, but in warmer clothes)
...the gear that needs updating, the kids that need newer bigger gear, the adults that want to update their current quiver...and thoughts of those winter holidays at Ruapehu, the South Island, or if we/you are lucky, at your local (we have been lucky to operate in the July holidays the last 2 seasons)...

In this issue...

Major Sponsor
of the SMC enewsletter

Contact Us:
06-759 4609
New Plymouth

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

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

SMC acknowledges support given by NZ Community Trust, towards our new Quad bike.

GOINGS ON’ Around the Manganui Ski AreaNew Quad bike ordered

2014 AGM Review

Annual Report /Financial Statements
Points in brief that Michelle Ellis raised:
• Term Deposit Investments for SMC has increased from $10,644 to $35,000
• $10,000 grants received in advance is recorded
• Canteen sales are down on 2013,although hard to pinpoint without an accurate POS system.
• Season pass sales remained on par with 2013
• November’s 3 days of operations resulted in $3,500 roughly that will be included in the 2015 financial report
• 2014 had 187 paid up subscriptions (Families, Students, Individuals)

Presidents Report
• Thanks to the 2014
Committee, we are now a well oiled committee, with the inclusion of a few swiss components.
• Thanks to the paid staff, Brooke, Caleb and Hope. Many
thanks to Brooke, dropping his work at a minutes notice to ensure that we can run the ski area.
• Due to favourable snow conditions in 2014, the club managed to operate through the July school holidays, this resulted in some profitable weekdays for the club.
• This year we managed to hold the Taranaki Secondary and Primary School’s skiing and snowboarding championships.
The winner of each age group now receive a trophy for their placing, these trophies are held by the schools.
• With a few days in August and September keeping the club members happy, we then came across a new club first, Snowvember. November provided the punters with some amazing conditions on the T-­bar and top tow.
• The club received a $10,000 grant from NZCT for a new/safer quad bike to be used during the summer working bee season.
• Thanks must go to the Frasers, they gifted the club a replacement oven for the canteen midseason, as the previous one died.
• A huge thanks must go to Todd Velvin -­ who continues to
provide Level 2 Avalanche assessments for the club.

Election of Committee Members:
Vice President (Currently Jack Cran) Jack Cran
Secretary (Currently Morgan Davies) Morgan Davies
Safety Services (Currently Jenni Fletcher) Jenni Fletcher
Social Convenor (Currently Murray Symons) Murray Symons
Machinery (Currently
Christian Padrutt) Christian Padrutt
Lower Lifts (Currently Mario Padrutt) Mario Padrutt
Lodge Convenor (Currently Rob Needs)

Life Membership: Brian Velvin
Club President from 1986-­‐88
• Provided years of Electrical trade work
• A huge help with the recent T‐bar project.
• Larger motivator behind the T‐Bar drive motor in 1985 and Top Tow replacement in 1992.

thanks to Brian and his effort he has put into SMC over the years!!

SMC President Rhys Williams congratulates Brian Velvin

Life Memberships: Iain & Merlene Wilson
• Merlene spent tireless years as the Lodge Custodian and in the Canteen
• Iain and Merlene always provide hours of assistance yearly in the running gear preparations for the T-Bar
• Iain and Merlene have been providing assistance to SMC for 29 years.
• Iain and Merlene spent a huge amount of time on the implementation of the Top Tow, an asset that all the Club enjoy.
• Lastly the recent T‐bar project couldn’t have been done without Iain and Merlene’s assistance.

Iain & Merlene with Rhys

The Wilsons have been an integral part= of theSMC operations over the last 30 years.
SMC thank the couple for their energy and effort put into the club.

David Thatcher Trophy: Christian & Mario Padrutt

Background: Early president who managed to get the field electrified and also built the first odge on the field.
The award was envisioned that it would go to an outstanding club member who had contributed to the club in a manner not necessary sporting..

Mario and Christian; Rhys holds their David Thatcher trophy

The brothers Christian and Mario Padrutt have been fundamental in the maintenance and smooth operation of the lower lifts and machinery for a number of years. Christian must be the leader of the most working bees ever. He is regularly logging 10 plus days pre season, with his maintenance and t-bar mowing program.
With the gradual upgrade of our plant and machinery, hopefully his job has become easier.
Swiss nationals they are; they are always at home in the thinner air of the mountains, and their local Mt. Taranaki in particular.
Long term items to replace to ease the maintenance would be the learners lift (with a low maintenace replacement) and of course the groomer.

for a full copy of the 2014 AGM minutes, please refer to our website SMC Members info/AGM minutes page

New Quad bike delivered

Our new QUAD bike was delivered to the ski field on Jan 19.
Thanks to Mario and Christian for their efforts. Our old bike is now off the mountain and has been sold to a local farmer.

loaded up at the bottom of the fox

The bike came with 2 helmets (complements of Taranaki Motor Cycles Stratford) which we encourage users to wear.

heading over to its new home on the ski area

As we are bound by OSH to provide a safe work area, even for volunteer workers, your safety in operating SMC plant and machinery is important to SMC.

getting lowered at the lodge end

The new bike is more powerful and tricky initially to operate. We encourage users to be briefed and trained by Mario or Christian before use (in fact we will kick off a user register to keep a record of competant users and those who have been trained, as well we will display "authorised riders only" stickers on both the Quad and Ski-doo).

Thanks again to NZCT.

Subs are being issued this month

Stellar work from Treasurer Michelle Ellis has seen the membership database improved to the point where she can much easier send out those annual subs to SMC members.
Expect to see them in the mail in April.

Damage to track and repairs

Doc have advised that the access track has been damaged after large rainfall. Jack Cran has sourced a 12 tonne digger to help fix the track.


The autumn working bees are very important to the strength of the club, not only in getting the necessary maintenance work done by members, but also to build club spirit.
We will to publish every Thursday an email to members outlining the upcoming weekends' working bee activities and who to contact should you be willing. Your volunteer labour will be much appreciated!

2014 working bee: top tow shed weather sealing

Remember, a working bee qualifier is now applied to 'discounted' member 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.

2014 working bee: An-other and Dennis Cran on the access tow drive, in the cloud

If you are keen in assisting in one of the scheduled working bees, please contact the weekend organisers as listed below. The working bee day is scheduled for Sundays, depending on availablilty/weather.

2015 Working Bee Schedule

    Date (Sunday)


    Contact numbers Working Bee tasks

    April 12

    Mario Padrutt
    Christian Padrutt

    m 027 2700115
    m 027 6926366

    T-bar mowing
    Machinery maintenance
    Repaint Warwick Brown Basement
    Lodge Staining

    April 19

    Dean Raven
    Kent Needham

    m 022 6819469
    m 027 5368774

    Top Tow maintenance
    T-bar catcher
    Repaint Warwick Brown Basement
    Lodge Staining
    T-bar mowing

    April 26

    Justin Keenan
    Jack Cran

    m 027 248 4085
    m 027 4318137

      Webcams setup and test,
      Operations room computers test/set-up
      T-bar mowing
      Repaint Warwick Brown Basement
      Lodge Staining
      T-bar mowing

    May 03

    Nick Farquhar
    Rob Needs
    Michelle Ellis

    m 021 2736938
    m 027 2702932
    m 021 646110

      T-bar mowing
      Spring clean lodge
      T-Bar Chute
    May 10

    Murray Symons
    Jenni Fletcher

    m 027 2232207
    m 027 4449475

      Removal of any dangerous rails
      Ski Patrol prep/maintenance
      Tidy up Patrol Room
    May 17

    Mario Padrutt Christian Padrutt

    m 027 2700115
    m 027 6926366

      General lower field clean up
      T-bar spring boxes out

    May 24

    Murray Symons
    Dean Raven

    m 027 2232207
    m 022 6819469

      Top Tow Safety Fence maintenance
      Top Tow Safety Cable

    May 31

    Morgan Davies

    m 027 3466155

    Learners Tow out
    Canteen Preparation
    general lower field clean up

    June 07




    Participation in scheduled working bees gets you ability to purchase a discounted season pass, as well as a working bee ticket. This ticket be exchanged for a lift pass, or accommodation at the Manganui Lodge, should you already hold an SMC season pass [working bee ticket is valid till the opening day of the following season].

    next funding and major project: the tbar drive refurbishment...

    ...and the refurbishment/replacement of the flying fox tower


    Welcome back SMC club members.

    Wow, what a summer we have had, great time for outdoor BBQ's and loads of beach time. The weather has turned for you and lets hope the start to a good winter season soon. For me working overseas at the moment in hot desert conditions with the only snow a 3 drive away at Dubai's mall indoor snow park (I think it is 400m long). When I get desperate I might give it a go.

    The SMC working bee schedule is posted above. We have a few small projects this year, with next year second stage refurbishment to the fox and bottom bull wheel to be done.

    I would like to thank David from TimberCo for supporting SMC with timber to be used on the t-bar catcher replacement project.

    Hopefully you could add your name, and help contribute towards the maintenance of club facilities and take advantage of the discounted season pass. We do understand this doesn't suit all our members, so to those who can't make working bees we appreciate payment of your subs to ensure the financial stability of SMC.

    Our newly funded quad bike (in Taranaki colours) is now up on the field ready to be used for our working bee's. Thank you NZCT.

    The committee's goal is to run an efficient and financially sound club so members and the public can enjoy the best our little ski-field has to offer. You can help any time by supporting the staff and /or volunteering when the field is open - just make contact with the ski field staff on the day. It all helps!

    Enjoy our mountain safely.

    Rhys Williams
    President SMC


    The SMC committee is working on:

    • Lodge entry/security system review
    • POS system investigation for next season
    • 3-year major funding - tbar drive station and goods lifts towers renewal
    • website/enewsletter revamp underway
    • top tow maintenance - new night pulleys/ re wire of safety system/further weatherproof of top tow shed
    • lower lifts maintenance - wire rope NDT
    • mowing - 1 more day required (3 done so far)
    • tbar supports - grouting
    • subs issue
    • primo wireless test for internet upgrade

    All Committee meeting minutes are posted on our website; check out our SMC Members Info/Club Documents page to see what we are up to...


    Mr Outdoors loses battle for survival
    February 7 2015 - Taranaki Daily News

    Rob Needs is closing his store Kiwi Outdoors, which has been open since the 1930s.

    Rob Needs' shop is filled with tents, billies, pocket knives and merino outerwear, but the most valuable inventory is inside his head.
    Trouble is, he can't sell it.
    Needs is part-owner of Kiwi Outdoors, a New Plymouth institution that would turn 80 next year if it weren't shutting its doors forever.
    Located in the centre of town, he's the local go-to for any information related to the mountain, whether it's the Taranaki Daily News calling for a snow report or visitors directed to him by DOC for advice on huts and trails in the national park.
    He jokes if he put "Outdoors Consultant" at the end of his name he'd make a killing.
    Needs loves the Taranaki outdoors.
    "I've lived vicariously through other people's hikes for the last 17 1/2 years."
    He's up at 7am driving people to the North Egmont Visitors' Centre with his shuttle service and often works 11-hour days, frequently spending half an hour with a customer only to have them thank him and head home to buy the item online.
    Despite this, he wishes he could keep doing it, but he needs to provide for his family and at the moment he's barely scraping by.
    Needs is the sort of guy who won't struggle to find work, but you can understand his anxiety.
    His is the same story you hear all too often these days: the local owner-operator retailer struggling to compete with big firms, soaring rent prices in the CBD and the rise of buying online, resulting in a steady decline in business.
    "If I had to put any one reason it's probably corporate outdoors stores. [In New Plymouth] we're up against three biggies."
    But those big corporates don't deal in local knowledge - it doesn't serve their purpose and that's why Needs still gets foot traffic.
    "We give away a lot of information because we're experts," Needs explains.
    He says local and central government information providers often refer people to him and he can't charge for it.
    "Where will I buy hut tickets?" was the first question from a friend on hearing of the store's imminent closing.
    Another person asked who would mend his tent poles and another where he'd hire ski gear.
    Such dinky, unprofitable ventures demonstrate how Needs' business has morphed to fill the niches left open by retail giants that have dominated camping equipment with cheap stock, pushing the little guys out.
    They're services valued by the community but they don't fill Needs' pockets.
    DOC partnership manager Darryn Ratana says Needs' face-to-face interaction with visitors and knack for sending them off with a smile on their face has been a boon for the department, whose office is tucked away in Rimu St, not handy to the CBD.
    "Losing that type of knowledge and ability to interact with visitors is a huge loss," Ratana says.
    He says DOC could not regulate who went to the summit or what they did there, so having guides like Needs with cultural sensitivity who could educate people on how to conduct themselves in the national park was vital.
    Needs' business partner, Allen Pool's grandfather, started the business as an army clothing store in 1936 and Pool began working there at age 16.
    The business evolved in the 1970s from army gear to tramping equipment, all New Zealand-made, Pool recalls.
    "Those were the fantastic days of retailing."
    People used to travel from Wellington to visit the store, which had a reputation as the best outdoors outlet in New Zealand, he says.
    But he says the death of the store now is no fault of Needs', who has worked harder than they ever did, for less.
    "He's done everything he could do possible to keep it going.
    Needs doesn't like to think how many times he's been a showroom for the internet.
    "You kind of hope people are genuine."
    He'll spend 20 minutes talking to them and they say they'll be back that afternoon, then return with their iPad and ask him to match a price online.
    "Sometimes I do it because any sale is better than no sale."
    He wonders if the store's closing will make people reflect on the social cost of not spending locally.
    Without him in town offering expert advice and safe gear to climbers, will accidents on the mountain increase? Who will provide merchandise for local school prizegiving ceremonies, or charity giveaways?
    Only the future can tell.

    Rob's Mountain Shuttle; a unique service to Mt. Taranaki and to Ruapehu in the winter


    In the immediate future he needs a new job but he's also got plans to monetise that precious outdoors knowledge with a mountain-guiding company.
    He's been discussing it with DOC and Venture Taranaki and hopes to have Top Guides up and running next summer season.
    With oil and gas and dairying taking a downturn, Taranaki needed to diversify its economy by using its unique assets, Needs says.
    "Nobody can steal Mt Taranaki. Nobody can steal our coastline.
    "We need to focus on a visitor industry people can't take away from us."
    One way he aims to achieve this is by establishing the Pouakai Crossing as a recognised visitor attraction for the region, a project that had its first Venture Taranaki team meeting on Thursday.
    New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young is right behind the idea.

    If billed as the sister walk to the Tongariro Crossing, which attracts 80,000 visitors annually, three-quarters from overseas, the Pouakai Crossing could attract thousands, Young says.

    To this end, he says Needs' local knowledge is critical.

    "What we will need is private sector operators like Rob who are experts in their field, who also understand the challenges and ensure it's a world-class experience."

    Young says Needs' cultural awareness is important to respect the taonga of the province's iwi. "Taranaki has a very interest story to tell."
    Antony Rhodes, of Venture Taranaki, says Needs' retail knowledge will be a loss, but his expertise in a guiding role will help to maximise Taranaki's assets.
    "People coming into the region who don't know the mountain, the trails, the culture, the legend, that local knowledge is vital in giving a good visitor experience."
    Needs' lasting wish is testament to his devotion to ensuring people's enjoyment of the outdoors.
    "If the legacy of Kiwi Outdoors is that Pouakai Crossing becomes a visitor attraction and the economic impact is the community has a more vibrant visitor industry, I'll be happy," he says.


    With our spending habits changing rapidly over the last 5 years, with the percentage of online purchases ever on the increase, traditional retailing has got tough. All we can do is discretionally support those local businesses who rely on our survival.
    It is funny how purse strings relax when on-line bargains are to be had; not too disimilar to the holiday dollar spending spree...trouble is, neither benefit local retailers.
    The impact to local schools, multi-sport events and the like will soom be felt without Rob's support and sponsorship; a void that will be hard to fill.

    Manganui Ski Area named one of Taranaki's Top 10 Things to do 2015!

    So travel/attractions website Experience Oz + NZ put together yearly polls on the Top Things to Do lists for all of Australia and New Zealand's major regions, and Manganui Ski Area was voted, just like in 2014, to the list for Taranaki

    And we even have a 2015 badge touting Manganui Ski Area as a winner!

    this from the website article...

    New Zealand's Taranaki region on the west tip of NZ's North Island – and its main settlement of New Plymouth – are a showcase of greenery, alpine beauty and historical significance all wrapped up into a single highly enjoyable package that presents those visiting with a wide array of things to see and do. Simply put, if you're the type that enjoys natural spectacles and taking in true, untouched landscape of the country you're visiting on your trips, then few other regions in New Zealand can provide what you're looking for quite like this area.

    Dominated by the stunning, almost perpetually snow-covered peak of Mount Taranaki itself, Taranaki offers an experience as diverse as it is visually impressive – exploring its inner reaches provides one of the best examples of NZ back-country and national park, while heading towards the coastline unfolds a myriad of rugged beaches that are renowned as much for their dramatic landscapes as they are their quality surf breaks. Top it all off with a healthy dose of both Maori and European history and some charming specialist local attractions, and Taranaki presents a cavalcade of things for the prospective visitor from locally and abroad alike to see and do.

    If you're planning to visit this ruggedly scenic part of New Zealand, here's our list of recommendations for the top things to do in Taranaki, NZ:

    10. Fun Ho! Toy Museum

    The majority of holidays we take are all about relaxing and unwinding, however if you've got kids in tow it's something that can become increasingly difficult to do without having something to keep them occupied. It's a good thing then, that Taranaki is home to one of the most enjoyable attractions for younger kids in the country – the Fun Ho! Toy Museum in the town of Inglewood, around 15 minutes drive to the south-east of New Plymouth. Featuring a showcase of over 3,000 toys from a brand that is famed throughout New Zealand, it's an impressive gallery of high-quality handmade kids' toys from the past, with models on display dating as far back as 1935 that make the mass-manufactured plastic toys of today look incredibly disposable in comparison...

    9. Mikes Organic Brewery

    Switching from attractions oriented towards kids to those a favourite of adults, Mike's Organic Brewery is the destination of choice in the Taranaki region for anyone who fancies a tasty drop of the amber stuff. While it's currently run by a man named Ron (who took over from founder Mike Johnson several years ago), the name isn't important; what is important is the quality of its various organic lagers, ales and pilsners are some of the best from a boutique brewery in NZ's North Island.

    The lineup at Mike's Organic Brewery have won several awards – both domestically and internationally - and feature a distinct German and Belgian influence with tastes that range from malty, sweeter notes through to darker coffee-influenced flavours. All of their beers are certified as organic – hence the name – meaning that all ingredients are natural and simply a result of nature at work...

    8. Brooklands Zoo

    Taranaki's natural offerings aren't just limited to landscapes – those who are after a dose of animal entertainment as well can visit the region's excellent Brooklands Zoo, an outstanding attraction featuring animals both domestic and exotic that also happens to be entirely FREE to enter (although donations are appreciated). A true asset to the New Plymouth district, both kids and adults alike can find plenty to keep them occupied at Brooklands whether it be admiring the creatures themselves, enjoying a quality coffee or burning off some energy in the playground. Situated amongst lovely parkland surrounds next to Pukekura (see further below), the potential for enjoying time both at the zoo and enjoying a walk nearby makes for an added layer of pleasantry, too.

    While it's not a massive commercial attraction featuring every animal under the sun like some zoos, the zoo is obviously passionately taken care of and all of the animal enclosures at Brooklands are kept in pristine condition – a credit to the staff. In addition, the animals who call the zoo home are diverse enough to provide a good cross-section of the animal kingdom; during a visit, you'll encounter the likes of monkeys, meerkats, otters, and many other critters including a range of farm animals rounding out the offerings. There's also an excellent walk-through bird enclosure that features a solid display of all things avian. It's a great place to bring smaller children who can get up close with the various species and perhaps learn something along the way...

    7. Te Popo Gardens

    Taranaki is renowned throughout New Zealand for the quality of its gardens – with New Plymouth, Kaponga and Hawera all having their own standouts in this category - however one of the most underrated examples is found in the Stratford area around half an hour's drive south of New Plymouth. Te Popo Gardens, a 34-acre blend of both woodland and forest with its centrepiece being a beautiful five acre garden is a must-visit for those who appreciate plant life of all kinds.

    Te Popo, which means “Lullaby” in the native Maori tongue, is peace and beauty incarnate, featuring expansive and lovingly-maintained grounds by its dedicated hosts that's both not to small and not too big; it's the ideal size to wander around and simply be...

    6. Puke Ariki Museum and Library

    An essential stop for those wanting to gain a deeper look at what has made Taranaki what it is today, knowledge, heritage and history all combine at the Puke Ariki Museum and Library in the heart of New Plymouth. What serves as a simple visitor's information centre in most cities is expanded greatly here into a fully-fledged cultural facility that offers a comprehensive look at what makes Taranaki tick (and for which it won an award back in 2003); it's the cultural centrepiece of the town and a striking building in its own right, with a creative architectural design that hints at the stimulating offerings available inside.

    Puke Ariki should serve as one of the first stops for visitors to the Taranaki region in general, as it does a great job of incorporating the likes of overall regional information natural, European and Maori history with activities to keep the kids entertained as well. History buffs will be in their element here, as the museum has various exhibits which detail Taranaki's past with several heritage collections that feature objects of all kinds including photographs, documents, maps and other relics both Maori and European alike which are all very well curated and signed and give visitors a sense of its historical goings-on...

    5. Manganui Ski Area

    The alpine scenery of the Taranaki region isn't all just for show; if you're a fan of winter sports and travelling during the colder months, Taranaki will impress with the quality of its ski and snowboard opportunities. While it might not be as widely known as larger and more highly-promoted ski areas in New Zealand such as those around Queenstown or Christchurch, Maunganui Ski Area at Mt. Taranaki is no slouch itself; during the the months of June to October the coverage is quite good and the fields tend to be far less crowded than those of its larger cousins.

    Although the majority of its offerings are targeted at the advanced skier, the ski fields of Manganui feature a blend of beginner to intermediate runs on the main slopes with more advanced options available upon further travel, so skiers and families of all ability levels will be able to find an option that best suits them here.

    Manganui with its winter coat on; July 2014

    The ski area is located on the slopes of iconic Mt. Taranaki itself, and is reached via a fairly short walk along a sealed road through Beech forest and features four lifts as well as a flying fox that can be used to transport ski equipment further up. The facility is unique in that it is run entirely on a volunteer basis by the Stratford Mountain Club and is thus far less commercialised than other NZ ski areas, and its location offers some truly amazing views out over a gorge and the rest of the scenic Egmont National Park in which it lies...

    4. Tawhiti Museum

    “Not what you're thinking” is probably the best way to catch your eye when you see another museum on the list, as Nigel Ogle's Tawhiti Museum in Taranaki's Hawera is anything but the standard “fossils and relics” museum experience. Ogle, his wife and their collaborators have done their best to detail the history of New Zealand via ridiculously-realistic replicas of actual scenes, both life-size and miniature that look about as close to real life as humanly possible.

    It's not close to your typical wax museum in this regard either, as figures aren't simply standing alone – they're depicted actively participating in that period of New Zealand's history, both European and Maori alike, which helps to add a sense of life to the exhibition and put various scenes and daily routines of the past into better context.

    The museum's range of galleries are divided up according to theme, with each featuring a blend of minatures and life-size recreations; the detail that has gone into the mini models is simply incredible, and faithful depictions of the likes of European settlers exploring the land, native warriors at march and farm workers plying their trade are all given an equal amount of love and attention. All of the displays you'll see during your visit to Tawhiti Museum have been created on-site, incorporating techniques that involve wax moulds and casting to help give them their lifelike qualities – and these, in turn are set amongst dioramas with backdrops of a variety of sceneries that look just as realistic as the figures standing amongst them. The scenes on display are very well curated, with plaques outlining their historic relevance and making it easier for those visiting from abroad to gain a sense of their significance to New Zealand's history...

    3. Pukekura Park

    This oasis in the heart of the city of New Plymouth is an unexpected gem often encountered for the first time by those visiting the area, featuring one of the best blends of green and alpine scenery in a single panorama that can be found in any city of NZ.

    Another of New Zealand's recognised Gardens of National Significance, the park spreads out over a wide 52 hectare area and features a myriad of plants from both NZ and abroad intermingled wonderfully with various walking trails, bridges and waterways which round out the experience perfectly to create one of the premier botanic gardens in the country.

    A true slice of peaceful paradise in the middle of the city, there's both plenty going on in Pukekura Park while simultaneously offering a ton of open space for visitors to enjoy as well. What is a hub of activity filled with the likes of live musicians, fire dancers and acrobatic displays during both night time and its annual Festival of Lights gives way to a serene combination of flowers, ferns and waterfalls that remains highly uncommercialised despite its central location. The grounds of Pukekura Park are kept in tip-top condition all year round – a nod to the efforts of local city authorities – and this immaculate level of maintenance extends to all areas of the park, form its glasshouse-enclosed Chinese garden to its lush fernery and numerous displays of blooming flowers of all colours...

    2. New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

    Taranaki's coastline is one of the key natural features that helps define its character, and there's no better showcase open to the public than New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway that allows visitors to experience the sights and sounds firsthand. Only recently completed, this 11km-long seaside path spans almost the entirety of the city and gives walkers and cyclists the chance to take in the spectacle of the ocean while paying a visit to plenty of the main attractions of the city along the way. Shops, beaches, cafes, restaurants, farmland, lagoons and architectural feats are all covered during the course of the walkway, with the only limit to what's encountered being the amounts of time and energy you're willing to invest in exploring its many offerings.

    The Coastal Walkway is easily accessible and provides a great combination of fresh air and sightseeing, stretching from the waterfront and giving scenic views of the coast and its various ports – on a clear day, you'll even be able to see Mt. Taranaki's proud peak jutting out in the distance. The walkway can be divided up into smaller portions and spread out over a multi-day journey which allows for extra time to admire the different features or stop for a bite to eat along the way, while its relatively flat layout means it's easy enough on the feet to complete in a single session...

    1. Mt Taranaki

    The Taranaki region wouldn't quite be Taranaki without its iconic mountain (alternatively named Mt. Egmont), an object of pure natural beauty that has become an emblem of the area as a whole and which is one of the most perfectly-formed of its kind in the country.

    The subject of numerous postcards, calendars, pictures and paintings, it's the symmetry that gives the mountain its special appearance, with its conical shape utterly striking to view from any angle. Mt. Taranaki has a special spiritual significance to the Maori culture and is surrounded by numerous myths and legends detailing its origins, however it doesn't take an iota of historical or cultural knowledge to enjoy its sheer spectacle and the array of things to do that the mountain offers.

    Trekking and hiking are obvious focal points for those who want to get a more intimate NZ-style experience, and Mt. Taranaki offers opportunities in abundance in its surrounding Egmont National Park, with tracks that branch off in numerous directions and provide walkers with a variety of natural sights such thick forest, cascading waterfalls and deep plunge pools. The National Park, which lies south of New Plymouth close to the coast, is massive in scope and encompasses the mountain as well as a total area of 335 square kilometres and is teeming with botanical highlights that are a pleasure to soak in along the way which can be seen on the number of available short walks as well as the longer and more epic, multi-day tracks...

    Matt Hobbs
    Digital Marketing Manager

    Experience Oz | TicketMates

    An Avalanche survival story:
    Les Crosets Avalanche: 30/01/2015

    This story should serve as a cautionary tale for all who enjoy spending time in the mountains both in and out of bounds. It should not be used to replace vital information provided by your local avalanche authority and ski patrol.
    The 30th of January 2015 is a daythat will forever be engrained into my memory as the scariest day of my life. After one week into a months skiing in Les Crosets on the Swiss/French border, we were hit with a large snowstorm that dumped close to one metre of snow over a 48 hour period. Naturally, my Australian ski buddies Andrew and Dan, and local friend Leonard were excited to get our powder fix as the week prior had been relatively warm and dry.
    As expected the morning’s skiing was all-time, with the group sharing deep powder turns with face-shots aplenty. As the avalanche risk was a very high 4/5, we stuck to inbound slopes with minimal pitch and low exposure to play it safe, or so we thought. After a quick lunch, we noticed that ski patrol had opened the Grande Conche chair, which leads to longer and more exciting inbounds terrain. After a quick discussion we headed up the chair and scored more deep turns directly under the lift. Near the bottom of the run we skied into a small V-shaped gully with a short powder schuss at the bottom that followed a small creek back to the base of the lift. During the ski out I noticed a short but untracked line through the trees that I had previously skied on a 2013 trip to the resort. The group decided that we would drop in there next lap.
    In order to get to the top of the line we had to do a short 20 metre push with our skis on from the piste. We were delighted to notice that there were no tracks leading to the run so we would score first tracks. However as we pushed through the deep snow I noticed a muffled ‘whumping’ sound as our skis broke through a thin layer of hoare frost about 30cm under the fresh layer of snow. We stopped and discussed our options. Due to this particular gully being known amongst locals as a safer option due to it’s short length and low pitch, also taking into account the fact that we had skied the line on previous trips in similar avalanche conditions without an issue, we decided to push on and ski the line anyway.
    I went first. The top was one of the deepest powder runs I have ever experienced, the deep snow making it hard to breathe through a turn, let alone see. I would pop out of the white room for a split second after each turn only to be re-engulfed by a cloud of white a moment later. The final section of the line takes a quick 45 degree turn into a slightly steeper but short 20m pitch that ends in the creek at the bottom of the gully. Carrying my speed I took a little air over the roller into this final pitch, this is where everything went wrong.
    As I landed I noticed the snow around me start to slab and break away, so I pointed my skis straight and went as fast as I could in order to ski over the slab and outrun the avalanche. I figured my best option was to ski over the frozen creek at the bottom and up the other side of the gully to escape. However as I hit the creek I slammed into a shoulder high wall of snow on the other side of the gully which stopped me dead in my tracks. I looked up just in time to watch the avalanche envelope me. The last thing I managed to do before I was completely buried was to reach as high as I could above the snow with my left arm and ski pole. This may have ultimately saved my life.
    As the snow piled higher and higher, It became darker and darker until I was surrounded by an eerie black silence, broken only by the sound of my slow breathing and racing heartbeat.
    “Okay” I thought to myself;
    “You’re dead.” I had a shovel and probe in my backpack and I was wearing a transceiver, however, the others were only carrying a shovel and probe. I was convinced that they would not find me in time. Unable to move I focused on slowing my breathing, relaxing and conserving oxygen. I felt bizarrely emotionless and wondered for a moment what death would be like. Then I remembered that I was reaching upwards with my left arm, ski pole still attached. I tried to wiggle my hand and I felt a ‘pop’ as the top 5cm of the pole broke the surface of the snow. Suddenly emotion flooded through me as I realised that Andrew, Dan and Leonard would be able to locate me under the snow if they saw the tip of the pole. However I still forced myself to remain calm as I sat in wait.
    Soon my vision became brighter and I heard some muffled voices, then suddenly everything went white as Dan and Leonard excavated my face, I later learned that Andrew had taken a different line and had gone to get ski patrol. I let out a short groan and stifled the words;
    “Boy am I happy to see you guys”.
    I cried with happiness and relief, however, I was by no means out of the woods yet. Only my face was uncovered and I was standing upwards with 1.5 metres of snow still above my head. But what really spooked me was that I was positioned directly under the pitch that had buried me, completely exposed to any further avalanche activity. The thought of being re-buried was horrifying.
    Andrew soon arrived accompanied by two swiss Ski Patrol who promptly helped to dig me out. Despite there being 5 people digging it took almost an hour before I was freed from the avalanche debris. I thanked ski patrol for their help and especially thanked Dan, Leonard and Andrew as if it we not for them I would not be able to tell this story. From that afternoon onwards everybody made a pact to never ski off piste again, even inbounds, without everybody in the group carrying a complete avalanche pack containing a transceiver, probe and shovel. More importantly we were all taught a very big lesson about decision making, reading conditions and observing terrain traps. Had we have turned around after noticing the layer of hoare frost the incident would have been averted entirely. Likewise, I did not make note of the deep snowdrift at the bottom of the line that blocked my escape route, in retrospect the terrain trap was also good reason not to ski this particular line.

    Do not follow my path, always practice conservative decision making when in the mountains taking into account the local avalanche conditions. I was lucky, so far 75 people in the Alps this year have not. always carry a transceiver, probe and shovel and most importantly get educated. Speak to your local avalanche authority and to ski patrol if you plan to go off piste and complete an avalanche awareness course. It may just save a life.

    Stay Safe.

    All rights reserved © James Mort 2015

    Samsung Galaxy note 3 + Gear (smartwatch) ad

    this could quote possibly be the lameist, the corniest ad to ever use skiiing/riding as its background...enjoy!

    Snowy view, outside accomodation at Breckenridge peak 8.

    Mogul heaven

    Feature Article

    Colorado Calling...

    so over the summer break Morgan Davies headed to Colorado. A somewhat eventful trip (hit him up sometime and he will tell you exactly what happened and how!)
    Quick words below from Morgan...

    I didn’t take that many pics as I Tore my MCL on the 6th day!

    Roughly speaking I stayed in Breckenridge at Peak 8, and we weren’t the only SMC members there. The Carnachan’s, Hills and Turners were all in Breckenridge at the same time. We enjoyed Blue bird days, with a top ups every few days.

    The view from the top

    'Breck' is a quant town, that is decorated with fairy lights and at the same time as being there the international ice sculpting festival was on.

    Cheers, Morgan

    The moral high ground: Colorado

    For Colorado visitors, a stop at a dispensary to purchase legal marijuana is probably first up on the agenda.
    The recreational shop count in high country has grown to 38 in just over a year into legalization in Colorado. Aspen leads the pot-smoking ski town pack with six separately owned dispensaries in its central core alone. But beware, temporary bans on pot stores are still in effect for Avon, Snowmass and Vail, so you can't expect to buy the magic herb just anywhere. Can your trip to Colorado be higher than just the altitude?

    Kind Slopes: Legal Marijuana and Colorado Ski Resorts

    The Colorado ski and snowboard industry survived its first season of legal marijuana. What was the result? Well, nothing much has changed. Here’s the EO guide to keep you out of trouble on the slopes next year and insight on just how the resorts dealt with those crowds who lit up the experience on the slopes this past winter.

    William Breathes wants to let you in on a little secret: People smoked pot at ski resorts in Colorado prior to Jan. 1, 2014, you know, the day weed became legal in Colorado. And they did so, albeit with more blatant restrictions, this past ski season. And they will continue to do so—but it's not a giant frat party here.

    “It’s been going on for years,” he says. “There have always been smoke shacks. The culture of it hasn’t changed at all.”

    Legal weed isn’t changing much at Colorado’s ski resorts other than making public relations directors a little bit more nervous. And in the case of Vail resorts, it has even spelled the end to of local-knowledge “smoke shacks,” since the Broomfield-based Resort company and the U.S. Forest Service demolished many of them in February. So, maybe, Colorado's ski industry even got a little less friendly.

    one of the many stores in Colorado

    Despite all the new national media attention thanks to Colorado’s 2012 ballot initiative legalized marijuana, people have been puffing on lifts and in the woods for as long as they have been searching for endless powder runs. Responsible use has always unofficially been tolerated. But legality has put an odd twist in that narrative. Ski resorts are now are fearful of out-of-state guests, looking to smoke legal weed, not understanding the laws, rules and, frankly, potency of our pot. And those rules may surprise a lot of would-be tokers.

    “It’s black and white,” says Steve Hurlbert, Winter Park public relations and communications manager. “No. Pot is not allowed. That includes the base area, that includes chair lifts, the restaurants. We are on (U.S.) Forest Service land so that complicates it.”

    Industry expert Jennifer Rudolph confirms that stance: “We are working to educate people so they know what to expect,” says the communications director for Colorado Ski Country USA. “What we want to make clear to the skiing public is that Colorado will continue to be a safe and family friendly ski destination. People can expect to come here, enjoy our resorts, breath fresh air and have fun on the slopes with their friends and family. They should not expect to be able to smoke marijuana at a ski area.”

    Why are the state’s resorts not yet embracing pot into their tourism portfolio? For one, they want to be sure Colorado residents and Colorado tourists to understand the laws and rules to a T. For example:

    1.Smoking pot in public places is against the law
    2.Skiing while under the influence of anything is a big no, no
    3.Many resorts lease U.S. Forest Service land, meaning federal laws are king (and federal laws still say pot is an illegal drug)
    But the conversation tone begins to shift when talking frankly about the idea that people such as Breathes have and will continue to smoke pot on the mountain.

    “Ski patrol is not out looking for pot users; they are not law enforcement,” Hurlbert says.

    ““Whether you are using marijuana or using alcohol, it doesn’t matter. We want you to use it responsibly, and we want you safe on the mountain.”
    Breathes is one of the most-well known pot experts in the U.S., having written a having written a marijuana column under his Grateful Dead-inspired pen name for Denver’s Westword for five years. As an expert snowboarder, he conveys a similar message. The reason he and his friends have always been able to smoke pot while skiing is simple: Respect.

    “Every ski day, I have to light up at some point. But I keep it discrete,” he says. “I think we have been respectful, and that’s why we have been able to do it for years.”

    Every ski day, I have to light up at some point. But I keep it discrete, I think we have been respectful, and that’s why we have been able to do it for years

    — William Breathes Chris Bookidis, managing partner of Idaho Springs dispensary Kine Mine, talks about smoking pot on the hill as if it’s nothing more than cracking a Coors Original.

    Whether it’s an uptick in ski tourism from pot or just skiers and boarders opting for the convenience of the highway turnoff, it’s hard to say. Bookidis, however, understands the concerns of the ski resorts when it comes to the topic of Colorado pot law understanding. “The knowledge is not there,” he says. “We have a lot of warnings and tools and we have to educate each customer. We go far above our due diligence, with things like how important it is that you just don’t eat an edible, get in the car and drive to Kansas. It’s been a learning curve for the public.”

    While he comes off as typical, free-spirited pot smoker while talking about getting high on the mountain in the context of a safety meeting, Bookidis understands the gravity of being the first state (government, period) to fully embrace recreational pot. “We have a lot of worries in that regard,” he says about overall safety. “We have a lot of potent strains and each body is different. There’s a lot of concern in the industry. This isn’t some joke.” The confusing part of the conversation is that both pot smoking skiers and resort officials can give mixed messages. The resort: No, pot is not allowed at a ski resort but we aren’t policing it. The user: Yes, I get high every time I ski. Don’t cause a crazy incident to ruin it for everybody. To simplify, it comes down to one simple rule if you are planning on smoking pot (for the first or thousandth time) at a Colorado ski area:

    Don’t be an idiot.

    Many of the ski resorts are located on federal land (usually just the ski runs, not the ski towns). So, your right to possess marijuana in Colorado does not apply when you are on federal land.
    As a result, use your head and don’t get in trouble. One of the reasons edibles and vaporizer pens are so popular in Colorado is they have no smell and are discreet.

    Finally, not to be a buzz kill, but skiing while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is against the law and is a violation of the Colorado Ski Safety Act. If caught, the fine can be up to $1,000. We’ve never seen anyone busted for this in 20 years, but just wanted to make you aware that technically it is a crime.

    Some parting advice is to make sure you remain hydrated during your trip. The mixture of high elevation, low humidity and active lifestyle will certainly drain your body of fluids. Make sure you hydrate often to avoid any issues. Hopefully you can schedule a ski trip out this year and get to enjoy Colorado's ‘Green Winter’. The great snow along with the sprouting marijuana industry makes Colorado the #1 destination for skiing in the world.

    sources: Jacob Harkins, a former ski bum who does not actually smoke pot (anymore). Co Pot Guide


    Ice sculpture in Breckenridge
    pic thanks Morgan

    we hope you had a great SUMMER, not it is time to get into winter mode!
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