Hi everyone, welcome to the Snow Centre. My name’s Annie. I hope you enjoyed the bus trip from the airport – we’ve certainly got plenty of snow today! Well, you’ve come to New Zealand’s premier snow and ski centre, and we’ve a whole load of activities for you during your week here.
Most visitors come here for the cross-country skiing, where you’re on fairly flat ground for most of the time, rather than going down steep mountainsides. There are marked trails, but you can also leave these and go off on your own and that’s an experience not to be missed.
You can go at your own speed – it’s great aerobic exercise if you really push yourself, or if you prefer you can just glide gently along and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
This afternoon, you’ll be going on a dog-sled trip. You may have seen our dogs on TV recently racing in the winter sled festival. If you want, you can have your own team for the afternoon and learn how to drive them, following behind our leader on the trail. Or if you’d prefer, you can just sit back in the sled and enjoy the ride as a passenger.
At the weekend, we have the team relay event, and you’re all welcome to join in. We have a local school coming along, and a lot of the teachers are taking part too. Participation rather than winning is the main focus, and there’s a medal for everyone who takes part. Participants are in teams of two to four, and each team must complete four laps of the course.
For your final expedition, you’ll head off to Mount Frenner wearing a pair of special snow shoes which allow you to walk on top of the snow. This is an area where miners once searched for gold, though there are very few traces of their work left now. When the snow melts in summer, the mountain slopes are carpeted in flowers and plants. It’s a long ascent, though not too steep, and walkers generally take a couple of days to get to the summit and return.
You’ll spend the night in our hut half-way up the mountain. That’s included in your package for the stay. It’s got cooking facilities, firewood and water for drinking. For washing, we recommend you use melted snow, though, to conserve supplies. We can take your luggage up on our snowmobile for you for just ten dollars a person. The hut has cooking facilities so you can make a hot meal in the evening and morning, but you need to take your own food.
The weather on Mount Frenner can be very stormy. In that case, stay in the hut – generally the storms don’t last long. Don’t stress about getting back here to the centre in time to catch the airport bus – they’ll probably not be running anyway. We do have an emergency locator beacon in the hut but only use that if it’s real emergency, like if someone’s ill or injured.
Now, let me tell you something about the different ski trails you can follow during your stay here. Highland Trail’s directly accessible from where we are now. This trail’s been designed to give first-timers an experience they’ll enjoy regardless of their age or skill, but it’s also ideal for experts to practise their technique.
Then there’s Pine Trail … if you’re nervous about skiing, leave this one to the experts! You follow a steep valley looking right down on the river below – scary! But if you’ve fully mastered the techniques needed for hills, it’s great fun.
Stony Trail’s a good choice once you’ve got a general idea of the basics. There are one or two tricky sections, but nothing too challenging. There’s a shelter half-way where you can sit and take a break and enjoy the afternoon sunshine.
And finally, Loser’s Trail. This starts off following a gentle river valley but the last part is quite exposed so the snow conditions can be challenging – if it’s snowing or windy, check with us before you set out to make sure the trail’s open that day. Right, so now if you’d like to follow me, we’ll get started …