Jingle bells, jingle bells… mid-winter Christmas is here !

Merry Christmas everyone! Oh, I must be confused with the northern hemisphere; I thought Christmas was coming soon given the hail storm and poor weather in Wellington. But no, it is only mid-winter Christmas. Anyway, all conditions were met to spend a great weekend up in the club lodge on Mount Ruapehu, socialising and enjoying the snow and mulled wine.
We left as for any other trip on Friday night, but for once there was no food to carry and no sore legs on Monday morning. Instead we benefitted from the club lodge that is fully equipped (there’s even a ski room and drying room) and took time to relax. The program was quite flexible depending on what people wanted to do.

Tokaanu PoolsMost of the group went for hot pools on Saturday morning in Tokaanu close to Turangi, while others decided to stay and relax in the lodge. Skiing was not really an option because the weather was quite iffy and heavy snow was forecast for the afternoon. So we had to come back not too late from Tokaanu or face a good chance of being struck on the road. Tokaanu hot pools are more family oriented than some hot pools in Taupo, with private and public hot pools. And indeed, it was really hot!

SnowmanWe then headed back to the lodge, and faced heavy snow on the road as predicted. It was time to put the chains on. But no worries, we had professional drivers that were perfectly trained to put them on! It snowed for a few hours, which enabled Jess to build a pretty snowman on the lodge deck and covered the rocks around.

We spent most of Saturday afternoon cooking our proper Christmas dinner: mulled wine, mince pies, carrot cake, stuffed turkey with bacon and heaps of roasted vegetables. That was so good.

 

Mince Pies Roast Turkey
Sunday morning the weather got crazy, the wind was blowing fast carrying ice and snow. But as trampers we are used to facing all weather conditions, so a few of us went for a short walk from the lodge to the ski lifts. We had taken sledges from the lodge and we were lucky because there were dedicated sledging slopes in happy valley, just a few meters down the main ski lift. For the record, apparently the fastest sledges were the blue and the red ones…

Sledge2 Sledge

Back to the lodge, a quick lunch for those who were still hungry, a bit of cleaning and it was time to go and defrost the van. The main road was covered with ice and the van with snow and ice, at this point that we had to climb into the van through the front door because the side door wouldn’t open.

Recap:
Positive
•    The lodge is fully equipped, has a big kitchen and living room, and even showers!
•    All food is provided, and it is good food
•    The lodge is really close to the ski lifts
•    Hot pools are not far away
•    Good weekend to socialise with club members
•     Really good views of the mountain, and Mount Ngauruhoe  – on the way back, we even saw Mount Taranaki

Mt Taranaki

Negative
•    Nothing!

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