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Chill Features Nick Pascoe Broken River header

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By Nick Pascoe.

Nick is a regular Chill Feature contributor. In his 2nd installment for 2018 he heads up to Broken River for some time out with family.

I lived in Marlborough until I was 7, with my first ski trips being to Rainbow and Mt Lyford. We did regular trips there and as us kids skiing ability increased, our parents talk turned to making trips further south to the Arthurs Pass club fields. Some of Mum’s first ski trips were up Broken River while we were at university, and she’d always wanted to make it back with family.

However a move down to Central Otago and somehow finding ourselves immersed in ski racing put paid to plans for club field skiing. We did become involved in the most similar thing to the Canterbury clubbies that there is in Central Otago, being members of the Vincent and Otago Ski Clubs and spending many a night at their lodges on Coronet Peak. In fact I spent far more time at Otago Ski Club lodge than home in Alexandra throughout winter in my teens.

Skipping forward a fair few years and last weekend myself, Mum, and my brother Kit finally made it to Broken River for the weekend, pulling into the carpark at 7 pm on Friday night. With the tram not running we shoved all our stuff into our packs and began the skin up the summer road. By the time we got to the lodges I was glad the tram wasn’t running, after a stunning torchlit tour up with stars above and views of the mountains in the moonlight.

After a great night of sleep (bar the classic bunk room snoring) we woke up for bacon, eggs, and coffee as the sun rose above the trees out the window. The sun stayed out all day, and we had great runs throughout Main Basin and Nervous Knob chutes. The highlight was probably a couple of runs through Cornice Bowl in Allans Basin with all three of us, with the snow still fresh from the fall at the beginning of the week and Mum arcing some nice turns all the way down. The skiing was only broken up by pizza and a jug of beer on the deck to recoup our energy.

As I work full time and try and fit in 7 days of skiing into a 2 day weekend I dragged Kit off to tour up Hamilton Peak to finish the day off. The  funky wind crust and ice rime were interesting to tour up, but the views more than made up for it and our appetite was stoked up for dinner!

A three course meal followed, with liberal spice throughout. Turns out Tom the chef is a big fan of chilli, and we all agreed my sister Kate would have battled! It was nice to enjoy a relaxed evening away from all from the life admin that comes with being back in Christchurch, and get to know some of the old and new faces of clubbies and staff alike.

Waking up, breakfast, and the skiing fairly closely repeated itself for Sunday. And that was by no means a bad thing, with two days of bluebird weather nothing to scoff at. By 3 pm we were shattered, and collected our gear from the lodge. We managed to ski back down almost to the car, and quickly packed all our stuff back in. As we drove back to Christchurch we chatted a bit in amongst naps, and we all agreed that family trips to the clubbies would’ve been another great way for us to learn to ski as we grew up!

Nick is a regular contributor to Chill and spends the winter making the most of his Chill Season Pass: