Sea Boulders, Jungle Glaciers, & Snowy Peaks, Part 1

For those of us on the english unit system: 1300 kilometers = 808 miles
A couple weekends ago Amy, Evan, Kristina and I packed our little Mazda Capella and set off for a long weekend around the south island.  With skis/boards jammed into the boot and a full bag of lollys we hit the road on Wednesday night for Christchurch.  Forty minutes later we made a pit stop at the Moeraki Boulders.  High tide made close inspection a little tricky but we managed to beat the waves to hop on a few.
After the quick scenic stop, we continued on to Christchurch.  We all bunked up in the flats at U of Canterbury for an early departure the next day.  An hour east of Christchurch the mountains jut up out of farmland and there is some epic skiing.  Mt. Olympus is smack dab in the middle of it all so we figured it’d be a necessary stop.  Some sheep being herded up the access road slowed our progress a bit….
The rest of the access road had us all on the edges of our seats with sheer drop offs around every corner.  Even with some icey patches, I managed to Mario Andretti our little Mazda to the top.  See any other non-SUV’s up there?  I didn’t think so.
The Mt. Olympus Skifield has some sweet terrain and routinely hold big mountain comps.  A nutcracker ride (See Awakino) and a short hike gets you up to the luxurious lodge complete with hot tub.  People crowded in for a delicious lunch…
Clouds and wind shut down most of the cool hikes you can go on to hit up some sweet chutes on the mountain.  But we still had a fun day fooling around on some small drops and cornices.  Once we were all exhausted from nutcracker rides we piled back into the car and headed to Arthur’s Pass.  Amy’s attempt at driving in the snow ended with us stuck in the ditch so I hopped back in the driver’s seat and took us all the way to Castle Hill.  Those rocks look familar?  Probably because you remember them from this…
Torrential rain ensued after this photo and we called it a night in Arthur’s Village towards the top of the pass.  See Sea Boulders, Jungle Glaciers & Snowy Peaks, Part II for more on the trip.
-Tyler Grubb