Saturday 3 July 2021


With thanks to Destination Queenstown for this famil 

Whereas yesterday I was zipping down on the snow, this morning it was all about trudging up snowy slopes. That sounds a bit negative - I was walking uphill, but it wasn't that steep and the pace was fine. What made all the difference was that I was trying out snowshoeing. Snowshoes today are very different from the tennis racquet affairs I was imagining: they're light, efficient and easy to wear and use. Having learned the hard way back on that glacier in Iceland not to get my crampons tangled, I very quickly got the hang of keeping my feet apart.

I went with Basecamp Adventures, who do all sorts of scary stuff - ice-climbing, anyone? - so this was a bit, er, pedestrian for mountaineer guide Chris; but he seemed to enjoy himself as much as I did. He was full of information about all sorts of things, so that meant lots of stops to listen, which helped.

We set off from the Remarkables ski base (in Chris-speak, that's 'the Remarks' - Glenorchy is GY, Treble Cone is TC, the gondola is the gondo...). Carefully crossing the ski run with all its variously-skilled skiers and snowboarders scooting down, we headed up and away from the runs. Off-piste! The virgin powder snow was glorious, dry and soft, and actually good fun to fall into, which I did a couple of times when I strayed out of Chris's shoe prints. Snow can hide big pockets of air, you know.

We climbed up to frozen Lake Alta and gazed up at the highest point of the Remarks - Double Cone at 2307m. Rather chasteningly, we were passed by ski tourers plodding uphill with packs on their backs, who were going to spend the night camping on the mountain before doing some climbing. So our trip felt a bit tame, in comparison - but it was still lovely to be up there away from the bustle of the runs, in the sunshine, spotting hare tracks in the snow, admiring the layered schist of the rocks, and the spectacular long views.

After all that fresh air and exercise, it was very pleasant to transfer to Kamana Lakehouse, and have a private hot tub session to ourselves. It was perfect, sipping drinks and lolling in 38 degree steaming water, looking out at that lake and those mountains, as the sun set and the candles brightened in the dark. Kamana is lovely, very woody and Scandinavian, and appealingly modern (Alexa does everything in the bedroom, if you see what I mean) - and the food is good, too.

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