I first visited Mt Ruapehu when I was 15 years old, and had never seen the snow before. I was amazed. It was magical. I kept looking out the car window at every turn up the Bruce just so I could take in the whole amazing sight. We arrived at Whakapapa Village – this time we weren’t here to go skiing or boarding, just here to take in the scenery as we were en route to another location. I walked around tipping the snow off branches of trees on to my family, made a snowman on the golf course of the Chateau and floated in the snow making a few snow angels – what a day. I wanted to go back. We took a drive to the top of the Bruce to have a look at the skifield, there were people whizzing around on the slopes, on the chairlifts and just having a good time. I wanted to be one of them.
I kept that feeling of anticipation in me for over 12 years when I finally got the chance to visit Mt Ruapehu again, and put on a snowboard for the first time. I was with some girlfriends on a ‘girls’ weekend’ and we all decided to take in some snowboarding, and a bit of après skiing.
We each signed up to a Mt Ruapehu Discover package as we were all beginners, and wanted to learn the basics from scratch. Just getting all our gear was exciting, but then when we lined up at Whakapapa’s Happy Valley for our lesson it was thrilling. I knew I would be uncoordinated, I was waiting for the fall to my bottom, but I was looking forward to it – it would be fun to have a great laugh. The instructor was really helpful, and gave me a few tips, I had my feet in the wrong position, I’ll never forget the thrill of when my snowboard started to move, I was actually doing this. It might have taken me a few goes to actually ride in a straight line, but I got there and I loved it.