Methven & Mt Hutt, 24th - 28th August 2010
"If you can't beat them, join them" and so we decided to embrace the freezing cold New Zealand winter and spend the last few days in a ski resort.
We left Lake Tekapo and it was our last Magic Bus journey with Gemma, as we were getting off at Methven and she was going up to Picton. When we got to Methven he said we were having a toilet stop and Gemma and a lot of others got off the bus. However, he then pulled away and took us to our hostel to save a bit a time. We were absolutely gutted that we didn't get a chance to say goodbye and so grabbed our stuff and tried to work out which side of the road they would pass us on. We were standing there hoping and praying it would drive by us and when it did we were jumping up and down shouting and waving at Gemma who was texting me on her phone! Thankfully she looked up at the last minute and we all waved goodbye as the Magic Bus sped off to the next to the destination.
We walked down to the hostel that Gemma had recommended to us as the ski bus picks you up right outside and when we got here I thought there must be some mistake. Not surprising they make you pay before you see the place.
This far outshone The Lab in Queenstown, but at least this has set such a new low standard that everywhere else should feel like a palace!
This was also our first experience of a co-ed (mixed) dorm. An experience I am hoping never to repeat again. Boys are not only smelly & dirty, but they snore.
We took our bags to the room and it was like checking into a student lads bedroom. There were clothes, luggage and just general s*** everywhere. I went back to the woman and asked her if she was joking? She came in, picked all their stuff up and threw it under one of their beds. She then took the spare mattress from under our bunk bed so at least we could put our stuff somewhere.
We then realised there were not only no lockers, but she hadn't given us a key for the room or front door.When I went back and asked for these she looked at me like I was mad. Apparently no-one uses them and nothing's ever been stolen. I was like 'yeah that's a lovely story, but I'll take a key thanks'. She had the hump as she then had to give everyone else in the room a key. I quite frankly couldn't care less. Anyone could just walk in off the street, straight through the front door, into our room and help themselves to laptops, cameras, passports or whatever their little hearts desired. Seriously!
So back to the 'worst hostel yet' title. Now the complete lack of security and going back 10 years to student life would not be enough to award this place this very discerning title. So let's add into the mix that the whole place was literally freezing (it would get down to 3 degrees at night in our bedroom), so we were going to sleep fully clothed. It was also full of clicky long termers, a young 18 year old who wanted everyone to be the best of friends, constantly kept trying to round everyone up to do activites together, and had an opinion on everything from correct size of memory stick to how to cook pasta. But no that still is not enough to win the title. People, I give you the piece de resistance ... please welcome a 20 strong, under 14 South Korean Ski team. Yay! OMFGG, not only did they take over the place, they would claim the dinner table as their own for eating, doing homework or whatever so everyone else had to sit on the sofa. They constantly fought, shouted, ran round and ate with their mouths open - but proper slapping their lips together, it actually made me feel sick.
I was seriously contemplating checking out, losing our money and booking in somewhere else. The first night we did blogging with our earphones pushed as far into our ears as possible and naturally was accused by the 18 year old know it of being anti-social. Sorry mate, talk to someone who actually gives a f***!
We were also texting Gemma quite a bit that night and I'm sure you can all guess the content of those messages. All I'm going to say misses is we owe you one! :)
I'd been skiing when I was at school and did some snowboarding lessons before Crimbo but I was nowhere near ready to get back on the mountain, and as Selena had never been skiing before we decided to do the Beginners package. What an absolutely brilliant day.
The bus picked us up from directly outside the hostel (I would also like to point out that this bus will pick you up from any accommodation in Methven, so even that small bonus for this hostel has disappeared) and we started the hour's journey up to the ski resort.
We had an hour and a half to kill before our first lesson, so we grabbed a hot chocolate and sat in the cafe watching all the skiers and snowboarders coming down the mountain. We were both really excited but pretty nervous at the same time, and yes the thought of being airlifted off with a broken ankle had crossed my mind.
When it was time to get kitted up we went off to get our boots, skis & poles. I don't know if you've ever seen anyone trying to walk in ski boots but as you can't bend your ankles you have 2 choices. Either bend your knees and waddle (we called this a John Wayne special) or keep legs straight and throw legs in front of you (Hitler style marching). We both adopted bit of a mix match and headed outside for our lesson. The morning's lesson consisted of learning how to kit up, put the skis on, learnt how to stop (very important), how to turn and use the Magic Carpet (like a travelator but for Skiiers).Surprisingly there weren't many incidents. I didn't fall over at all (came very close to it once when Selena nearly wiped me out :))
At lunchtime we brought a sightseeing lift pass and went to the top of the mountain to the views of the Alps. We went up without our skis on so when we were getting off the lift we had to try and out run the lift. Obviously everyone on skis has gravity to help them down the slope, but we were trying to avoid them and at the same time avoid the bottom of the swing smacking into our heads. It was absolutely freezing and I was doing a countdown for how long I could keep my hand out of my glove for. I managed a whole 30 seconds until my hand felt like it was on fire and about to fall off. We got some wicked pics though and were even stomping around in off piste snow until it started coming up to our knees and we decided to head back.
We had a second lesson in the afternoon and we were both absolutely hooked so signed up to the next level skiing package the next day.
By the time we got back to the hostel we were both completely knackered, so you can imagine my patience levels with a house full of Korean Kids and know it all teenagers. We cooked a huge pasta bake so we could eat it over a couple of days and then crawled into bed (firstly to escape the idiots in the house and secondly as the only way to get warm). We were both asleep by 8.30pm. My oh my what party animals we have become! Hahaha.
We did the Novice package the next day but the weather was changing every couple of minutes. We would get on the Magic carpet at the bottom of the slope and it would be clear, and by the time we got to the top (about 3 minutes) it would be about 20 meters of visibility due to the thick snow which would really sting your face on the way down. It got so bad that we had to have our briefings at the bottom of the slope so that when we got of the lift we could ski straight down as when trying to stand still the wind was so strong that it was actually blowing people backwards. I quite often was coming to a complete standstill whilst trying to ski downhill because the wind was that strong.Both lifts to the top of the mountain were also closed as the maximum wind speed they can operate at is 70km/ph and it was teetering between 90 - 100 km/ph.
After the lesson we went into the cafe and took up position right in front of the open fire. Everyone was coming off of the mountain and our bus driver was rounding people up to leave early before the weather got any worse. Two weeks beforehand over 200 people got stranded up the mountain and they all had to sleep in the cafe we were sat because the winds picked up suddenly to 160 km/ph and no-one was allowed to drive down the mountain as they would have been blown off.
We spent our last day in Methven sorting all our stuff out, blogging, sorting pics, posting everything back to the UK and sorting accommodation for Sydney. Pretty monotonous day, but really nice to get everything sorted.
Next stop is Sydney and I can't wait. :)