2007 Preschool Ski Trip to Tararua Lodge
13 - 16 August 2007
Map Reference - Whakapapa Ski field
The weather was a mixed bag for our pre-school ski trip, but you have to expect that on Whakapapa! The week started off well. We, the fearless leaders (Kerrie, Andreas and Liam (2 yrs old)) arrived first, and we had brilliant blue sky and calm weather for our arrival. About 5 other families would also be coming up at various times during the week.
How to get everything up with toddlers in tow? We recommend dressing into full ski gear in the National Park public loos (opposite the DOC centre), where it is hopefully not snowing yet. Then drive up the Bruce Road and park as close to the top car park (or unload everything in the 5 min parking zone). One parent moves all the gear to the bottom lift and ask the lifties to hold it there till you arrive. Then park for good, sort the family out, walk to the lifts yourselves, and go up with your gear on the lift (the lifties put it on the empty chairs in front of you). At the top, the top lifties will hold onto your gear while you walk across the Lodge. While the little ones are being fed / playing at the lodge, the other parent can ferry the gear over to the Lodge. Hey presto – you have arrived!
Andreas skied with Liam on his back in a backpack (not for the faint hearted) and Liam loved it. We also had a wee plastic sled which the other kids on the trip enjoyed (oddly enough Liam hated it!). Lots of playing and sliding on the snow was to be had behind the hut. Frisbees, toy spades & buckets, may also be a good idea for future trips?
The lodge has quite a lot of cards, puzzles, and games, but they mainly cater to slightly older children. So for preschoolers bring a few easily packed favourite toys and books, and food colouring to make playdough. CDs for dancing are good too. The lounge room has lots of long cushions, so the room can be transformed into whatever you want (castles? tent? etc).
- Bring quick drying clothes only (such as polypro and fleece clothes).
- Food can take up a lot of room in packs: when packing food, get a list of items stocked at the Lodge, and plan your meals as far as possible around that, bringing as little extra food with you as possible.
- Ring the hut just before you go up to see what other food is left over from the previous trip – reduce your packed food accordingly.
- Bring a small potty if you can – the toilet block on the ground floor is very cold, although this may be renovated soon?
- make sure you have goggles or tie on sunglasses for the kids.
- practice, practice, practice putting on your child’s mittens at home (we never managed to do it successfully this whole trip!)
Lifts, lifts, lifts... the key to a good pre-school ski trip. Its hard to fit everything for 2 or more people into one pack, so families with preschoolers always have a reasonable amount of gear. Working ski-lifts are the key to a good trip to Tararua Lodge. Make sure you arrive at Whakapapa well before the lifts close at 3:30 pm-ish, and make sure they are running when you plan to leave too!
We had originally planned to leave as a group on Friday. Andreas checked the weather forecasts and it seemed that the weather would begin to deteriorate on Thursday and would then be worse on Friday. We decided to leave on Thursday, but the weather was already too bad. Luckily on Friday a small window opened up at midday and the lifts were running, although it was almost whiteout.
We all had a great time, and we're looking forward to going up again next year.
- Party members
- Kerrie, Andreas (leaders and scribe) and Liam Kubisch, Gordon Vickers and his family (very ex-preschoolers!), Margot Shepard and her kids Stan, Megan and Sarah, John Russell, Michael, Nari and Aran (baby).