The following is the first part of my Great Winter Roadtrip series. I’ve decided to write these as a complete chronicle of my ski season, like an online road diary. I’m gonna include nearly everything I remember at the time of writing, publish it, and leave serious editing for later. If that turns this blog into an exhausting ramble then so be it – at least I’ll have something to remind myself of what I got up to in the winter of 2009. If you find it an interesting read, great. If not, too bad – go check out TV Tropes or something.
What a season it’s been so far, and it’s still early days. I barely know where to begin. Might as well start is at the beginning.
The idea for the Great Winter Roadtrip came to me late last winter. After years of studying without time or money for serious skiing, I was dying to spend an entire season as a ski bum. I had planned to spend the winter of 2008 working on the mountain at Temple Basin, and after heaps of volunteer work during the summer months (not to mention the previous few years’ work), I had been effectively assured of a place. As the pre-season weeks rolled by I waited for the call up to begin preparations for the season, but never heard a thing until the start of the season, when I learned that the club had given the job to someone else without letting me know, and that I was too late for a volunteer position. I was completely gutted. I had no backup plan, and my long-awaited ski-bum season wouldn’t be happening that year. Fortunately, the situation worked out for the best in the end when I enrolled in a web development course, which kicked off a chain of events leading to the creation of this very website.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. So my 2008 season failed. All I got was a few weekends at TB and BR, with a couple of sweet late season days at Hutt that only fuelled my hunger for more snow. I started to think about how I could guarantee an epic season in 2009, without having to rely on luck nor the kindness of others. In short, I wanted a flexible winter setup with plenty of room for Plans B through to Z. The obvious answer was a full season Chill pass and a life on the road, shifting with the snow and living by the kerb in my trusty ’98 Bluebird wagon, aka The CHARDIS.
I spent the summer making preparations and buying equipment. My plan for The CHARDIS was to live on a mattress in the back, and use a laptop (powered by a spare car battery, hooked into the car engine via an isolator and inverter) to entertain myself and perhaps do a little webdev work to make ends meet. In order to save myself from going nuts trapped in my car all season, I got in touch with all the club fields to track down some casual volunteer work, so that I could grab some occasional food, accommodation and a place to shower.
Summer acquisitions included:
• Full adult Licence to Chill
• 183cm Volkl Gotama powder skis, perfect for riding the clubbies
• Dragon DX goggles (with a sick tweed pattern, I’m stoked with them)
• Old school ski poles
• ASUS laptop
• Laptop cell modem, courtesy of Mal and Max at Hot Source IT.
• 105Ah deep cycle battery
• 150W inverter
• Battery isolator kit, plus a few circuit breakers
• Camping stove, hooked up to a stolen gas bottle
• Single mattress, courtesy of Mal
• Car roof box
So that’s the background of my winter roadie. For news from the season itself, check back soon for Part Two.