CHILL FEATURE: SKIING MOUNT POTTS
After being forced to take it slow by a head injury Nick Pascoe is back with a spring skiing story. Spending a lot of time resting he had lots of time to plan out some future adventures, read up on one of them taking place at Mt Potts featuring fellow Chiller Ben Hume.
Words and images by Nick Pascoe
A couple of rolly pollys at The North Face Frontier 2* competition turned into quite a saga. A bit of a headache, and feeling not quite right became a month featuring a lot of time in bed, and confined to low heart rate activities. It did give me plenty of time to spend looking over topo maps, and my list of spring activities only grew longer. I finally managed to get through some high intensity exercise, and get the clear from Doc, and then it only became a matter of lining up some good weather!
After some mixed forecasts leading into last weekend, while returning from a surf on Saturday I saw an above par forecast for Sunday morning. Ben had gotten through a few beers by the time I called him, and I think this worked in my favour as I managed to twist his arm into an earlyish start and a day trip to ski at the old Erewhon ski field on Mt Potts.
As can almost be relied upon we failed miserably at our early start, with a fuel pump mix up leaving us an hour and half late and a couple of hundred dollars poorer. Neither of us runs the kind of bank accounts that can easily absorb that, but after a month of little activity I was still just stoked to be moving out of Christchurch at all!
We made a leisurely 10.30am start up the easement track to Mt Potts, and after two hours of sweating away in shorts and t-shirts made it to the snow-line at around 1400m. The enthusiasm was high to put on skis, and with Ben’s water bottle sitting on a rock many corners behind us a spring was an even nicer sight. This was only to be rivalled by spotting a relic from the ski field days a few hundred metres higher, a toilet that even came with home pleasantries like paper. Having enjoyed the view over the Rangitata River, and feeling much lighter, we made the last haul up to the ridge to top out around 3pm.
More spring missions went onto my list as we looked over into the Garden of Eden ice plateau and Mt Arrowsmith. The wind whipped up though, and we were chased off the ridge by the storm that had so kindly held off for most of the day. Ice up high quickly turned into long pitches of perfect corn snow, until the sight of our running shoes stashed away. The transition was more reluctant this time, but our tired legs pushed through and it wasn’t long before we made it back to the truck, just an hour and half after we’d pulled off our skins at the top. As the icing on the cake the truck even started, a good end to a great day back in the mountains!