Lochie Win (7) has set himself a goal money for the Cancer Society of New Zealand. His inspiration is his mum, Rebecca, who is now in remission from a rare form of the disease.
We are follwing Lochie’s progress, and a week and a-half into his odyssey, dad Luke Win picks up the tale.
When Lochie and I first talked about this year’s challenge to ski all New Zealand’s skifields, at no point did we realise what this adventure for charity had in store for us.
We set off more than a week ago now, early on Monday to help raise funds for the Cancer Society and to visit our skifields have come to realise is our ski industry in New Zealand is the biggest family in New Zealand.
Lochie hitting another gear at Treble Cone to the point I was skiing the fastest I’ve ever gone to keep up with him, to arriving to a warm welcome at The Remarkables, where Lochie said “Dad, I want to teach Mum how to ski here.”
“Why is that, son?”
“Well this place feels like home.”
We hitched the caravan on to the ute, loaded with everything including the kitchen sink, and headed for Ohau Lodge.
Never would we have guessed what was behind that gateway; it was like walking into my nana’s house as a young boy, all worries melting away.
Lochie was a completely different kid there.
All the kids staying at the lodge eat at 6pm. While they eat, the parents have a drink and a yarn, then get ready for a 7pm dinner.
At this point the kids all head off to explore and play in the hallways of the lodge.
It was great to see kids being kids things we all did at the same age.
We headed off to bed in the caravan, excited about getting to visit the mountain above us.
A massive storm hit overnight and upon opening the caravan door we saw snow everywhere.
So with the mountain closed we had to push on to Tekapo to keep up with our schedule.
We arrived at Roundhill Ski Area and wow, what a place it was: so much so, that even with a heavy rainstorm hitting in the late afternoon, Lochie still wanted to keep skiing.
It’s so chilled out and relaxing skiing there with all the vehicles backed up to the snow, barbecues going and deckchairs out. It is like what you see on a summer’s day at the lake, just pure family time.
It was time to get ready for our next move, heading north to Fairlie, the home of Mt Dobson.
We set up camp at Allan Foote’s, whose family owns and runs Mt Dobson.
We headed off that morning to find out the mountain was closed and far too much snow over the road.
It was at this point Lochie said “Dad, it’s all good. Let’s head for Ohau and get that ticked off the list.”
A quick call to Ohau Lodge and it was on heading south.
We got there just as the weather changed, but the welcome we received was like seeing long-lost relatives.
We hoped for that 3pm clearing, but it never came.
Undaunted, Lochie said to me on the way back down the hill, “Dad, this place is a hidden gem in the mountains” and I had to agree.
Back at the caravan in Fairlie and the Footes’ hospitality, we were ready for a powder day at Mt Dobson.
It is unreal to think that over the years Lochie and I have driven past the gateway to Mt Dobson and never realised what lay above the clouds. We soon found out and I feel brassed off at myself we never visited sooner.
It was like being an adventurer finding that hidden oasis in the mountains.
The day ended in the car park with the whole crew around us wanting to ask questions about Lochie’s adventure, along with a lot of crew photos.
So that wraps up the lower South Island skifields, before we pack up and head to Canterbury. Lochie always comes up with names for things and his name for the three Mackenzie skifields is the “Three Musketeers”. It sure is fitting as they are so mysterious visit again.
The Givealittle page is called Lochie South to North.