Lochie Win (7), of Pisa Moorings, has set himself a goal slopes in the country to raise 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. His dad, Luke, reports.
Well, there we were waiting at Mt Cheeseman for the snow storm to end so we could get out and cut some tracks.
Lochie and I had decided to make the most of some spare time and catch up on sleep.
We had just drifted off when there was a knock on the door.
“Boys wake up, we have fired the T bar up for you.”
The weather had cleared, and I think it was the quickest Lochie and I had ever got ski-ready.
Here we were in knee-deep fresh snow, and I must say it was some of the best snow we had ever skied in.
The weather soon changed, and it was time to get back into the lodge to get warm.
We were both buzzing. This new snowfall had us hooked on the snow chaser life, it’s addictive!
I always used to wonder how could anyone chase the winter around the world and not have a summer, well I can see why now.
The feeling of freedom, standing on top of mountains, cutting tracks in fresh snow and spending time with like-minded people who love snow just as much as us makes for some of the most enjoyable memories you will ever have.
But we were not prepared for what happened next, just like most of New Zealand.
We had just sat down for tea in the lodge, amped to get out on the snow the next day weather was meant to be good.
The crew had even been working flat out to clear the road so the Newshub crew could get up to meet Lochie and get some footage of him skiing, we were buzzing.
Next minute the phone rang, it’s Lochie’s mum Rebecca.
“Have you seen the news?” she asked.
“No, we are to busy talking about how cool tomorrow is going to be on fresh snow,” we reply.
“You better turn the news on, we are going into lockdown!” Rebecca said.
“Yeah, right!” we said.
“Great joke to try get us home early mum.”
“No, I’m serious, boys, we are going back into lockdown,” she said.
Just the way Rebecca said it, I knew it wasn’t a joke wish it was.
What happened next was full on and an experience I will never forget.
Over the past 18 months with Covid-19, we have always been around home when the lockdowns have happened.
So imagine being snowed-in in an alpine mountain lodge. People from all over New Zealand and staff working on the ski field who stay on-site for the season were told we all needed to leave as soon as possible.
You could feel the tension in the room, and the worry that everyone felt.
Where were some of these people going to go?
“I don’t have anywhere to stay, I don’t even have a car, what will we do?” I heard them say.
Lochie grabbed my hand and pulled on it and said “Dad, dad, are we going to be OK? Should I be worried?”
It was at this point I realised I needed to show him how we always need to stay positive in any situation and that’s how you will always make the right decisions.
I knelt down and said to him, “Mate, remember how we have been learning about keeping calm if we were to get caught in an avalanche and make the right call?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Well, mate, this is one of those situations.
“We will be sweet as, we just need to get our things packed and get ready to head for home. It’s going to be a long night.”
Then I looked into his eyes and said, “Just remember, mate, Dad will keep you safe.”
As soon as I said that he was happy keep him safe, that’s all he wanted to hear.
From there time went real quick.
We got down to the ute, only to find it was snowed in, to the point we had to dig it out.
But we got sorted and said bye to the crew.
It was one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever said. We had only met these guys a few days before, but it almost felt like we were retreating from an approaching war, unsure what would happen to everyone.
It was hard. I guess in some ways this virus does feel like a war, one we can’t see.
The drive off the mountain that night was probably the silver lining of a bad situation there we were, snow falling, beech trees hanging low with snow.
We made it only as far as Castle Hill, to our caravan.
When we got there we were informed that Porters Pass was closed due to heavy snow.
We stayed the night in the hope the road would be open the next morning so we could get home.
Daybreak arrived and the road was clear for home.
We had around a six and a-half hour drive ahead.
Looking into the windows of oncoming vehicles and seeing the faces of others trying to get home, you could see the same worries we had seen in the faces of the people we had been with at the lodge the night before.
The drive home felt far longer and all the fresh snow on the mountains was hard to look at with only six ski fields left to tick off we didn’t know if we would get back out there.
We got home to find Rebecca waiting in the driveway for us. We had been away from home for well over five weeks.
It was good to be home but sad at the same time, thinking of all the great people we had met, hoping they were all OK and safe from this outbreak of Covid-19.
Because, after all, Lochie and I both feel the same about all the new friends we have made along this snow adventure. They are now part of our family snow family.
Bye for now.
Lochie and Luke.
Inspired by Lochies journey? Support him by donating to his givealittle page here