Snowboarding at Mount Ruapehu

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We rose early, stoked the fire, dusted off our snowboarding gear, gave Wesley some kisses and gently left the house to drive two hours to the nearest mountain: Mount Ruapehu.

On a clear day this mountain can be seen from the end of our quaint little road, beyond the chrysanthemum farm, dairy farms, pine trees and sweeping fields.  It’s vast peak has been slathered with snow most of this winter, and staring at it from a distance was really fuelling our need to strap into our boots and hit some snow.

Mount Ruapeh is 2797 meters tall, and is actually an active volcano.  It last erupted September 25, 2007.

I was three months postpartum.  I’d been running daily and doing leg exercises to get my strength back (my arms however are like steel guns lifting our heavy boy each day – no need to work on those!).

It was just before sunrise when we left. The morning light made for a beautiful drive.

We’d waited for this day for a few weeks, and the anticipation of getting onto the mountain was pretty high.  Slowly we journeyed forward… The mountain gaining height every moment we caught a glimpse of it.

We arrived.

The lines were long.  Very long.

Being a clear blue sky day, just about everyone from the North Island had turned up to enjoy the snow like we had.  Eventually, we boarded a lift and made our way up to the highest point.

It then hit me.  I did not feel confident… I felt wobbly and completely out of my depth, when I skid over some ice.  I caught my balance only to hit another patch and land very hard on my tush.  I lay down and cried.  It was like a car had slammed into me. It hurt so badly.  My right bum cheek was aching and sending pain up into my spine.

Not looking forward to the journey down the rest of the mountain (I sobbed to Mike) that I didn’t want to do this at all.  There was no other option but to keep moving down the hill.

I thought, perhaps it would pass and that I’d be ok in a few minutes.  We took a break at a cafe in the middle of the hill.  Mike headed out to do a few runs while I enjoyed the view and tenderly sat on my tush.

An hour had passed, and Mike returned – telling me he had only managed one run as the line had a 40 minute wait.  Yikes!

During the hour, I noticed the vibrating pain did not lessen at all.

It took me an hour (and a few more tears) to get down the rest of the mountain.  Afterward we took our time and enjoyed a scenic drive home, and I braced my body against every bump on the road.

It’s been 6 weeks since that day.

And while I can actually sit down now and stand without too much discomfort, it’s definitely still sore and I will probably always think of my tail bone and that insane pain when I see that beautiful snowy mountain in the distance.

 

Snowboarding in Hakuba, Japan

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.12.22 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.13.29 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-07 at 4.51.03 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.16.10 PM I really admired this guys style… clothing wise anyway, I didn’t get to see his skills.  Either way, it’s a really sweet outfit.  The Japanese fashion on the mountain is really cool.Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.15.32 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.14.22 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.14.10 PM  Selfie sticks are everywhere… Then again Mike and I were shooting with my massive Canon.

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I had this deep fried chicken burger (which was full of actual real chicken meat, both dark and lighter) for lunch (my vegetarian diet has literally gone out the window).  It was GLORIOUSLY moist, and crisp.  The seaweed and light sauce made it rich and unique.  I couldn’t finish it, and I now have major indigestion… thank god I’ve got some medicine here to help sort out my tummy troubles, as I’ve been burping up a storm since lunch.Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.13.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.13.23 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.13.17 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.13.08 PM

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We chose Hakuba for a few reasons when we decided to take this trip to Japan.

  • There are 5 ski hills that we can choose to go to (a shuttle leaves a few times each morning and comes back midday, and later in the afternoon).
  • The snow here is insane.  Each year Hakuba is covered in about 14 metres of snow.
  • The area is not flooded with Australians, which makes our experience feel more authentic.  There are a few other regions in Japan that are more touristy, but this one at the moment is mostly frequented by Japanese people.
  • The area is very close to some special creatures which we’ll have the luxury of meeting on Monday/Tuesday (can you figure out who we will be meeting?)
  • It’s not very hard to get to from Tokyo.

Have you been to Hakuba?  What were some of the highlights for you?

UPDATE:

I have been belching like a man for 8 hours…

 All photos of the lady in the white jacket – Credited to Michael Cresswell Copyright – 2015