Cuba Ski Week

Ben Hume writes about the recent CUBA Ski Week, 4 days of skiing at Mt Olympus.

An odd scene to find yourself in, early Sunday, the Last weekend of the term, in the Foundry Bar car park?? Who, what, why, how? Well…skiing, of course. 4 whole days of it too, isn’t that a treat!

After a few dusty morning introductions and mandatory “Haha’s”, Twenty-something students piled into various vehicles and set sail west to Mt Olympus. With Sun in the sky and not a cloud in sight, it didn’t take long for the stoke to rise. Expectations were more then met by chalky in the shade, slushy in the sun snowpack. Some of the crew decided to get stuck-in right away while others thought it was better to ease their way into the week…

Coincidentally, James had the exact same approach and outcome at the bar later that night.

The crew brought in the first night with a quick hike and up to the back ridge, where we watched the sun set over the Rakaia Valley. For some, this was their first time in the clubbies so taking in such a view was pretty remarkable. And for most, this was the first view they’d taken in through something other than a Library, Lab or condensated student-flat window in quite some time. Ah, bliss.

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It’s amazing what nature will do to a person. I lost count at the number of “why would you live anywhere else”, “You don’t get that overseas” and eventually “F**K I love New Zealand” comments that were thrown round. But hey, maybe that’s just the $3 Double Browns or $15 House (bottle of) Wine doing the talking. Once the sun had set, it was time for a twilight ski back to the hut.

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We arrived back just as Chef Markos served up dinner, and we’re not talking your flatmates trusty bacon pasta. “Hume, you’ve under sold this whole thing so much” exclaimed on of the boys after his first bite. He hadn’t even seen the dress up box yet!

Queue the dress up box. The rest is history.

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Many a dusty frame woke to a grey-bird morning on day 2, a bit of a downgrade considering the T-shirt turns were greeted with the day before. This was quickly overshadowed by the pleasant surprise of a DIY full cooked breakfast, who needs to go skiing that early anyway?

Once the dust had settled it was all go at Mt Olympus, all of 40 skiers on the hill clogging up the lift lines and tracking out on the groomers. That’s just Monday in the clubbies for you I guess.

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Day 3 saw the weather deteriorate even more, though not enough to dampen our spirits. Local Celebrity Andy-Cameron Daniels kept the music bumping and the “Smokey Bushfire’s” flowing while we kept the Hot Tub well occupied. More than enough to keep the crew from getting restless. At least until, the dress up box comes out again.

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Images by Jackson White and Glen Chesterman.

Ben Hume is a regular contributor to Chill and explores the mountains with a Chill Season Pass

The Chill Pass

Chill Passes allow you to ski at up to 11 ski areas across the South Island. The flexibility to ski in the Waitaki, Mackenzie, Canterbury, Kaikoura and Nelson Lakes Districts is what makes the Chill Pass truly New Zealand's ultimate multi-mountain ski and snowboard pass. There are two types of passes, the Season Pass with unlimited access during the season, and the Travel Pass with a set number of clips for skiing and non-ski day options.