Snow Planet


The plan was to buy a new car (new to me anyway) then drive south and spend a four-day weekend reenacting the movie Ski School, except with prettier people. The plan had two major flaws.

  1. I’m very lazy and buying a new car means leaving the house, possibly a few times.
  2. All the people in ski movies are rich, and we’re not.  The option of camping or sleeping in the car lacks some glamor when it takes place at the bottom of a snow-covered mountain.

Though I’ve been telling people at work for weeks that we were going skiing I knew deep in my heart that I was lying.  As the imagined date got closer, reality set in and we needed an excuse to justify our preconceived decision not to drive our glorified go-cart 5 hours and up a snowy mountain without snow chains and spend $500 on 2 days of fun, we made an executive decision: who needs a mountain when you have Snow Planet!

Snow Planet is an indoor ski/snowboarding facility about 20 minutes north of Auckland. With minimal planning or expense Travis and I headed out Saturday night to spend four hours playing in man-made snow.

Upon arriving at Snow Planet we paid for our tickets, rented all our gear and took 10 minutes to dress.  You’d think snow boarding boots would be self explanatory, but mine took several minutes of focused problem solving skills to figure out how to lace up.  Don’t bother asking the people behind the counter for help, I don’t think they chose the job because of an inner desire to help people.  The kid told me I was fine when I walked up with the boots completely unlaced.  I don’t know much about snow boarding, but I can guess that the shoes are supposed to stay on your foot.

After Travis and I dressed and figured out the locker situation (you apply for your locker on a touch screen and pay for it with an ATM card. If I was to judge the rest of the world by the use of technology for something as simple as a little square locker we should totally have flying cars right now), we headed into the snow.

Snow Planet – Ninjas Only

Funny thing about snow, it’s bloody cold!  It has been at least five years since either of us have experienced snow, and I for one got a shock the first time I but my hand on the ground.  I quickly realized my crocheted glittens (gloves with a mitten cover) were not going to be the stars of the night.  Before I could get my snow board on I had two mittens full of snow, and ten very cold fingers.

The first attempt at snow boarding, for me anyway, was the bunny hill.  While the name leads you to think of a smallish hill that a bunny might enjoy hopping down, this “bunny hill” had more in common with a parking lot covered with ice.  After several minutes of throwing my weight back and forth as I descended the “hill” 3-4 inches at a time, I called it quits and headed for the only other hill in the place, the big hill.

It was at this point that Travis was finally able to have some fun.  He was up the snow hill in minutes enjoying his graceful, controlled descent down the hill.   While he was snow boarding I was learning how to use the ski lift.  It wasn’t a nice an easy, just sit on it deal, I found out much later that you are supposed to put the little pole with a circle at the bottom between your legs and get pulled up.  For the first hour this way of ascending the hill did not occur to me.  Instead I attempted to hang on to the thing like I was water skiing.  This particular technique usually only worked for a few feet before I fell and gradually perfected my duck and role so the guy running the lift didn’t have to stop the whole thing for me to move.  The shit thing about spending an hour falling off the lift two meters in is that this was still “bunny hill” territory.  Therefore, I had to scoot my ass for a few feet before giving up on the non-hill, taking off my board and walking back to the lift, and repeat.

A little over an hour I finally made it up to the top of the hill, I felt like dying as my manner of holding on was about as efficient as swimming with jeans on, but I made it to the top. It turns out that I am good at one part of snow boarding, going strait down very fast.  It’s fun, fast, and very gratifying after my retarded journey up the damn hill.  Though my talent would have been greatly enhanced if I had the ability to slow down, and/or stop.  Not having this ability I instead end my fast and fun downward descents by intentionally falling on my butt (each time sending snow, me and my hat flying in different directions).

I was still kind of impressed with myself until Travis mentioned that if I tried this on a mountain, instead of a small indoor hill, I would die.   I’m sure he’s very right in his observation (he does the cool swerving back and forth that you find in all the skiing movies), but either way, it’s been four days since my Snow Planet experience and my butt still hurts.  I think next time we go to snow planet, and we’ve vowed to head that way at least once a month, I will take a lesson.  I long for the days of slow and controlled snow boarding, followed by a cool still standing stop at the bottom.

Other important observations for people thinking of hitting the slope at Snow Planet:

Failure!

  • Snow is cold, bring real gloves.
  • The hot chocolate is Amazing.  I’m sure if I let it cool down I would be able to tip the cup over and eat it like a candy bar.
  • The marshmallows are gross.  They are sweeter and bigger then the American version, but these were then covered in powered sugar.  Imagine eating some corn syrup mixed with every kind of sugar served to you in a ball.  Gross.
  • All younger people will be better then you.  There was no one under 30 on the snow hill, and no one over 20 doing the jumps.  I guess it’s part of getting old.
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One Response

  1. thanks for the heads up a good honest blog ,cheers

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