Okay, here’s a meaning of life question for you people: is a ski holiday the best honeymoon you can have?
Well that’s a yes from me. Thirty six years after convincing (conning?) Mrs Snow Action into tying the knot, not only are we still together (locked down for weeks unable to see anybody except ourselves in fact) our honeymoon trip to Mt Hutt segued into a business a few years later.
As a Costa Rican, skiing was not exactly top of mind for the soon-to-be wifey. Though I used to drag her off to Mt Selwyn every other Monday on our day off from running a restaurant in Canberra. We didn’t add Race Course at Selwyn to our best Australian ski runs competition, but back then it was about my limit.
When I announced I had booked the NZ ski trip she responded,
“You idiot! Why would I want to go somewhere even colder than here?”
Or words to that effect.
We got one short holiday a year from the restaurant business, so she wasn’t impressed by my choice.
Luckyily, I had a rare light bulb moment.
“Okay, let’s get married the day before and it’ll be a honeymoon, not a ski trip.”
She sort of agreed, cancelling everything and changing her mind only a couple of time in the intervening 3 weeks. For legal eagles, yes, you needed 30 days notice of marriage intentions back then. Luckily the lady at the front desk in the registry office turned out to be a regular of our “Famous Vegie Burger” takeway menu, so she back dated it for me.
Reluctant partner and legal requirements sorted, we tied the knot and took off to ski next day.
Best holiday ever. If you have limited time a package ski trip that maximises your on snow time is the best way to do that.
Every morning the land cruiser shuttle pick up came past at 8:30am on the dot and off we hustled up the access road for a full day scaring our pants off at Hutt.
Compared to Selwyn, Mt Hutt might as well be Mt Everest.
Yes, the Quarry drop at Selwyn was scary. But Hutt was so big. The views were amazing. The runs were long. And sooooooo steep compared to anything I had ever skied before.
The Towers? How did people ever ski that I thought, taking the zig-zag track across below it and looking up enviously.
Our 7 day package with Newmans Bamfords included a bonus ski lesson, which I took about day 3. Actually the first ski lesson I had ever had anywhere. It must have improved something. I still remember the instructor telling us to pretend there was a little man on the tip of our skis and to flic him off with our pole when making a turn.
I got the flic part down, but never could remember which ski to flic him off.
Basically we would just ski at our crappy level going as fast as we could for as long as we could without too many stacks. As the week wore on leg-seize-up time stretched out to mid-afternoon. By the end of the week we felt we could ski. Seriously.
Aprés skiing followed a similar learning curve: the more we did, the better we got at it.
Sunny September afternoons on the footpath outside the Blue Pub. It was chocker there in those days – Hutt was probably Australia’s #1 favourite overseas ski destination in 1985. Queenstown was too far to get to with no direct flights, and too unreliable with no snowmaking at Coronet Peak. North America and Europe were only for the wealthy, or those doing seasons. And Japan? Only John Morrell was skiing Japan in the 80s!
So Methven, sleepy little Methven, was probably livelier at night then it is today. You are probably not allowed to sit in the gutter catching rays and downing DB or Steinies either anymore. The arvo sessions led into live music most nights. We met heaps of fellow revellers, and had a great time.
Only downside was crawling out of bed in time to get the shuttle. But upside of that was being forced to ski full days, every day.
After our week of skiing we hired a tiny 2 door car and did a 3 day circuit over to the West Coast, down past the glaciers, back up the dirt over Haast Pass to Wanaka and Queenstown and back to Christchurch. A huge trip that left us thirsting for more of NZ next time. And of course, more skiing!
On follow up trips to NZ we tried all sorts of things to save money by not doing a package trip and went all over both islands. But we never, ever got more concentrated ski time in then that first honeymoon trip.
So for my money, ski honeymoon, best holiday and idea ever.
“Romantic and a lot of fun. We had a fabulous time. My little Japanese instructor was so good, she gave me the confidence to relax and enjoy skiing.”
She didn’t say so for this article, but I’m still here, so she seems to have got used to the married part of the equation.
As for the skiing, well I doubt any other Costa Ricans have skied half as many places as Carmen has! Or own as many beanies.
Certainly not this one, the wild Mallin Alto snowmobile ski “lodge” in Patagonia where we spent our anniversary 5 years ago listening to the winds howl outside (and inside!) our geodesic dome.
So OK, we know a snow holiday honeymoon is a great idea.
But lads, the sad truth is you will probably have to up the ante these days.
A Methven lodge and rocking up the access road daily may not quite cut it. Ski in ski out perhaps? Spas? In room onsen? Luxury? Pampering? And a totally romantic destination?
Probably all of the above! That’s progress.
We actually paid for our wedding and honeymoon from several month’s tips jar funds back then. Good luck with doing it on a reasonable budget now.
Pop the question, plan the big trip..