At this time of year, all the skiing that's any good is happening south of the equator, with the exception of skiing on the glaciers. So, I have decided to bring you a little news from that part of the globe. PAUL

From New Zealand we hear that they had "a significant weather event." That's how Jim from the Earth Sciences Department at Victoria University described the storm that hovered in to view about 16 August. The other Jim on TV showed us stacked isobars heading "down to about 65 degrees
South with the Antarctica coming up to around 75 deg South" and puts out a "stock watch".

Hamish from the Remarkables reports at 6am on the 17th "a spectacular light show from lightning way out to the west coast so something is sitting there". And so we got deposited
on in the Queenstown area with some good snowfalls over several days.

Meanwhile further North Mt Dobson, Mt Hutt and Porters Heights were the three fields that got dumped on. And we mean dumped. 1.8 metres of dumping. Now that takes some dumping. The whole of the Canterbury region got a big weather kick with flooded rivers wiping out road and rail links and snow to low levels hammering the poor old lambs.

While all this was going on Fiordland and the west coast basked in clear and warm weather.

4 seasons in one day.

Well we have said it before and we will say it again. Once you say it, it has already changed. That's what it has been like this winter with big snowfalls followed by warm weather and a rapid melt down then just as we settle in to spring conditions it snows again. Winter woollies rapidly alternating with summer short sleeves.

Take the last snow cycle as an example. 18 / 19 August was the big dump with some serious snow. This was followed by three weeks of gradually warmer weather, rapidly rising snow levels and an increasingly loud clamor from heretics about summer activities. Just as things were starting to look particularly drastic bingo we get some more snow. Got to love that. Those North gendered winds give the snow areas a bit of a hammering in between the snow falls but funny thing is the skiing and riding goes off! Solid underneath with a soft layer fit for carving and slashing.

Then we get a nice top up from the big storm and things are looking white again. Half pipes, terrain parks and backcountry areas are off limits as the staff scurry to check the hazards
and reshape the pipes.

Meanwhile powder crazed skiers and riders chomp at the bit to get up, and out and involved after each new layer. The nice thing about new snow? It's soft when you crash!

The snow on the Thursday 7th was a bit wet but Friday the weather came more from the west so it was quite a bit drier. There was so much snow by the 9th of September that campervans
were banned from many mountain roads and chains were required on all vehicles including 4WD's. "Lifts scheduled to open progressively. Please be patient" many of the snowfields warned.

++ Treble Cone - 1.2 metres plus in last 4 days

When it comes to regular large snow falls then TC is the one. I mean look at the average annual snow fall - 5.5 meters. Hetty from Treble Cone is so excited with the huge falls and
brilliant conditions she has gone completely unwrapped ....

"Another powder day!! Yet another 35-50cms at base last night and up to a meter of fresh powder on the upper mountain." "To celebrate all the new snow, we're having a Moro day on Friday 15th September and you're invited. Just bring any Moro bar wrapper to the ticket office on Friday 15th and we'll give you a lift pass for only $10! Special applies on Friday 15th September only."

8 September and it's a true powder day - legendary in fact. 9 September the road is closed (temporarily ) and it's snowing down to lake level and very dry snow. Ooooh aaah.

++ Coronet Peak - 80 odd cms in the last 3 days

Saturday 19 August saw the Rocky Gully T-Bar open for the first time this season. Now that's some progress! The next Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday on the peak were phenomenal with the weather staying a little bit schmoee which helped keep the hordes away and a nice little touch up each day. Session of the season one would have to say - so far anyway!

With recent storms the snow at Coronet has become pretty damn nice. She is a ski and ride everywhere experience again.

>++ Remarkables - 75 cms in the last 4 days

Some supreme skiing and riding at the Remarks. Hamish's call for Sunday 20th August was Toilet Bowl and Chris Vile from Boarderzone confirmed it. He did it three times!

Primo Terrain Park on the sugar bowl lift and the Ozone Tubing Park have been going off as have the family days. Reports of NZ film guru Peter Jackson wondering around in shorts and gumboots unrecognized. The photo shows the double cone of the Remarkables on the left skyline. Check out the extreme terrain leading down in to Lake Alta. The NZ freeskiing champs were held in the Alta Chutes which are on the left side but out of shot. Click here to see a blow up of the shot.

Looking mighty fine with a good cover of natural and some nice freshies. Big drifts off piste.

All four pipes are shaped up and maintained daily. The Monster really is living up to it's name. A quarter pipe has been shaped up for the last couple of weeks at the bottom of the

The Wonderpark 2000 is 'flying ' really well although if it's foggy expect the park to be closed for safety reasons. The 3 original HUGE hits and two smaller jumps plus the funbox and 2 rail slides make an excellent run to play on. Amuse yourself AND the people on the chair above.

>++ Waiorau Snow Farm

Well as part of the pre wedding celebrations a good sized group of eager skinny skiers headed off to the top of the Pisa range. Donning the sand shoe like boots and fragile looking
skatie skis we headed out high on the Pisa to the Bob Leigh Hut about two hours langlauf away. A support team was heading up with provisions in the snow cat so the load was light.

Amazing what a bit of anaerobic ( Oh I know it's meant to be aerobic but we found a bit of downhill on the way) exercise can do for your appetite and the spread awaiting us at the hut
was eagerly consumed.

The Bob Leigh hut is at the edge of the Waiorau Snow Farm and offers spectacular views out over the Wanaka basin. Our return via the scenic route "River Run" was somewhat more orderly than the mornings effort but it sure was good to see the base facilities again - as that Finnish world champion woman skated past on her second circuit at a blistering pace ...

All in all a lovely day in the hills, some new muscles discovered and the Speights at the Cardrona Hotel went down a treat. X country skiing - give it a go.

Well you know sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you just have to tell someone and brag. You have found the perfect run or you are at the bestest party or the waves are going off.

It was a bit like that for me on Friday. 20 - 30 cm's of freshies, not many people around and every line you take proving to be a winner. So I had to ring Murray. 4 runs in to the day, plenty more to come and poor old Muzza on the 13th floor of the office block in Auckland.

We are good mates so you can believe he understood the need for me to gloat and acted appropriately. Contrite that he was living a life of responsibility and reason. Cursing that he
wasn't there. Smug that I had spread the word far enough I slipped in to the queue to find much to my angst that the lift had stopped. More than stopped .... it was empty!

Quickly realizing that something was way amiss and that the T-Bar hadn't fired up for the day I zipped over to the triple before the now considerable queue of frothing snow seekers
realized their plight. Yep, 10am, one of the top 5 mornings of the season and there was only one serious lift operating. Doh!

So I did the only reasonable thing. From the top of the triple I headed over to the elephant pit, eerily quiet with empty chairs my only witness, and in honor of Murray got first tracks for the season on the east face of Elephant Pit. All 3 turns.

And I thought as I abandoned the mono mountain at 10.30am, Murray mate, those 3 turns were for you.

A classic little local surf and snow event.

Friday 22 September is the boardercross on Coronet Peak followed by a quick roady down to Riverton and some White Water Waves at Porridge on Saturday. Saturday evening is the Post Porridge Party and Prize Giving with a hangi and music to dance. Picture yourself wandering under a stadium of stars to try your luck at native Kiwi spotting." Those of you regulars will have heard me rave about the Mt. Cook National Park backcountry. So you will realize why I wondered ( for a split second ) about applying for this job to die for!

"Conservation Officer ( Emergency Services )"

"Aoraki / Mt Cook Area is a great place to live and work if you are a climber or skier."

"Some of New Zealand's best outdoor terrain is at your backdoor. Steep alpine rock and ice, awesome glaciers .... you need to be a climber, hold you own as a skier in the backcountry and capably swing a hammer."