By Neve Hopman, 06 October 2023
Cricket in the snow with AUTC (also Snowcraft 2)
In the car:
Me (Neve), purely VUWTC.
Jack, previously AUTC, recently VUWTC.
Reinhard, previously VUWTC, previously AUTC, currently wild bush man.
Despite having only come from Ohakune (we ditched uni and work in the middle of the week to make the most of the last of the ski season), by the time we got to the carpark it was fully dark.
On all my trips up to the TTC lodge I have never remembered to bring a functioning head torch, and this one was no exception. No fear, I’d done it before (pro tip, make sure the person with the brightest torch is behind you).
Reinhard (who I’m not sure is fully human sometimes) walked up to the lodge carrying 16 cans of beans, 40 frozen hash browns, various other food bits, and a box of goon. On top of that he did the half hour walk through snow and over volcanic rocks completely barefoot, just for the challenge of it.
My navigation skills seemed to disappear a few times on the way up, but we got to the Lodge (despite all odds), unloaded, and waited eagerly for our counterparts to join us. They trickled in, VUWTC first, AUTC not long after, we played some Coo (the love child of Coup and the excessive bird noises on the Queenstown Midwinter trip), then headed to bed.
On the Summit Mish:
Neve & Tommy (VUWTC), Reinhard & Jack (ambiguous), Terressa (Ex VUWTC), Sean, Emma, Colan, Aaron, Andrew, Lucy & Will (AUTC).
We were hopeful, we had two cricket bats, dry clothes, and a dream - a cross club cricket match on the summit of Ruapehu.
While the other VUWTCers headed out to do snowcraft, we headed straight up Noel Ridge at a cracking pace. It was raining and visibility was pretty poor so we popped into the NZAC hut for a quick lunch break. This lunch break extended when debates about inflation, the upcoming election and the future of the ski field (new business model: Ruapehu bike park?) began, and again when the snow crafters joined us and cracked out the cards. Before we knew it it had been 3 hours and the dream of summiting had withered and died. We decided we’d settle for a game of cricket a little bit past the hut.
The cricket, unlike the summiting, was a roaring success, the snowy pitch allowed for heaps of dramatic running dives, although it did stop the ball from bouncing or rolling at all. We managed to play for a whole twenty minutes before the ball fell apart (new business model: alpine proof cricket balls?).
By this time it was quickly approaching 6pm which is when we said was the latest we’d be out, so back to the TTC Lodge it was. Some via snowboard, some by sled, most by foot. The weather had been terrible all day, but the whole mountain decided to clear just in time for sunset, making many of us question just how dangerous a summit mish in the dark would be (very dangerous, not a good new business model). Thankfully we were deterred from our schemes by dinner and desert, an absolute feast cooked up by AUTC.
After dinner the real competition began, as per tradition; sock wrestling. For any readers who don’t know, sock wrestling is where two contestants fight to get the other's sock, and the first one to get a sock off wins. This was heated, many of us were determined to take the title of champion from Jack, last year's winner. In the process two pairs of socks were ruined (new business model: stretch proof sock wrestling socks?), and a few bodies were bruised. In the end Jack and Reinhard fought for the top spot, soundtracked appropriately by ‘I’m just Ken.’ It was tense, they were so evenly matched they had to break twice, once to shake hands and sing along to the Ken song, and once to lie down in each other’s arms (new business model: men expressing their feelings instead of physically fighting?). Jack won in the end, undefeated, reigning champion. I was eager to claim this as a win for VUWTC, but he couldn’t confirm or deny this, as he has membership with us, but history with AUTC.
We had a lazy morning and an excessive number of pancakes and brekkie cooked up by VUWTC. It was pretty gourmet if I say so myself. We faffed, talked shit, and headed home, some via the hot pools, some via a high line, some via the Taihape opp shop. We never figured out which club technically won the cricket match, or the sock wrestling, or the cook off, but maybe that wasn’t the point, maybe the newest business model was the friends we made along the way.
From VUWTC to AUTC, may the love affair and constant membership changes between our clubs be long and fruitful. <3