2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-21
ABOVE: This snow cat is strong enough to
pull a large contingent of skiers close to Galtür,
Austria. LOWER: In Greenland, where there
are few roads and fewer ski lifts, snowmobile
is the best way of transporting skiers across
the heavily glaciated terrain.
tion. Some are mere relics from a bygone era
of skiing, while others were ill-conceived inventions from the very start.
The skiing hinterlands of New Zealand
offer a wide selection of lifts from the early
days of skiing. The rope tow was one of the
first ways that man used for moving skiers uphill. It was simple and inexpensive. While
many types of rope tows are still in use for beginners, people soon realized that this method
was much too strenuous for bringing people
up long distances of mountain. That is . . .
people everywhere outside New Zealand realized this fact.
New Zealand's ski areas are divided into
so-called commercial fields and club fields.
While the commercial fields are often not very
commercial at all, the club fields are much
more primitive. These small ski areas, operated by local ski clubs, are the last major bastion in the world for the endangered species
- the rope tow with a so-called nutcracker.
Upon paying one's lift ticket, one is given
a nutcracker - a piece of equipment used to
assist in riding the local rope tows. One end
of the nutcracker is attached to a rope or
chain, which, in turn, connects with a wide
belt placed around one's waist. The other
end is then clamped tightly around the moving rope tow, and one holds on for dear life
as one is hauled up the mountainside by this
You can imagine how you feel at the end
of the vacation after trying to survive this up-
Far West Skier's Guide 2O17 - 2O18 / Digital Edition Insert
pensive, is the snowmobile. The ratio of one
driver for one skier is bound to add a few dollars to the bill, but it is a much speedier way
to travel and is used in the large, remote glacial areas of Iceland and Greenland to get
skiers into position for some stunning descents. Iceland's Vatnajökull is not only the
largest glacier in Europe, it is larger than all
the glaciers of mainland Europe combined! It
is also so large, that the only practical way of
getting around on Vatnajökull is by snowmobile.
Greenland is not considered to be part of
Europe, but it possesses glaciers that make
Vatnajökull look like an ice cube. Some years
back, I visited the Apussuit Mountain Camp,
near Maniitsoq, in western Greenland. There
are no ski lifts at the camp, which houses a
maximum of 24 people, but skiers can either
go touring or take advantage of the four snowmobiles with drivers that are available there.
There are also many places in the world
where skiers can still ride up the mountain by
motorized contraptions that defy the imagina-
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