Skiing a Maori Legend
New Zealand is famed for it's harsh weather and rugged landscape.
And it lived up to that reputation. Travelling with the Salomon Freeski TV crew, we hoped to ski the iconic volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park—Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro—to capture the richness of the traditional Maori legends and culture and the dramatic scenery.
It took 3 days to even get a glimpse of the peaks that are held sacred to the Moari people. Some of the strongest winds we had ever encountered threatened to literally blow us off the mountain each time we tried to venture higher up and left us feeling that the mountains were not yet ready to invite us up to their lofty summits.
Spending time with Ma and and her son Hayz learning of the respect and guardianship the Maori feel towards the peaks, we were humbled and inspired. It wasn't until we embraced the simple joy of skiing slushy groomed runs with some of the Maori youth that Ruapehu granted us passage to his upper reaches. While the gale force winds reminded us of how volatile those volcanoes can be, the clouds parted just long enough to display some of the most incredible views and light we have ever seen.
It was a trip where much of the beauty and experience remains imprinted only in our memories and not on film. That, however, stands testament to the fact that Tongariro and the surrounding high plateau is a place best experienced by venturing there yourself.