Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Alta your view.....

Well I did not think I would be making a natural ice post this late in the season...
Went to the Remarkables ski area today to try the new lift and to get a view of Lake Alta. Dave and I have been talking about skating there for a while.

Skied and walked across to Lake Alta to have a look at the snow ice.  The wind had been blowing and smoothed off one edge of the lake and it seemed hard enough to skate on.   Luckily I had my skates so skied back to the car to get the gear.  By the time I got back to the lake (after lunch by this time)  the snow and ice had softened but I still went for a kind of crusty skate.   First thing in the morning would have worked well I think.

The ice was snow ice packed on top of the original ice sheet. Very thick and hard to determine the depth.  I talked to a couple of local dudes and Dude 1 told me he was up there in October last year and there was still ice over the whole lake - he went up to swim but was unable too.  Walk time is about 40 minutes from the Ski base (according to Dude 1).

Worth investigating further!

View of Lake Alta - from the ski slope
Dave - (photo by Dude 2)
A crusty skate......

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Not frost....but ice!

Well... despite no frost overnight I decided to head up to the Lower Manorburn this morning and was treated to a great skate.  Smooth, hard dry ice.  Was a bit of a surprise as I thought it may have weakened and softened in the warmer temps.  Able to skate much of the main basin although it was creaky further out.  Water at either end of the main basin with an ice shelf up one side towards the neck.
Nice to cut a few curves....

Ice was weakening in the sun as I left.  If a few frosts come it might last a bit.

Fresh curves of fun - on smooth ice..
Enjoying the sun
Ice shelf towards the neck

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Still a bit of ice

Have heard this morning that there is still ice in Rush Cutters and a little way out on the Lower Manorburn.   Soft around the edges and firm further out.  

Lets hope for a frost tonight!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hardwater Kiting.....

Video from last Friday at Poolburn - kiting on a frozen lake... ( hard water :-)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Early start.... good ice...

Up early this mooring and Dave and I hit the Lower Manorburn before day break.  Had a fabulous dawn skate in the 'locked in' main basin.  Smooth hard ice.
We then headed for Poolburn to meet up with local skaters Jane and Inge.   We were treated to a good skate around the whole main bay and were able to skate out around the small island and into the next small bay before the sun started warming the ice (3.2km circuit).  Ice was a mixture of bumpy and smooth hard ice that gradually weakened as the day warmed up - but a rewarding skate for us all.
Dave and I were interested to see how much the ice had changed since yesterday mainly via wind effect and temperature change.     We have noticed over time how much Poolburn can change from day to day and each visit needs the ice checked anew.
The ice was not that thick and may hold if we get a few frosts.....

Jane and Inge around the Island
Jane, Inge and 2 Daves - Poolburn main bay
2 Daves take the Nordics for a spin.
Ice comes to the patient man.....

Manorburn: Great skating on main bay.  Locked in today.  Thin at the gorge and neck.
Poolburn: Main bay skate able but will need frost to hold the ice.  Ice weakening with warmer temps.
Idaburn:  30mm ice with snow on top.  Ice weak.   Not skate able 
Coalpit: Varying 25-40mm with water on top.  To weak today to skate but was skated in a small area last night (so we were told......)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ice and Kiting......

Today we headed straight for Poolburn hoping to catch more ice after a big frost in Alexandra.  Although the ice had not settled over the whole dam there was enough there to allow exploring a big bay away from our usual spot.  Ice varied from hard and a little bumpy to smooth ice - and even a little fresh black. Dave worked out a 2.5km circuit around an island and rocks and away we went.  Great skating and as often happens on Poolburn there was always lots to see and plenty of variety on the ice.
The wind picked up a little during the morning so I was able to spend a bit of time kiting on the ice - great fun but noisy!  My favourite combination - natural ice and kiting.

Later in the day we dropped in on the Lower Manorburn and had a primo skate on smooth fast ice.  With a few locals we skated into the darkness and were joined by more coming out to enjoy a night skate. Fabulous skating.

In all we spent seven hours on the ice and were glad of a rest at the end of the day.

Kite on Ice
Dave capturing the ice formations

Poolburn: - a skate for early starters if you take care
Lower Manorburn: - Great skating in the main basin.  Do it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back on the Ice!

Great day to today.  After watching the weather for the last week Dave and I decided the time was right for natural ice.  We headed to Poolburn and were pleasantly surprised to find some of the ice had come back and were lucky enough to get a skate in a sheltered area in one of the bays.  We then headed for the Lower Manorburn and had a couple of hours on the ice in the main basin.  Ice was hard and fast. We met up with a couple from Dunedin and along with a few locals a fine time was had by all with Keith setting a new dress code for 'au naturale' ice skating.  A satisfying skate and looking good again for the next day or two.

Dave P surveying his icy kingdom 
Dave Y on Poolburn
Keith setting new dress standards
Keith showing his moves
Ice scoot in action

Lower Manoburn - Good skating on the most of the middle basin
Poolburn - needs a frost or two but early skaters might get lucky
Idaburn - thin ice in parts - not yet ready for a skate
Coalpit - thin ice - need a good few frosts.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's only natural...ice!

A natural ice day!  Dave and I headed up to Poolburn for a day-break skate and while the ice was limited we had a great skate on black ice.  Unfortunately the temp was above freezing so we did not venture out too far.  A great place to visit in winter anyway.
We finished up with a skate on the Lower Manorburn dam.  Ice was hard and fast and we skated over most of the main basin.  Good to finally be on good ice which gave us confidence to play around a bit and good to see some of the locals out on the ice.
Weather outlook is not too flash though and these last days might be the best we get this winter....

Poolburn - 40-50mm of ice - only skate-able because it was hard black ice.  Already thawing when we left so not worth a visit unless there are a few frosts
Lower Manoburn - up to 65mm out in the main basin.  Good skating but weakening in warmer temps.

Dave and Dave
Finding thin ice......

Dave getting a lean on...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A winter's day...

Up this morning and out for an early morning skate on the Lower Manorburn Dam.  Great to have the first real free skate this year.
Dave P and I then headed for Poolburn Dam. Unfortunately we left the run a bit late and missed the safest ice but managed to have a skate around some of the edges of the dam.  Great to be up there though and Poolburn looked fab with a winter coat of snow around the edges.  We had a fine time exploring and enjoying the environment.
Finished off with another skate at Rush Cutters on the way back.   Hoping for another frost tomorrow.

Lower Manorburn is skate-able in Rush Cutters - if you go, skate early with the frost.  There is quite a bit of weed under the ice which weakens the ice so take care.   Ice 50-60mm thinning as you go out.

Poolburn - needs a big frost to thicken the ice.  (forecast not good)

Coalpit - about 10mm new ice in the shade.  Not close to skate-able
Idaburn 15mm on one side then going to water.     Not close to skate-able

A diversion on the way to Poolburn

Dave P on Poolburn


Monday, July 7, 2014

Digger's Day

Years ago when I first got into natural ice skating I asked an old dude called Digger how long he had been skating the Lower Manorburn Dam.  "Every year since ( something like) 1947," he replied. " Ice every year." I asked and he replied' "Yep at least 1 day."
We'll after such a bad start to the season I thought this year will be my first year not to skate but today was Digger's one day!  Had a skate this morning - a bit creaky but hey good to be on the ice.

Skated in parts of Rushcutters.  Ice elsewhere but not yet thick enough. 

The dam is one good frost away from good ice.  Hopefully tonight it will freeze again.

Saw lots of ice on a trip around today but not quite enough for a skate but good to be out on a winters day.

A dodgy skate........

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A bit colder..

On the way through Central Otago today I checked out a few of the ice spots.  Still no ice on offer.  A little bit (1cm) of new black ice in shaded places on the Lower Manorburn and only the odd skim elsewhere.
Colder weather is forecast for the rest of week so hopefully something will come of it.

Lower Manorburn

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Warm again

The Lower Manorburn yesterday with a skim of new ice.  Today the temp is +12 deg!

Photo by A.T.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ice...... wherefore art thou?

The warm and wet continues.... apart from two very cold mornings at home.  Nice to see a -3 for a change and the frost around all day yesterday in some shaded parts .... but rain on the way.

Ice report today:  two cooler nights have made a (very) thin skiff of  ice in Rush Cutters Corner at the Manorburn Dam.   Nothing much anywhere else........

Friday, June 6, 2014

Waiting again.......

Disappointingly warm weather since last Monday - along with rain has put ice hunting on hold for this weekend.

Hopefully we will get frost again soon........

Dave P checking out the skim of ice on Poolburn last weekend..

Sunday, June 1, 2014

First ice!

After cooler weather and a couple of frosts Dave P and I decided to check out the usual spots to see if there was any ice around.  A lot of water around due to the snow melt but we managed to get a small skate around parts of the edge at Coal Pit Dam.  The earliest in the season both of us have been on natural ice.
Great to be out and about in winter and to finish up with a bit of a skate.  Now if we had a few more frosts......

Dave P gets his skates on..
Dave Y

Manorburn - around 20mm - high water level - a few frosts will bring it on
Idaburn - a skim in part of the main area
Poolburn - 10mm in various parts along with open water

Ice pattens around the rushes - Manorburn