Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lower Manorburn turns it on...

Matakanui Diggings
Up early this morning with the frost and headed to the Lower Manorburn at daybreak.  Wow great ice for this late in the season.  Was able to skate the whole middle basin and into the gorge a bit.  Before I left I walked up the track and had a skate in the upper basin - unable to skate thru the neck as there was water showing. Unusually I was able to skate on the sunny side nearly to the neck - the shady side ice was too thin.  Great ice all round - smooth and hard.
Finished of the skate with a visit to the Matakanui Diggings and had a skate on the main pond.  About 100mm of green ice in the shady side and although not big area, great skating.  Nice spot surrounded by the cliffs and trees.  Wind was softening the ice as I left but a great way to finish the season!
Interesting place to skate - Matakanui
Resting just before the neck on the Maonorburn
Sunrise looking from the gorge to the main basin - Lower Manorburn

Aerial view of Rushcutters  (left)  Click to enlarge.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Unexpected skate...

Having heard nothing much about the Lower Manorburn over the last week of big frosts I decided to check it on the way through Alexandra this afternoon.   As I approached Alex all the usual signs of ice where there (despite the day being warm) so I was not surprised to see some ice in the middle basin but was not expecting to see it thick enough for a skate.    Good hard ice! Had a skate in Rushcutters but not sure about the rest as it was getting creaky due to the warm day.
Good to be on smooth ice again after the week of snow ice.  Fab.
Hopefully it will hold till tomorrow with a frost.
Looking out of Rushcutters
Good ice!
Wish people cared as much as those who put the sign up....

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Hoff and the Coal

Dave and I were up early this morning for a dawn skate on Hoffmans Dam.  The whole dam was locked in snow ice.  Able to skate the perimeter including the tail.  Good access despite the snow on the track.  Great skate.
Afterwards I went around to finish off with a skate on Coalpit (after a quick creaky explore of Lower Coalpit).  Good skating on the frosted black ice with hard and bumpy snow ice on the rest of the skate able area.  The snow has been good to us this late in the season.
 Probably our last skate this year as the ice does not feel as if it can take any warm weather.

Dave P on Hoffmans
Aerial shot of Coalpit.  Variation in the ice is so interesting.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Night skate!

Yesterday Dave (P) and I talked about the possibility of a mid week skate while the frost were still here so this afternoon we downed tools as soon as we could and headed to Coalpit in the hope that the snow ice would still be in.
Great to find much of the dam still skate able. We had a fab skate into the evening with the ice improving as the night cooled down.  The snow ice was hard - a bit bumpy - with a good area of frosted black ice.  Needed a bit of care is some places.
Great night to be out on a frozen pond ringed by trees but open to the starry sky.  A real pleasure!
Pleased to catch mid week ice...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

No hassle - Hoffmans Dam

Hoffmans Dam
Big frost this morning got me up and away to look for ice.  We have had a few days of snow showers in the hills so thought about looking for snow ice.
Headed straight to Coalpit Dam as it would be the most sheltered.  Temp when I arrived was -9!  Good part of the dam was snow ice hard enough to skate on.  New black ice in some parts but too thin for skating and a some water showing. Had fun cruising around on the hard bumpy ice.  Cold though and eventually had to get my heated gloves and a face mask!
Checked out Hoffmans Dam afterwards and ended up with a great skate.  The whole dam including the tail was locked in snow ice - bit bumpy in places but good skating. Thinner in the main area so care was needed.  Hoffmans looked fabulous with snow on the surrounding fir trees - a real treat and hard to leave.
Sun coming up on Coalpit
In the tail of Hoffmans
Looking down the tail of Hoffmans
Shards bro....
Also visited the old curling rink up behind Naseby (pic below)
Old curling rink.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The lure of frost....

Rush Cutters
Two good frosts lured me to the Manorburn Dam this morning.  I knew there was a small amount of ice left in Rush Cutters so decided to check it out.  The old ice had become skate-able with around 20mm of new ice over the main basin.  The new ice was too thin but had a fun wee skate in the corner.  Surface was hard and a bit bumpy.  Caught up with Inge when she came down to check it out.
Decided to drop in to Poolburn on the way back. The road had a bit of snow on it but was well frozen so a good drive.
My intention was to see if I could skate in a pond near the lake but checked the main lake.  Surprised to see it covered in snow ice.  The ice was 'double' ice - a layer of ice under water then water topped off with another layer of snow ice - not good for skating at all (and thin).  Headed to the small bay and found a strip of ice around the edge and at the head of the bay that was skate-able.  Fab!  Ice was hard under a thin layer of snow.  Good skating - smooth and quiet - great skate for such a bad season.

Poolburn - Baby Bay
Shadow Mountains - Poolburn
Light cover of snow - smooth and quiet

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Snice! Snow Ice

Lucky enough to get a bit of a skate today.  While in Queenstown today I spotted a possible skate and after a bit of a walk down an icy track from the ski field I had a skate on snow ice.  The ice was hard, a bit bumpy but good to skate on.  Great to get the skates on again!   Well worth the slippery walk although I not sure how 'ok' it was to skate there.
Visited the Lower Manorburn on the way home and was surprised to see a bit of ice in Ruchcutters.  Melted around the edge and did not look as though it would be there long.  No sign of ice anywhere else on the trip.

Snow ice - bumpy but good skate!
Lower Manorburn.
Wind blown ice at Lower Monorburn.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Poolburn Black

Coalpit aquarium 
Up to Poolburn at day break this morning and was treated to
 a spectacular sunrise.  Great to be out on black ice enjoying the atmosphere.  New black at the edge of the older ice and thick enough to skate.  Had a great skate down to the far bay - black ice all the way. Wow.  The older ice felt quite slow once I was back on it.  Maybe the last good ice before the weather turns.
Old the way home I dropped into Idaburn for a few turns around the main bay.  Good ice but melting in the warm wind.  Then on to Coalpit and what a surprise.  Clear ice across the whole dam.  Great skating (avoiding all the  debris near the pier!) and at times so clear it seemed like I was skating on a aquarium.  Fab.
Big winds and rain expected over the next few days - might loose all the ice.

The caravan again... 
Clear as bro

Monday, July 11, 2016

Glacier Ice!

Up very early today and headed to Mt Cook to see if there was chance of a skate on Tasman Glacier Lake (after some good frosts).  The lure of the bergs was strong.  Reached the lake on day break to a awesome site - the ice bergs looked fabulous.  Unfortunately there was to be no berg skating this time as the ice was strong and hard but too thin to safely skate.  I did find place to skate but was unable to reach the big chunks of ice.  The ice was an amazing colour and hard and fast.  Care need to be taken as the colour of the ice hid open water well.
After a good skate I left Tasman and explored the nearby 'Blue Lakes' (they looked green!)  Skated on the bottom lake and the top one.  The top lake had the best ice I have skated on - fresh hard and (green) clear.  Middle lakes were dry.   Just fab.
Next was a walk to Mueller Glacier and was pleased to be able to skate in behind the island on Mueller Lake.  What a fabulous backdrop to skate under.  Great ice - smooth and hard - so smooth it felt wet but was dry.  Hard to leave.
Headed back to finish off with a skate on the Lower Manorburn - again very good ice especially in the upper basin. The drive down to Omarama was spectacular through the hoar frost.
Big day but most satisfying!
Tasman Glacier Lake
Ice Berger
Blue (Green?) Lakes
Mueller - what a backdrop
Upper Basin - Lower Manorburn

Ice report:  Lower Manorburn has good ice in the main and upper basin.  Skate with the frost.
Mt Cook:  Mueller has some skate able ice behind the island but would need a good check to see if it is still ok.  Blue Lakes have ice but only the top one is free from (thrown) stones. Top lake has fabulous ice.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Better ice today

Headed up to Poolburn early today with Dave P.  More ice overnight and much more stable.  Much of the main bay was skate able and we had a fabulous skate all around Claw Bay.  Good hard ice until it warmed up.  Was interesting to see the effects of the wind and snow in places - piles of wind blown ice and unusual freezing pattens caused by the light snow cover.
 I left Dave up there to camp overnight  and headed off to check out a new spot and was treated to amazing black ice.   Could not get off as it was so smooth and hard.  You know you have had a great day skating when you have to get back to the car by head light.

...just resting....

wind effects

Hard black ice - the best...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Variable Ice... but a big day...

After a few big frosts a check at Poolburn was a must.  Surprised to find such variable ice and a lot of water.   There had been snow up there and some of the snow had reformed into skate able ice but care had to be taken as thickness varied.  Ice was a very dull colour - most unusual.
Found good ice a few bays over and had the best skate of the season.
A light breeze came up so was able to get out the kite for a bit of a kite-skate.  About 6hrs on the ice all up.  Great fun.  Also had a skate on a tarn on the side of the track.
Headed down to finish with a skate in RushCutters and then off to meet Dave to plan the next skate.

Round the rocks
A light wind - kite time.
Lots of hazards.

Ice Report:  Idaburn - up to 20mm.  To thin to skate
Poolburn: Has some skate-able ice if you look for it but variable with a lot of water showing. Risky.  Track good.  Lower Manorburn:  Skate able in Rush Cutters corner - maybe a bit further out if you skate with the frost.  Take care and check to ice first!!