Our two Year 12 Sports Science classes recently travelled to Mt Ruapehu for the annual Aquinas snow trip. Unfortunately, the trip did not go exactly as planned as recounted by Angus Donaldson, Assistant Leader of Learning Health & Physical Education.
The trip began with an early morning 5:30 a.m. start. Things were tracking ahead of time until the pit stop in Taupo when word came through that the mountain was shut for the day due to poor weather. With our plan to stay in a lodge on the mountain now curtailed and all of our food stuck in the lodge, we needed to pivot sharply. Initiate Operation Plan B.
After a PAK’nSAVE shop to get dinner and food supplies, we were en route to the Ruapehu Ski Club chalet at the Whakapapa Village, hoping for improved conditions the next day.
Morale remained high despite the setback and numerous games of cards ensued. Dinner was prepared and cooked by the teacher and parent staff, with students describing it as a fusion of gourmet Indian butter chicken with ala carte sophistication. Needless to say, the meal was met with rave reviews. After dinner, ghost stories were shared and Mr Watson retold a few old war stories. Hopes remained high for great mountain conditions the next day.
Unfortunately, Day 2 brought blizzard conditions and we were snowed into the chalet. All roads in and out of Whakapapa Village were closed. This did little to dampen the spirits though as we got out and about the village, exploring the Whakapapa Chateau, creating snowmen and snowwomen, and making the most of the snowy conditions.
Things turned sour turn when a group of students turned on Mr Donaldson and viciously attacked him with snowballs. Once the group returned to the chalet all focus turned to dinner prep. As all the food was up the inaccessible mountain, Mr Watson and Mr Kennedy had to beg, borrow and steal a meal for the group. This hurdle was easily conquered and students were presented with a smorgasbord of options. Once bellies were full, students got back to their card games and took stock, hoping and praying for good weather the following day.
The group woke to some good and bad news. The mountain was open but only the beginner slope. Students made the most of the access and jumped in boots and all (literally). Some of these pictures portray the great group of students we had and the amazing conditions and scenery we are spoilt with here in NZ. Sadly, the trip wasn’t quite what the group had expected. But it was fantastic to see students adapting to change and being gracious in the face of adversity.