National Park Village sits around 800m above sea level, and provides the easiest access to both the Tongariro Crossing and the Whakapapa ski fields on Mount Ruapehu. Despite being the ’ski town’ base for most of the hundreds off staff who work on the mountain each year, it actually rarely snows here. Occasionally they receive a dusting of snow that is replaced by rain after a few hours, when the snow does arrive though, it can cause chaos!
Over the last 2 days a huge storm settled over the village and dumped over 30cm of snow in 24hrs, combined with high winds and no visibility this lead to us getting pretty much cut off from the rest of the country. All the roads in the area have been closed and we had numerous power cuts throughout the day, this can be especially dangerous in a place that relies on electricity for all the heating and cooking, and where the houses are not very well insulated.
All of this seems pretty surreal for Ebba, coming from Sweden and never having seen a road closure like this or a close day on a ski field for anything other than extreme cold. For me on the other hand this seems like business as usual, anyone who has lived in the UK knows the chaos that even small amounts of snow can cause in places that are unprepared. People have been pretty sensible and not tried to get out in their cars, just settling down with some warm clothes, food and drinks to wait out the storm. Luckily we already managed to get out and shop before the storm hit so our food supplies are not a problem. Fingers crossed that the roads clear soon and the ski field will have a nice new covering ready for the weekend!