Mt. Ruapehu – Snowboarding on a Volcano

Some bucket list items are easy and fit right into my personality.  Others push me outside my comfort zone. Snowboarding on a volcano left me with a bruised ego and bum!

The trip to Mt. Ruapehu (an inspiration for Lord of the Rings Mt. Doom) is New Zealand’s largest active volcano.  There are two commercial ski field options on the volcano and we chose the Turoa ski slope due to their childcare option.

This photo was taken from outside The Park Hotel where we stayed for the weekend.

Mt. Ruapehu - Snowboarding on a volcano

The view of Mt. Ruapehu from our hotel.

Mt. Ruapehu - Snowboarding on a volcano

The drive from hotel was about 45 minutes when you take into account the traffic getting up the mountain.  The Whakapapa ski field is closer but we had Ella booked into the Turoa Yeti Childcare Centre from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on both days.  This program is great for parents traveling with smaller children. The facility is set-up similar to a daycare allowing inside play and opportunities for supervised snow play in an enclosed area.  The Yeti club offered a meal option allowing parents to enjoy the ski slopes without worrying about lunch/snacks.  They also gave the tots an introductory skiing lesson.

Look how cute!

Skiing from Amber Herden on Vimeo.

New Zealand’s short ski season and perfect weather resulted in crowded slopes.  We intended for Aubrey and I to take ski lessons and Andrew to attempt snowboarding lessons. The ski lessons were booked up on both days giving us only these two options: rent ski gear and attempt it on our own or book snowboarding lessons for the three of us. We chose snowboarding lessons!

Our scheduled group lessons did not start until late afternoon so we rented snowboarding gear to play around with until then. Andrew had watched a few videos online and offered up some basic tips. My biggest issue was remembering how to stop and typically lead to me falling.  The backside of my body would take a beating over the next couple hours.

Aubrey lucked out having a small group of kids while Andrew and I were stuck with around 20 people in our group lesson.   They explained the basic skill, allowed one practice and made corrections verbally before moving on to next skill.  The two hour lessons left me feeling a bit discouraged.

A few pictures of us goofing off in the snow.

The next morning began by practicing what we learned the previous day.   We geared up and I was proud of some of my earlier runs.  Then I wiped out hard!  I knew after that moment that it was going to hurt. The lesson time rolled around and to our surprise Aubrey was in a private lesson and our lesson only included 3.  The individual attention from the instructor gave us more confidence.

Then the pain of falling became too much for me that I decided to throw in the towel for the weekend. Andrew and Aubrey continued on with their lessons. This gave me the opportunity to take some photos and video. Aubrey especially began to get the hang of things towards the end!

Snowboarding from Amber Herden on Vimeo.

The experience was still fun and I did check off an item from my bucket list.  I would like to go back when my tailbone is not so sore.  Maybe next time I will give snow skiing a shot!

Worth a bruised tailbone for these views!

My family found it hilarious that I rode on a pillow all the way home!

Turoa Snow Ski