A beginner – intermediate loop from Snow Farm Lodge to Bob Lee Backcountry Hut. Snow Farm is halfway between Queenstown and Wanaka. It follows the green (beginner) River Run trail and then jumps onto the blue (intermediate) The Loop trail. Great for beginners to give something different a go. We had a lesson on Cross Country skiing before setting off.
How many days: 2
Length: 11km (3 hours to hut and 3 hours back the next day – we took many breaks and the second day the conditions weren’t as good due to rainfall overnight)
Accomodation: Backcountry hut designed for snow
How to get there: We hired a car from Queenstown and drove up the mountain. Hired cross country skis from the lodge. Paid for equipment ($60 each for 2 days), the hut accommodation ($30 each) and a mountain pass ($80 each for 2 days). We also had a hour lesson on the skis (cost?). After the lesson they pointed in the direction of the trail and we just set off with our bags.
Feeling: A unique experience to experience a snow covered mountain not crawling with alpine skiers and snowboarders. It was so quiet, spectacular views and we saw a few animals too. It was harder and more physically demanding than we both expected. The lesson was great fun too. There is a beginner hut half way on the trail and maybe we should of stayed in this one instead but we did have the Bob Lee Hut to ourselves and it felt quite romantic. The facilities in this hut included cooking stove, water, cutlery, cups, tea-towels, beds, toilet and a wood fire. Make sure someone knows where you have gone and when you are expected back, we were shocked to find that nobody at the lodge knew we were out there. Maybe we just felt more isolated than it actually was? On our way back we saw dog sledding. Next time we will give that one a go!!!
Youtube: Saf and Ash try Cross Country Skiing