Trotting around last week with veteran Mountain Scene chief news hound Scoop on our usual Friday morning run, basking in the early spring sunshine, the mildness of the weather was the subject of our banter.
As we solved the world’s problems, interrupted only to take a cheeky glance at nature’s more fortunate-looking athletes in their sleek attire speeding past us, we commented on the mild winter and the promise of an early summer and its associated influx of bikini-clad Swedish backpackers to the main bay.
This was a far cry from the mayhem of two weeks ago when spring’s only real storm dusted the Wakatipu with a fine coating of the winter white stuff setting off the usual pandemonium and overly dramatic responses.
It may be hard to comprehend on a warm spring morning that we live in a settlement surrounded by mountains located in the roaring 40s on a narrow island in the middle of the Pacific with our southern neighbour being Antarctica.
Believe it or not Queenstown is an alpine resort, it does snow, maybe not as much as NZSki would like but every year we are faced with the real prospect of icy roads, snowy footpaths, cold days and freezing nights.
Why is it then that as soon as there is a whisper of snow, panic sets in and as the first flakes fall, people shed all common sense and start rushing to their vehicles as if bitten by a rabid dog and muttering: “If I don’t get home now I might be forced to eat my work colleagues while trapped by blizzard conditions”.
Schools start to send children home – in fact I think it was 2006 when local schools closed on the forecast of heavy snow and it turned out to be a sunny day.
Just to rub salt into the wounds Alpine Aqualand shut its doors early due to the weather. All local roads were clear and stars were poking through the scattered clouds. Come on, people!
Queenstown needs to harden up!
In 13 years going to school in Invercargill despite regular heavy snowfalls I never received one day off school.
Country kids might have got a late start as the busses struggled in the snow, but the best townies received was a 10am start due to a frozen boiler. Are Queenstowners just after a good excuse to shut the doors and head up the mountain or are we soft?
The fact is it rarely snows for more than a few hours. Stay at work, carry on and be productive, then wait for the
road crews to clear the roads and drive home normally. Don’t just rush off into the chaos. Schools – buses with chains can negotiate 90 per cent of our road network so let the kids go home by bus. Staff – carry chains, you live in the mountains.
And if you can’t handle the snow, move to Miami.
Mark writes a regular column for the Mountain Scene - View HERE
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