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2024 Instructors Development Course (IDC)

By Rosanna Rov

Instructors: Ryan Tonkin, Kiera Montgomery, Aidan Sarginson

Students: Trisha Wong, Brendan Copper, Sean Thompson, Colin Arnott, Chris Hobbs-Massou, Leo Sbai, Nicole Yong, Oxana Novikovia, Jake Clayton, Frances Chow, Teresa Davenport, Frances Chow, Matthew Hookings, Jayden Chapman, Rosanna Rov

For those who don’t know, IDC is for the development of instructors specifically for snow school. Essentially a crash revision of all things to do with snow and how to teach. 

Unfortunately the great peak of Mt Eden provided us with no snow this year, so we all got on our petrol guzzling horse (aka the car) down to the inferior mountain that is Ruapehu. As with most trips out of Auckland we packed our car with some insulation, sustenance (for both the car and the humans) and pointy stuff. In the case of my groups car (the mighty little honda fit), we werent brave enough to try driving all the way up to Tukino (14km 4wd rd). Legend has it one of the instructors has taken their little 2wd most of the way up and was just 50 m shy of the lodges (apparently if you drive these little things fast enough you can get some nice air time as well). Fortunately for us, Jayden was happy to come rescue us off the Tukino road and ferry us off into the darkness and up to TASC lodge. The TASC lodge is situated on the eastern slopes of Ruapehu and feels very luxurious (electricity, hot water, showers, LED lights, usually catered food). We swiftly alighted the car and as we entered the hut you could feel the warmth of the fireplace and were welcomed with quick greetings from other attendees of the course. They were somewhat engrossed in a wasjig puzzle (partly completely by a family staying at the lodge), which I also quickly became engrossed by despite the late hour. Piece by piece we got the puzzle closer to completion, other attendees slowly trickled in, by 1.30 am all the loose pieces had been put together with 4 missing pieces (sadly we forgot to take a photo of the masterpiece) and we could happily go to bed. 

The next morning we got up at the nice leisurely time of 7am for a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and a gorgeous sunny day. Quickly went over plans for the day and got sent off with 45 mins to be ready outside, filled up my pack with gear, food and water. Hmmm my hydration bladder is leaking, should I pack another pair of gloves, no harm might as well go grab another pair, wheres the club avo gear with matching shovel blade and shaft. Oh wow where did that time go… its kind of interesting, how quickly you lose the efficiency in packing after a year. Thankfully it was a gorgeous day out and we were only 5 mins late in gathering outside. We spent most of the day revising content, practising being students and taking turns leading or instructing. In such a big group, its always a challenge ensuring everyone is safe and engaged. As the day progressed, we got to see everyone improve and learn new tips and tricks for delivering the content. Unfortunately, as typical of Ruapehu, the weather is never amazing for long, the sun slowly disappeared as the afternoon wore on, it got colder, more windy and soon enough we retreated back to the hut for some theory work. This was followed by an amazing dinner (chilli and nachos) cooked by the watchful eye of our amazing instructors and endless chatter into the night. 

The weather gods sadly did not grant us another beautiful day, we woke to howling winds, rime covering the landscape and yet somehow wet snow. This meant we had a warm day inside, learning rope skills, revising more content including snow science (aka magic) and the scary stuff (avalanches) all fueled by a steady supply of caffeine (maybe an IV line would be more efficient). Uneventfully we then cleaned the lodge, loaded the cars and back to Auckland via a very good kebab shop in Tokoroa. (see 2022 Footprints if you would like to read a more eventful course… we recommend getting AA Plus membership)

Somewhere near TASC, kind of lame really compared to Maungawhau / Mount Eden

Kiera and Aidan guiding us through the BSS curriculum 

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