What do you get when you’ve got a bunch of super-keen Kiwis in Antarctica…and a Kubota generator?
A ski hill complete with an old-school rope tow, of course. My friend Jana from the New Zealand Antarctic research station near McMurdo Station recently invited me out for a day skiing laps via their totally MacGyver rope tow system, which consists of the Kubota generator hooked up to this device inside of a shipping container:
The generator powers a single rope, which users attach themselves to with a harness and a clamp called a nutcracker. This type of system is common at New Zealand’s club ski fields…though I can’t say I’ve skied on it anywhere else in the world.
Only five people can be on the rope at one time, and once you get to the top, there’s not really any good snow or much terrain to explore. Despite these limitations, having this opportunity to ski downhill even on this gentle slope was…So. Much. Fun.
I was able to use a pair of badly fitting boots and skis from the Kiwi stash, but I didn’t care about the awkwardness of it all. After so much Nordic skiing these past few months, it felt good to point the tips downhill and just let gravity do its job.
The Kiwi ski hill is an invite-only place for us Americans, so I was excited that Jana invited me for my first time out skiing here (in my fourth summer at McMurdo). The best part of the day was, for sure, the company. These laid-back, fun-loving Kiwis are good, keen people—always looking for a little backyard adventure.