At the start of the year I posted this series of summer snapshots taken by English tourists passing through sunny Nelson in 1933. Here are a few more snapshots from their New Zealand holiday, this time showing what they got up to that winter.
Eighty years ago the idea of going on a Kiwi skiing holiday was only beginning to catch on. Alpine resorts had been a popular destination for decades; promising beautiful vistas, glacial treks and air so fresh that it could cure physical ailments, but it was the period between the world wars when New Zealanders really started to tap into the true potential of the slopes. Winter holidays as we know them were still in their infancy – as was winter fashion…
There is just a hint of the same pre-war innocence that was evident in their summer snaps. It seems like this was a time when people were embracing the outdoors and enjoying the peace that the ‘war to end all wars’ had won. Sadly that peace had an expiry date – these photos were taken the same year that Hitler seized power over Germany and in just over six years everyone would march off to war again. Apologies… back to peacetime winter wonderland…
These photographs were all taken in the Mt. Cook area. Access to the slopes was challenging compared to today, there were no ski-lifts so a fair amount of any day would involve climbing back up the slopes and if you broke a leg there wasn’t any helicopter that could come get you. Also there were less cappuccinos. These holidaymakers were true pioneers.
The below photo is looking back up towards Aoraki/Mt. Cook and Tasman Glacier. It looks to have been taken from a reasonable vantage point, I wonder if this perhaps was the view from the ski-slope?
The car on the bottom left of this photo serves as a reminder of how challenging some of those high-country roads must have been for those early automobiles. Road trips in the 1930’s would’ve felt like a real adventure. Especially if you were brave enough to drive all the way up to ski-fields and glaciers.
A few years ago I was also fortunate enough to visit Tasman Glacier (although not in a car as awesome as theirs). Here is what it looks like now.
Despite global-warming doing its darndest to melt the glacial ice it is still an absolutely stunning place to visit – it still has plenty of the same ‘wow’ factor that it must have done in 1933.
I hope you have all had the chance to have a winter getaway of your own, or at the least are looking forward to spring as much as I am.
© Lemuel Lyes