Spring Skiing: A beginner’s guide to Happiness


Debbie Griffiths goes to the north-west slopes of Mt Ruapehu.

Our ski instructor has the unusual knack of making failure sound appealing.

Oscar Johnston stands a few metres downhill with his arms open wide.

“No need to worry! I’m right here,” he calls up the beginner’s slope to me and my nervous nine-year-old. “The worst that could happen is you’d give me a big hug.”


Debbie Griffiths and Nate Wadsworth make the perfect snowball.

It’s our first time on a snowy mountain slope but that reassurance is all that’s needed to entice young Nate to turn his skis and start sliding.

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Nate Wadsworth waits for the Happy Valley chairlift.

He doesn’t get a hug. He carefully follows Oscar’s instructions to angle the tips of his skis towards each other and push his heels out to make a pizza slice shape. He glides to a perfectly…

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