Monday, 25th, July, 2011.
Another night of digging and watching films. We would go out and clear a set of guns then come back to HR and watch a few episodes before heading out again to work. I wondered why we didn’t just get it all done then relax properly. Khan was our supervisor tonight. He has been working day shift while he has been trained up and also while Boulton has trained us up as well.
I find Khan hard to be around. He is a bit of an oaf, loafing around rudely ordering us to do things, putting my back up where only a little curtesy would go such a long way. ” you and you, get out on the plaza and dig” he says with a half bored half angry look on his face.
Early in the morning we started up the guns, I was left to start up the guns near the chair lifts at base. After I had done so I went and waited in the liftys room which had a heater. From my golden warm vantage point I looked out into the icy darkness as the guns shot out a cloud of snow which twirled and shot in every direction. The wind was blowing it over to the restaurant and all over the other guns. I was waiting for Khan to come up and I was going to ask him if we should continue to keep them on. Khan arrived and seeing me in the booth threw his hands in the air in a ” what the fuck are you doing?” manner. I trotted out quickly and he gave me an ear full. ” there are still guns to turn on what the fuck are you doing in there?” he said angrily. I felt ashamed that I had been skiving, it wasnt intentional I was just being thoughtless, All that stop starting had put me in an unproductive work mood.
I walked down the meadow and started up the other guns a little shaken from being told off.
The rest of the night and into the morning up to 8:00 we turned on all the guns and kept digging. We had started at 5:30 the day before and now we had been going for about 14 hours. I was tired and cold and I could feel the suspension on my emotions was shot.
We clocked out and waited for transport to come and pick us up. It was a beautiful day. the sun was bright and shining, the snow was powdery and all the staff were saying that it was one of the best days they had ever seen up here. I was not concerned with the beauty, more with getting back to the BnB and working and then sleeping. We waited for an hour in which period I became irate. I was so incensed that we had been taken up the mountain so early and now when we were finished no one took us down.
I soon understood why we were not getting a lift down, it was because the bus driver had just gone off one of the cliffs and was now being rushed up the mountain to the helicopter pad to be air lifted to hospital. The helicopter arrived and I went to help in the mini medical room, I watched and worried as I saw the bus driver with a neck brace on in a stretcher, wincing and mumbling in pain as the staff tried to move him to the other bed. I helped carry him out of the medical centre and onto the helicopter. The pilots were cheerful and happy, I suppose they are used to seeing such accidents.
Along with this accident we listened on the radio and heard there were many more accidents on the road. It was 7- and the roads were trecherously slick, only a few small sections of the road actual have barriers from the cliff edge so there is so much potential for disaster. many of the staff who were traveling to get up the mountain were stuck half way down and so Hamish and Brandon volunteered to help if there was a shortage of staff. begrudgingly I went along and we were assigned to ticket checking. We waited by the chair lifts and using the electronic guns and checked people s passes. There were only a few tourists up at this point and there were also quite a lot of staff as well who had got up here just before all the crashes happened. There where 6 of us checking tickets for only two lanes and I didn’t even have a gun to check tickets so I was just standing there getting cold. Everyone elses cheerful attitude offended me greatly. As I didn’t think I was needed I walked off and went and sat in the snow making office.
From what I could see there were plenty of staff working. I sat by the office window dozing, watching some of the more expert skiers and snow boarders taking steep routs down the mountain, jumping off small cliffs and speeding down to base. I had almost achieved sleep when Khan burst in shouting ” what the fuck are you doing here? get out there and help” ”When are we going down Khan?” I asked sleepily. ” Do you think we want to be up here as well?, what the fuck were you doing in there?” he said angrily. The disgusted look on his face enraged me. ” well you have just been up the mountain snow boarding” I retorted. ”No I havent I was parking cars he replied. ” Fine what do you want me to do then?” I gave in. ”Go and get a high viz jacket on and get in the car park to direct the traffic he said.
I stormed off to the work shop and got a jacket and walked to the car park. Khan was there shaking his head ” really Tim that was fucking piss poor don’t you think?” he kept on ” well I was helping Hamish and Brandon and there was nothing to do so I went and waited in the office” I replied. ” Didnt it occur to you that there were other things to do as half the staff was stuck down the mountain?” he said back. ” No it didn’t Khan, now what do you want me to do?” I said. I was too tired, I couldn’t even be bothered to argue ” direct the traffic into the parking spaces I am going to find out about our transport he said as we walked off.
The glare from the ice and snow, the fresh crisp air, the cars coming up and me pointing them to were they should park, their friendly smiles and waves ” its a mean day isn’t it?” some would say ” yes it is” I would reply. It was now 11:30 in the morning and we were heading past a 17 hour shift. There was a lot of dicking around even after the bus full of staff had been bought up. We finally managed to get down the mountain and we saw the carnage on the road. Expensive jeeps and four-wheel drives scatterd on either side of the road stuck in the ditches, some teetering on the edge of small cliffs. The road crew in their jeeps towing cars out of ditches and the drivers sliding all over the road when they are pulled out then accelerate wildly and wheel spining backwards and crashing into the padded front of the road crew vehical. So much of life on the surface in controlled, you control your car, what time you go to work what time you eat, to a certain extent things go the way you want them to. Its exciting and scary to witness chaos, being helpless watching dangerer infrront of you.
The traffic went all the way down the mountain and right to Ohakune, how sad that on a day like today when the skiing conditions are perfect hardly anyone can get up there.
I went home and began cleaning the rooms and clearing the dishes then I went outside to stack the mass of logs which had just been delivered. Gary came out and helped as well which I appreciated. Then one of the family’s staying at the BnB came back, they were from Serbia. The father and the two little boys came to help us stack the wood. I thanked them profusely as they chatted away with us. I was waiting for Gary to say something like ” don’t worry you dont need to help” but he never did. He never even thanked then even when it was all done, he just looked stern and mildly annoyed.
After all was done I finally had a shower and got into bed, I looked at the clock and it was now 4:00 in the afternoon. I had nearly done a 24 hour shift. This time it didn’t take much time to get to bed and I konked out quickly.