Home' Waiheke Weekender : 10 January 2013 Contents 10 January 2013
2 Waiheke Weekender
The snow falls with
a gentle urgency on
Christmas Day in
Actually it fell the
day before and
a couple of days
The ground is
a whiteout. The
aspen trees, which
look exactly like
all those winter
trees, are bracing
themselves under the weight of the snow nest-
ling delicately on the boughs.
When the sun comes out as it does each day,
the sky turns electric blue. Not a cloud to be
seen, just vapour trails as the hot exhaust from
the many jet planes embraces the cold air and
leaves an indelible imprint that seems to hang
forever against the blue sky.
It’s cold, between minus one and minus eight
and if you’re skiing on the stunning mountains,
you have to deal with a wind chill factor that
takes the temperature to around minus 20.
No one complains about the cold; it’s part of
the charm of finding yourself in one of the most
picturesque places on
In 65 years, this
is my first white
Christmas. It’s divine.
Each morning you
need to allow about
15 minutes to de-ice
the car windows and
maybe free the tyres
from being held to ransom by a couple of feet of
the flaky white stuff.
It’s a small price to pay for such beauty and
experiencing a Christmas so very different from
the one we’re all used to.
On more than one occasion we have to slow
down or even stop to allow free roaming elk
to cross the road. We catch glimpses of enor-
mous jack rabbits and the sleek stealthy foxes.
The elk take their time and look at us with mild
In the middle of Aspen is a tiny perform-
ing arts theatre called Belly Up. In an intimate
concert over the next few weeks you could see
Rufus Wainwright, Jerry Jeff Walker, America,
Donovan, Shawn Colvin, Judy Collins and
sure to be a sell-out...the John Denver Tribute
Band. Ticket prices are around the forty-dollar
mark for all shows.
Jack Nicholson’s quaint but not ostentatious
house a two-minute walk from Aspen’s main
street is for sale. Asking price is 15 million
dollars but the real estate agents say Jack’s
dreaming. Pay that price and Jack will have
his photo taken with you and will autograph
and frame the picture.
So far, no takers. Jack has bought another
house that’s up a long private driveway further
out of town; he got tired of tourists knocking
on his door and wanting to shake his hand or
flogging flowers out of his garden.
What’s the house really worth? Apparently
about seven million but don’t discount the fact
that someone somewhere will pay the full price
for that prized photo opportunity.
This is Christmas in Aspen. Even if you
haven’t been good all year Santa can grant
your wishes . . . just bring your cheque book
The friends’ house we are staying at is stun-
ning and set on 40 acres of land about 12 minutes
from the centre of the uber cool Aspen township.
It sits on an elevated plateau facing the massive
mountains and ski fields, and with a set of aston-
ishingly high-powered binoculars, you can make
out the ant-like skiers making their way with
speed and skill down the slopes.
The Aspen airport sits in a valley between
these mountains and our home over Christmas,
and you can see the private jets disappear-
ing beyond the snow-covered horizon to
It’s quite magical. My friends can often
tell you whose plane it is. “That’s the guy
who owns Walmart.” “That one belongs to
the deputy chairman of Google.” “That’s
the Sultan of Oman.” You get the picture,
and Aspen is that sort of town but, like
Waiheke, only in the peak tourist season.
The locals, around six thousand of them,
are kind of ordinary, low key and lovely
people who find it mildly amusing to be
overrun with 30,000 people from all over
the world, who flock to arguably one of the
most popular ski fields on the planet.
We’re here for ten days, having arrived a
week before Christmas, and unlike New Zealand
their retail sales are pre as well as post Christmas.
They do proper genuine reductions here – it’s 50
to 70 percent off the listed price and that includes
Ralph Lauren and Prada as well as Target and
your more down-to-earth chain stores.
Wandering the wide streets without so much as
a look-at-me-I’m-famous are Antonio Banderas,
Melanie Griffith and
Carey and in a hot
pink tailored ski suit
. . . Paris Hilton. My
son Duncan sees her
the next day on Ajax
Mountain and says
she’s a very accom-
plished skier – great
technique and very fast. But then, you’d say that
about Paris anyway, wouldn’t you?
I rather like the sign in the shop window at the
Gucci store, “Your husband called and said you
can pop in and buy anything you like”.
Snow falling on Aspen
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Hawke’s eye view
Your husband called and
said you can pop in and
buy anything you like.
In an intimate concert over
the next few weeks you could
see Rufus Wainwright, Jerry
Jeff Walker, America, Donovan,
Shawn Colvin, Judy Collins and
John Denver Tribute Band.
DEPARTING DOWNTOWN AUCKLAND
DEPART WAIHEKE ISLAND (MATIATIA)
MON TO FRI
SUN & PUBLIC
MON TO FRI
SUN & PUBLIC
* Sailing time is approximately 10 minutes longer than other sailings.
◊ This is an unscheduled departure and depending on vessel may depart earlier than time shown.
PHONE (09) 367 9111
EFFECTIVE 1 OCTOBER 2012
Fullers operates a Waiheke Island bus service to and from all Auckland sailings.
Ask about Fullers Wine on Waiheke, Taste of Waiheke, Waiheke Explorer and Island Hopper tours.
For freight enquiries, please phone (09) 367 9104.
Fares include Auckland Transport passenger terminal charge of 20c per passenger, per trip.
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