Avalanche traps family of 17 in lodge overnight
A yearly family outing has turned into an impromptu lock-in, with an avalanche blocking the only route to and from a South Island lodge.
Nick Carter and 16 other members of his extended family awoke on Saturday to find a pile of snow across the only road out of the lodge they are staying in at the northern tip of Lake Ohau, a 30-minute drive west of Twizel.
"A couple of guys started going down the road and found it. It looked like it hadn't been there for terribly long," Carter said.
The avalanche was about 4 metres high and 15m deep, making it impossible to pass with a car.
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"It looks like a river flowing down the mountain," Carter said.
"It did not really disperse in a wide fashion."
A digger crew was expected to get there on Sunday morning to clear a path, he said.
The power was on, the log fire was going strong, and people were planning to watch the delayed broadcast of the All Black rugby game against Argentina later on Saturday night.
"We've got plenty of wine, a wee bit of food and a good sense of humour," Carter said.
"It is a bit of fun for everyone."
The weather this year was markedly colder compared to last year, with snow falling for most of the family's visit, he said.
An avalanche was not totally unexpected, as the area had signs warning of the risk.
Carter said the last one happened about eight years ago, knocking out the power and taking five days to clear.