My heart jumps. There’s more snow than I expected, covering the summits of Mt. Stirling, the west ridge of Buller and the high edge of The Bluff. Closer to the mountains, I follow the Delatite River, which runs fast with snowmelt, and then, finally, starting up the mountain itself and into the alpine ash forest.
Chamonix. Hokkaido. Portillo. Certain locations are synonymous with international ski travel, meaning resources for trip planning are as plentiful as some places can be crowded. But what about planning a trip to Kosciusko, Aoraki, Vielha or some other little-spoken-of locale with limited beta, few available maps or no guidebooks? Where do you start?