If I should bow my head let it be to a high mountain.
And there is surely no mountain more worthy of being bowed to than Mount Cook, at 3,766 meters (12,349ft), the tallest peak in New Zealand. Known to the Maori people as Aorangi, the Cloud Piercer, it was formed according to their legend, along with the surrounding peaks, by the grounding of the canoe of the ancient Maori explorers. Sailing on the great ocean of Kiwa (the Pacific), the grounded canoe became the South Island and Aorangi and his brothers were turned to stone and became the Southern Alps.
Mount Cook gives its name to a national park of nearly 70,000 hectares (170,000 acres) and boasts the most spectacular peaks and glaciers in the Southern Alps. The longest glacier is the Tasman at 28.9 kilometres (18 miles), followed by the Murchison at 17.7kms. To the north in Westland National Park and skirted by the Pacific Ocean are the Fox Glacier at 15kms and the Franz Josef at 13.7kms. These glaciers are the setting of what surely must be the most spectacular skiing in the world. On the Tasman for example all skiers are organized in groups of six to nine and are led by a professional guide. They fly from the Hermitage airfield at Mount Cook village with their skis strapped to the wing of the aircraft and after 15-20 minutes land near the Tasman saddle at 2,500 meters (7,725ft) above sea level. They then explore the longest ski run in the southern hemisphere, 12 kilometres (seven miles) of undulating bowls with both easy and demanding slopes, past ice falls and towering ice and snow formations.