This particular time--second term, 1946--we thought skiing could add something to these adventures. We had no skis and not much money, so we decided we would make our own as a woodwork project--we even steamed them to shape. We found that one-inch copper pipe flattened and shaped to fit our boots worked for fittings.
Term end came eventually and we caught the train for the mountain. After leaving the railway station, we had quite a tramp up to the hut we planned to camp in. It was getting rather late when we reached the hut and we were a little disappointed that the only snow was right up on top of the mountain. But, next morning, we headed for the mountain top.
Learning to ski has its problems, including a good number of bruises. But it was a day well spent--we even went right down to the boiling mud in the crater. When you are having fun, time seems to vanish. We eventually realised that the day was fast disappearing and we headed back down the mountain.
We were rather tired so, when we came to another hut on the way down, we decided to leave our skis there and get them the next morning. Back at our hut, we had a reasonable meal and crawled into our bunks.
Anyone getting up in the night would stoke the fire. It was about 10 pm when a shout from Ted shattered the quietness of the hut, telling us it was snowing, We were all out to have a look and decided to go up the mountain to get our skis. The track and marker posts were quite visible, so we set of.
All went well for awhile, then without any warning a blizzard sprang up, obliterating everything. It did not take us long to realise we were completely lost and getting cold. In the shelter of some rocks, we did what most people do when there appears to be no escape--we sent up a very sincere prayer, asking God to help us get back on track.
In these conditions, it does not take long for hypothermia to set in. God did not remove the storm. But He performed the most unexpected miracle that saved our lives, because to have survived the night in those conditions was very unlikely.
On looking around after our prayer, we saw a light and it did not take us long to set out in that direction, thinking it might be the hut with someone in it. It was not the hut. It was the marker post with two tongues of flame on top, from which we could just make out the outline of the hut.
We were soon in the hut, kneeling on the floor and thanking God for deliverance in performing that wonderful miracle. There is an explanation for the light. It is known as "St Almo's Fire," sometimes seen earthing on some particular point during severe electrical storms. But on this mountain there were many places it could have earthed. God no doubt directed that current to earth on that post to answer our prayers.
If anyone tries to tell me there is no God who cares, they are talking to the wrong person. God does not always remove the storms in our lives but if we call on Him, He will see us through.
For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never forsake you." Hebrews 13:5.
Jack Larsen is retired after working as an engineer for Sanitarium Health Food Company for most of his working life and lives in Blenheim, New Zealand.