Sitting in the library I still don’t feel like I am back to reality after almost a month of traveling and competing. After the K2 Big Mountain we moved on to Temple Basin for the last of the CHILL Series competitions. Sadly Temple Basin has had a hard season with rain destroying any snow base on the lower runs, this lack of snow had everyone hiking from the lodge to “downhill tow”. Weather could not have been better for the 1st two days of competition, hot NZ sun was in full effect and teaching a few of the internationals a lesson in sunblock! Upper bills was the perfect venue for competition with a huge scope of line choices and snow conditions softening up both days. The level of skiing from both days can be described in one word, HAVOC! The men made it a spectators dream with massive airs, ridiculous chutes and huge bails, the level of skiing was more than impressive.
Due to weather conditions we were unable to ski the final day of competition and the results from days one and two were taken as the final results. I finished up super stoked in 1st place with Ollie Hunt taking 1st in the men (Hells yea Canterbury). I can’t thank Temple Basin and CHILL enough for putting on such a sweet event in one of my favorite places in the world!
After Temple Basin the next stop was The New Zealand Open at The Remarkables. To say I was n¬ervous is a gross understatement, heading down I couldn’t stop thinking that the level of skiing was going to be way over my head. I set myself the goal to make it to the finals and after two pretty messy runs I managed to make this goal and qualify in third place. Like the CHILL series the vibe from all the riders was amazing, there is a constant support and excitement from everyone. We spent Wednesday and Thursday on hold waiting for a weather window to ski finals, as luck would have it Friday afternoon turned out bluebird with winds easing and finals were all on in alta chutes. I placed 6th in finals with all girls stomping their runs. Hanna Fisher skied a solid run and took away 1st place.
I am all finished with competing for the season and on a high. Any moments of stress or disappointment are so quickly forgotten when a line comes together and you’re rewarded with a good result.
Things are looking good in Canterbury with winter making a strong come back, just when I thought the juggling act of studying and skiing was over I’m tempted as ever to get back on my skis.
K2 Big Mountain CHILL Series
Last week I competed in the K2 big mountain CHILL series at Mt Olympus and Craigieburn Valley. The week was filled with highs and lows and a whole lot of valuable lessons in competing.
Day 1 at Olympus was disappointing after I crashed and lost a ski on my run. Day two was a perfect still bluebird day, the venue was on Mt O’s main face chutes and sat in the sun all day. I finished the day with 2nd place and I was brought back up to being pumped on skiing after my disappointing 1st day. We packed up, thanked the amazing Mt Olympus staff and drove round to Craigeburn to get ready for day 3 and 4.
Day 3 I had another disappointing run after I got slightly lost and missed the line, which I intended to ski. Day 4 got underway earlier to attempt to squeeze everyone’s runs into a tight weather window due to strong forecasted winds. Again I felt disappointed after my run feeling like I had under performed and not skied the features I had aimed to ski. I was surprised to take away 3rd place for the day and finish up 4th overall.
Overall I came away from the week on a huge high with any gutted feelings being seriously over shadowed by a few highlights. Girls skied 1st each day giving me the chance to be a spectator and enjoy the insanely high level of skiing from the men. There was a sweet social vibe throughout the week and I relished the opportunity to meet and learn from an experienced and talented group of skiers.
I now have a few days rest to catch up on assignments before I get back to the mountains for the Black Diamond Big Mountain at Temple Basin.
Skis and rope swings
Last week I got up to Mt Olympus for the Chill Junior Mountain. Heading up early morning with Garry and Remy Rae, from Castle Hill.
Bottom hut car park quickly filled with parents and kids fizzing to get up and check out the venue for the day. After a small wait while the road was cleared to open, we were back in the car and up the road. Mt Olympus was also running their annual curling competition on the tarn with competitors treated to a ride up and back in a heli!
Up at top hut we were welcomed by the standard warm reception from the entertaining Mt O staff and good snow. All reports from curling were of an exceptional day out made sweet with a few glasses of mulled wine. The venue for the Junior Big Mountain was in good condition for competitors who had some impressive skills on show.
This weekend I went up to Craigieburn to have a look at the venue for this week’s K2 Big Mountain Chill series. Snow warmed up just before lunch and we got a good afternoon of spring conditions. We finished the day with a big run down middle basin that turned to a slightly niggly short tramp through the forest and the discovery of a rope swing….
Looking forward to getting back to the mountains next week!
Not another lame title Ryan came up with
After a weekend off snow, I was keen to get back up to the mountains. Sadly due to the rain, which had sabotaged the good start to the season, snow conditions weren’t looking flash. However there were plenty of events to keep things exciting.
I was up at Castle Hill on Friday night and got the call from Ryan that retro day at Broken River was going to be the go for Saturday. Ryan designated me the job of costumes and said he would be picking me up in the morning. I started hunting through the Brook family ski gear archives in the roof and put together two half assed retro outfits. How wrong I was! These outfits, on the scale of everyone else at Broken River on Saturday, were anything but half assed. Ryan made a full commitment to the theme and rode one of Burton’s first production boards complete with edges blunter than a butter knife.
The next weekend was not going to offer anything sweet on the snow front but the company was another story. Up at Broken River I had a hoot of a day with a full rat pack and the odd pocket of windblown snow. Player of the day goes to Christine Spescha of Switzerland for a ninja display as a nutcracker beginner!
After admitting I had never skied a day at Treble Cone I was told to “take a long hard look at myself and think about what I had been doing with my life”. With this advice and thanks to the sweet lifestyle that uni provides I had the time to head down to Wanaka for a catch up with friends and a few days skiing. I was so keen in fact that I made the trip down in hope of skiing opening day. Due to my least favourite element (wind), the hill couldn’t open and instead we got the boat in for a chilly trip up the lake for a beer (not a shabby alternative).
I headed back to Christchurch still with the itch to get up to TC and see what all the talk is about. Second week of holidays rolled in and I decided to head back to Wanaka and pop my TC cherry once and for all.
Driving to TC we made our way through the inversion layer that lingered on the little lake town and came up to a beautiful bluebird day. Although the early season snow conditions hadn’t quite covered the terrain there was still fun to be had. Local TC skier Anna Smoothly kindly took me on a tour of the hill with running chairlift commentary of the usual ratpack games and runs to be had when the snow arrives.
Although I was limited by the low snow cover and just a handful of runs open I have been converted to a huge TC fan. The terrain is a giant playground and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. The limited conditions have left me wanting more from TC and there is no doubt i will be back later in the season for round two. Will be keeping my fingers crossed for some cooler temperatures so we can see an end to this rain and get some snow here in Canterbury!
My first blogy blog
Fresh from my first European skiing experience I started 2012 excited as ever to get back to the weird and wonderful culture that is New Zealand clubbie skiing. Porters opening day was a perfect kick off to the season and the beginning of my life style switch from being under university’s study and exam thumb to days up skiing and nights in lodges with friends. Porters quickly filled up with a swarm of excited families and students all wanting a piece of the goods having had a pre season tease of snow in Christchurch.
T-3 was the spot, with bulk windblown powder and short queue’s. After opening day it was back to Christchurch for my final exam then straight to Castle hill to get set for the 20cm of fresh at Porters on the Sunday. With new snow another day of excited hoots and laughing was had. A short hike up Allisons peak in the howling northwest wind had us looking down into crystal valley and the huge potential of the proposed Porters expansion. We then headed down the ridge and through the top of Bluff face where we found unexpectedly good snow with face shots for days.
After a chain of entertaining organisational emails we were ready for Mt Olympus opening weekend and on our way to Windwhistle, equipped with a spread of pies, hot curries and a strain of the flu (oh Henry). My expectations for the weekend were meet and well exceeded with a combination of good people and good snow. Guided by Simon Reeves I had my first taste of Mt Olympus’s Little Alaska. After hiking up an already well stepped boot pack and picking our way around the ridge we had accessed untouched, unaffected, knee-deep snow. My run down Little Alaska and watching the rest of the crew come down enjoying their runs capped off an entertaining weekend.
It is fair to say I am well and truly stocked for the beginning of winter and the laugh a minute antics which come with the adventures skiing brings.