Ê KIWIS HOW SKIÊ THEÊ WORLD
ONE SEASON FIVEÊ PODIUM
BUYERS GUIDEÊ Ô 09
0800 696 255 OAKLEY.COM/AUCLAIRGOGGLE ©2008 Oakley, Inc.
CHARLIE TIMMINS I Jarryd Williams Ben Mates Damon Hayler II Mitchey Greig
Charlie Timmins. Photographer: Alex Guzman
DECAGON JACKET THENORTHFACE.COM.AU
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Fraser McDougall living the dream in Verbier, Switzerland PHOTO: YVES GARNEAU
Jossi Wells at Cardrona with a gravity defying switch double cork 1080 nose mute PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN
PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART, SNOWPARK
CONTENTS Scot Schmidt p45. Skiing icon of the 90â€™s
30 Year Storm p50. Broken River captured in epic conditions
How Kiwis Ski The World p56. Reflection from a variety of kiwi skiers travels
Janina Kuzma p67. Five Podiums one season
The Sisterhood p76. Amy Sheehan looks into her world
Full Circle p104. Jossi Wells and Tony Harrington reunite
Buyers Guide p107. The latest product and ski technology explained
Freeride World Tour p130. Three Perspectives on the new freeride world tour
Profiles p136. Four skiers on the rise
Jaw dropping. Fraser McDougall in Verbier, Switzerland PHOTO: YVES GARNEAU
What is skiing good for? I mean why do we do it, what’s our motivation for it? Non-skiers often can’t fathom why one would even start, and many committed skiers never made an active choice to take up the sport – it was gifted to them by parents or school programmes. So why ski? Skiers will answer this in a variety of ways. Maybe it’s that swooshing feeling, the mental stimulation, the exercise, or the sensation of sliding, the powder snow, nature, the fresh air, or the social aspect, or perhaps it’s the variety that the sport offers, the everything and anything that skiing can be. This year, on a flight back from the States, I was seated next to a retired Kiwi doctor named John, who was heading home from his annual ski trip. After some probing from me, he explained that he first headed to Canada aged fifty to go cat skiing with a small group of friends. He described how it felt the first time he skied deep powder, the sensation of floating. “It changed my life,” he said. Now seventy-two, he has been travelling overseas to ski ever since. This year it was to Aspen, but he nearly wasn’t able to go. Having suffered a back injury and subsequent surgery, the doctor’s orders were for him not to ski for a while, but he managed to negotiate an earlier date. He flew out right on the date given, still in pain. I chuckled to myself listening to this seventy-two-year-old, a doctor himself, sounding like a seventeen-year-old boy with no patience. Still, I momentarily wondered why at that age one would bother. I mean, all that travel, US customs, the possibility of spending your ski holiday in pain. But John’s answer is probably the same as all of ours. At then end of the day, skiing makes us happy. Since that flight home, I have thought a lot about being an older skier, being seventy and skiing powder with my friends. It will obviously be different: no big jumps, and it might be tough just to get out of bed. But I will, and I know why. Skiing makes me happy. Hamish Editor
Hamish Acland, happy as, Squaw Valley, USA PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN
New Zealand Distributor: Bobo Products Ltd. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org www.dynastar.com
ISSUE #91 2009 ANNUAL Editor: Hamish Acland email@example.com
Associate Editor: Neil Kerr firstname.lastname@example.org
Design: Pat Shepherd
Copy Editors: Laura Williamson Advertising:
Neil Kerr: email@example.com
Web and Video Production:
Jason Hancox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Photographers Miles Holden Sam Hall Camilla Stoddart
Tom Dunbar, Mt Olympus
PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
We loved the fact that so many people replied to last year’s reader survey. You managed to be both positive and constructive, and gave us a great picture of what you really like. Make it bigger, we heard, so we bring you 148 pages; give us a retrospective article for the plus-forties, you wrote, so we bring you nineties’ skiing icon Scot Schmidt. Others wanted more on the club fields. We agreed, and luckily for us, senior photographer Camilla Stoddart was at Broken River to shoot during a record storm. Some of you asked for more on girls, so we’ve got a full feature article on women in skiing, plus a Janina Kuzma interview. There was a ton more, and your feedback has influenced the shape of this very magazine. Thanks for the helping hand! This season, we will be hitting the road, travelling the country creating content for next year’s magazine and for the website, which is all-new for 2009. Jump online at nzskier.com for daily updates, including resort web cams and snow conditions from our friends at snowreports.co.nz. Plus we have news, features and forums all at your fingertips, and an online store where you can purchase magazines and New Zealand Skier merchandise. This season, you also be able see regular New Zealand Skier videos, produced by filmmaker Jason Hancox, and look out for the Ski Show, Trick Tips and Chairlift Interview series, plus other random goodies from the team. We will also be giving away a ton of prizes from our industry supporters, so keep checking online to see what’s up for grabs each week. If you enjoy writing, then enter our short story competition, titled “Skiing Makes Me Happy.” Write a story and be in to win, or just browse and read other skiers’ words; you might find yourself itching to hit the mountains, because, as we all know, skiing makes us happy. See you on the hill.
The Team the team @ nzskier.com Neil, Jase and Hamish
Geoff Browne Tommy Pyatt Shane Orchard Dan Carr Neil Kerr Erik Seo Yves Garneau Jancsi Hadik Tero Repo Ben Burnett Scott Gaffney Flip McCririck Joe Harrison Grant Guise
Glen Clayton Patrick Fallon Kevin Younger Julian Hall Larry Proser Alex Guzman Alex Giesbrecht Marc Wheiler Dominque Daher Alex Klun Chris O’Connell Takahiro Nakanishi Tony Harrington
Contributing Writers Beanie Larry Prosser Shane Orchard Annabel Wilson Grant Guise Logan Bennet Amy Sheehan Gus Roxburgh Sam Chatter
Cam McKay Kate McDougall Camden Pyke Jimmy Gray Scott Staples Chris Taine Dion Newport Sophie Dinsenbacher Mark Wright
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ERIC HJORLEIFSON. PHOTO: IAN COBLE.
WHEN IT’S COLD AND THE RELATIVE HUMIDITY REACHES 28 PERCENT, ERIC IS PROBABLY SEARCHING FOR BIG LINES AND DRY POWDER. AND WHERE ERIC SKIS, IN REMOTE CORNERS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, IT’S NOT LIKE HE CAN EXCUSE HIMSELF TO CHANGE OUT OF WET CLOTHES. HOME IS USUALLY SEVERAL HOURS A AW WAY. SO ERIC CHOOSES OUR HELLY TECH® OUTERWEAR. IT PROVIDES THE MAXIMUM WEATHER WAY. PROTECTION AND BREATHABILITY THAT SKIING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA DEMANDS. TO O LEARN MORE ABOUT HELLY TECH® AND HOW HOW TO LAYER UP FOR ANY CONDITION, VISIT HELLYHANSEN.COM /3 /3LAYE LAYER R
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ON THE COVER – Sam Smoothy This photo was taken on the very first day I shot with Sam. We went up late afternoon and waited for the sun to set. As the sun was almost at the horizon, Mr. Smoothy launched a test jump over this beautiful ice fall. Half an hour later, it became dark and everything was ready for the night shot. We got what we were looking for, so, perfect day at the office.
Tero Repo First came to Verbier 1999 from Finland and since, living there more or less year round. Tero sold his first skiing photo in 2001 and today there are around 500 photos from Tero published in the ski industry. Tero’s main clients are; Rossignol, Scott, Faction and most of the top ski and snowboard magazines in the world. Tero is still chasing the perfect photo.
Yves spends his winters shooting and skiing in Verbier. He has a love/ hate relationship with the kiwis in that he loves to shoot them but hates to think of what they’ll try next. Claming that kiwis are probably the maddest bunch of skiers on the hill. From the days of Simon Guthrie, Rich Caudwell and Noddy Gowans, to the new generation, Mr. Smoothy, Fraser McDougall and Janina Kuzma he never turns down a chance to shoot a kiwi.
Tommy Pyatt got in touch with us last year as events coordinator at Turoa. He was obviously a mover and shaker and the next thing we are looking at his photos of a massive spring booter session. Originally from AK he spends his times floating around winters in the USA and here in NZ working shooting and skiing.
Harro spent ten years living in Wanaka from the early 90’s, creating the legendary World Heli Challenge and Wanaka Big Air, competing in extreme events amidst shooting first descents across Alaska and Greenland and big waves around the world. Check out www.wheresharro.com for what he gets up to on a regular basis.
Larry Prosor is originally from California, he started capturing extreme skiing in its infancy in the early 80’s and went on to become one of the most widely published ski photographers in America. In 1981 Prosor travelled to New Zealand with his wife Cindy for their honeymoon, which left a lasting impression. They immigrated in 2004 for and now live in Gisborne New Zealand with their son Will.
Jossi Wells, Cork 810, X Games Slopestyle PHOTO: ERIC SEO
Just as you and I were kicking back into jandals and barbeques New Zealand’s top competitive skiers were once again buckling up boots, hitting the slopes and competitions of the northern hemisphere. Before we had even got a tan, Adam Hall had taken podium in Canada, by Christmas shopping Jossi Wells had also stood on the Dew Tour podium at the first stop in Breckinridge. It seemed like only a short break for Christmas and the results continued and haven’t stopped. For those skiers with goals of making next years Vancouver Olympics it’s been an even bigger year, with results critical to qualify for the big five ring show. Ski racer Ben Griffin has made a huge comeback from a serious neck injury suffered last year prior to the New Zealand winter. He not only returned to snow but went straight on to the podium claiming silver in FIS Super G race in Auron France. Griffin also busted into the British Nationals taking 4th in the GS with 130 of gate bashers vying for the title. But he would leave the best till last with a 3rd in the Kuhtai GS in Austria to cap off his season, which keeps him on track for Vancouver. Disabled Alpine Ski Racer Adam Hall has shown his fellow competitors he his is one to watch out for, come the Olympics, taking silver at the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) Alpine World Championships in Korea which was seen as a strong guide to the who’s who for Vancouver. His season continued winning
his 4th title at the Wells Fargo World Disabled Invitational at Winter Park, Colorado. And at the final World Cup of the year he would take silver in Slalom making it five World Cup podiums for the year and securing himself the No. 2 ranking in the discipline, one up on last year. With goals such as the Olympics it’s easy to assume that it just comes down to the skiing. Try sitting on various planes for 149 hours, travelling to eleven countries and then taking on skier-cross courses that would make any normal skier squeamish just watching, as skiers hit jumps and berms shoulder to shoulder at mach 20. Mitchey Greig did just that with a season chequered with the craziness of being a one person team on a mission. She still managed to place 19th at Gindelweld World Cup in Switzerland and then 14th at Cypress at the Olympics venue, her results meeting the Olympic criteria. The FIS Alpine World Champs took place in Val D’isere France with New Zealand fielding its largest team in years including; Tim Café, Angus Howden, Leighton Winsloe and Sarah Jarvis. Café would be the stand out performer for the team in his first World Champs, finishing 36th in the Super G. Howden would also race his first World Cup GS at Sestriere but didn’t qualify for the second run with only the top 30 making the cut. A new name has appeared on the Ski News radar ‘Piera Hudson’. The 13 year-old out of the Hawkes Bay made some history at the Whistler
Cup with three top-10 results including sixth in GS, seventh in Kombi and eighth in slalom out of a field of 96. New Zealand fielded 14 kids who all racked up some strong results at the three-day event, which attracts skiers from 18 nations. In a competition likened to the ‘Top Gun’ flight school, the best of the best young American freeskiers are invited to compete in the Freestyle Junior Olympics in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. Well these kids dream of their name on the plaque like ‘iceman’ and it was a kiwi Beau Wells who took out ‘Top Gun’ spot with first equal in Halfpipe and second equal in Slopestyle in the U14 division. Another young gun on the break through Harry Petit had his first season training and competing full time under the Winter Performance Program. He was travelling with Mat Soundy who in Slopestyle made it as far as the semifinals at the European Freeskiing Open. Both now with new tricks and ton of experience will be ones to watch out for this season. The Winter Dew Tour debuted in the States with four events, Lyndon Sheehan in halfpipe took 9th, 16th and 18th in what were stacked international events. Byron Wells also hit the Dew Tour taking 11th and 8th and gaining himself an invite to the prestigious X Games for Pipe. The second kiwi skier to do so he also equalled brother Jossi as the youngest competitor to gain a invite. Byron would narrowly miss
Matt Soundy, European Open, Laax PHOTO: BEN BURNETT
Beau Wells, Remarkables PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
Fraser McDougall and Sam Smoothy, read more on P130 PHOTO: MARC WEILER.CH
making the finals in halfpipe and he would go on to finish the season with 9th Nippon Open. While Jossi Wells was taking podiums in the States he was also receiving kudos back here in NZ at the Helberg Awards, winning the Westpac Emerging Talent of the year. The 2009 season saw Jossi dealing with a considerable amount of knee pain, which would force him to pull out from competing in various events including the finals at X Games and the Jon Olsson Big Air event. He would still rack up a hefty haul of top results including a 2nd and 3rd in Slopestyle at the Dew Tour and 1st Nippon Big Air. While the main part of Jossi’s season was competing in April he switched to filming with Poor Boyz Productions and will have a segment in their next movie. Look out for footage of Jossi’s switch 990 to rail, it is believed to be a world first! Telemark skier Rory Cam made his second trip to Alaska to compete in the World Telemark Freeskiing Championships this year he took 5th against what was a mostly American but very impressive field. When not competing he has been out touring with his fellow free-heelers skiing the massive terrain which can only be found in Alaska.
Resort News Whakapapa suffered an arson attack in February on the Knoll Ridge Chalet and Cat Shed, destroying both. To insure skiers don’t go hungry and can get inside to warm up the resort has constructed a temporary café at the Knoll Ridge Chalet site and reopened the Schuss Haus at Hut Flat. At the Top O’ Bruce Plaza area a caravan will be added and an extension to the deck in front of Lorenz’s Bar & Café. Cardrona Alpine Resort has being manicuring some terrain, removing rocks and widening the Arcadia trail. Thankfully the off-piste terrain in the Arcadia Chutes beside this trail will remain untouched. Treble Cone has made its lower learners slope including the poma and magic carpet free to access and ski by all. Coronet Peak and Remarkables; in breaking news mascot ‘Shred the Kea’ will be joined this season by ‘Spike the Kiwi’ his new best friend. In other kid’s news both areas have upgraded their children’s facilities, but we think Spike will be the favourite addition.
Mt Hutt missed out on a new mascot and got two new cats instead. Mt Hutt now boasts New Zealand’s most modern and extensive grooming fleet. The Chill Pass is a collective of many of the smaller commercial and club resorts of the South Island. This year the Chill pass has added Ohau, taking the ‘Chill’ mountains to twelve. Those purchasing a Chill pass will also have an option to ski all the resorts or choose a region either Chill Mckenize 4 or Cragieburn 6. The famous Porters ski area ‘two for one’ Mondays return in 2009 giving the perfect opportunity to extend your weekend, plus an interchangeable parent pass, allowing parents of pre-schoolers flexibility to share one pass and childcare. Broken River; first turns have already been had at Easter by a couple of trusty club members. Broken River has also announced freezing the prices to 2008 levels for passes and accommodation to keep their motto of affordable skiing since 1951’. They do ask those that are flush to spend up big on the canteen.
Coronet Peak opens June 6th
Coronet opening signals the start of the 2009 NZ season
Ohakune Mardi Gras June 27th
The quintessential NZ winter party, kicks off the season with 100% nz music and fancy dress mayhem.
Queenstown Winter Festival June 26th–July 5th Mini X Games – Whakapapa July 14th/15th
An all kids’ freestyle ski and snowboard competition. Open to kids aged 5-12 years
Adaptive Snow Sports Festival & Disabled National Champs – Cardrona July 26th–31st Volkl Freeski Open – Remarkables and Cardrona August 10th–20th
New Zealand’s premier event attracting the worlds best. Big Mountain, Half Pipe, Slope Style. www.freeskier.co.nz
Winter Games NZ August 22th–30th
Cardrona, Remarkables and Coronet Peak Featuring Alpine Racing, Skier Cross, Alpine Adaptive, Superpipe, Slopestyle, Big Air. wintergames.com
K2 Big Mountain CHILL Series. August 26th–30th University Games Cardona August 29th–2nd SRNZ National Champs – skiracing.org.nz August 4th–5th Black Diamond Temple Basin Big Mountain September 5/6th Export Gold Extreme – Whakapapa September 8th–11th
North islands’ premier big mountain competition.
Junior Freeski and Snowboard Nationals U16 September 28th–October 3rd
New Zealand’s next generation show what they got in Slopestyle, Halfpipe, Big Mountain Skier Cross – Cardrona – freeskier.co.nz
XXI Winter Olympic Games – Vancouver, Canada February 12th–28th
Byron Wells, X Games debut, Aspen PHOTO: ERIK SEO
Photoâ€™s Kyle Cooper. NZ Team Riders for free stickers send s.a.e to po box 268, whangamata
NZ Skier Concepts_v5.indd 1
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More DVD info: www.backlashent.com
Poor Boyz Productions
Red Bull Moving Pictures
Matchstick are the universal studios of the ski movie world and their 09 offering has all the hallmarks of a classic, with the usual all star cast throwing down in some of the world’s best ski locations. Eric Hjorleifson and Mark Amba are the standouts with some mind-blowing skiing. Colby West shows us that he is as much an entertainer as a skier with a Tom Jones parody. However Claim will go down in history as Shane McConkey’s last ski movie, the great entertainer bows out with a true ski section showing why he has been in almost every matchstick movie ever made.
Poor Boyz re-invent themselves this year, with a slower paced documentary style look at the lives of their superstars. Peering behind the scenes to look at the hard work, dedication and long hours on the road involved in being a pro athlete. From epic powder in Japan with JP and Chris Benchetler, to the X-games circus, then Austria, Whistler and Sweden it’s a journey right around the globe. Jossi Wells scores his first major movie segment and throws down at X and in Austria with Simon Dumont and Sammy Carlson. The movie is blended seamlessly together with great music and is great value for money being the longest movie of the year.
Tanner Hall teams up with Red Bull to give us the massive, stunning locations, deepest snow in years and some of the finest skiers out there. Tanner continues to push the boundaries of his skiing with some of the best progressive skiing caught on film, the fluidity of tricks mixed into steep powder lines, is pure creativity on skis. Throw in the Pettit brothers, Ian MacIntosh and the genius of Dana Flahr and the level of skiing is off the hook. Only thing that let’s the movie down is the music, Cali P are the sole musicians for the entire movie. Tough to watch Ian and Dana tear up Alaskan peaks to mellow reggae beats.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
AVALANCHE AWARENESS IN THE NEW ZEALAND BACKCOUNTRY
EDGE OF REASON
Bill Kerig, an ex pro skier set out to make a movie about the soul of big mountain skiing and the brotherhood of skiers who choose to risk it all, to ski the steepest, most dangerous slopes on the planet. His brilliantly written book tells the story of his endeavours documenting and filming the movie in Chamonix, France. The thread for the movie is 15-year-old Kye Peterson, who is going to Chamonix to ski the run on which his father died some 9 years before. Trevor Peterson was a legendary skier, pioneering extreme skiing in the 80’s and 90’s. The book delves into the history, culture and camaraderie of big mountain skiing and will ignite the fire in anyone who has a passion for the mountains, especially the steeps.
Teton Gravity Research TGR movies always have that spine tingling start, the music builds, the chopper powers up and a skier is dropped on a knife-edge ridge atop an insanely steep face. The lump in your throat grows, then boom, they drop. This year it’s Sage Cattabriga-Alosa with the honour and he picks his way down one of the steepest, fluted spines in Alaska you’ll ever see. After Sage has finished slaying Alaskan peaks, you roll straight into Seth Morrison who never disappoints; he front and back flips his way through every line he’s given. The movie rolls on with TGR’s usual soulful feel, until the closing section when it cranks back up for Dana Flahr to destroy it, with the standout segment of the movie.
Penny has created a simple easy to follow guide to the New Zealand backcountry, with invaluable knowledge of our unique weather and snowpack conditions. Every skier who owns a set of touring skis or likes to venture beyond the ski area boundary should own this book. With lots of photos and diagrams the book explains how to identify avalanche terrain, test the snowpack and how to make wiser decisions. Published by the New Zealand Alpine club. www.alpineclub.org.nz
William A. Kerig
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Going skiing in the backcountry is ultimately about taking everything into your own hands including how you get up and ski down the mountain and return home at the end of the day even when things go wrong. This means you need a combination of equipment, knowledge and experience. Here we give you a peek into arguably New Zealand’s best big mountain skier Geoff Small’s kit.
1. Transceiver a, shovel b and probe c are essential. Practice how to use them regularly as time is life. Even when skiing just outside the resort boundary, the risk is just as high, it’s just easier to get there and into trouble. 2. Touring bindings allow you to skin d (walk) up hills, depending on how far and often you are touring will help decide what type of equipment. There are specialist touring boots and bindings, which are lighter and easier to use, or you can use your normal alpine boots with a hybrid alpine/touring binding. A couple of favourite extras of mine are skin glue and Black Diamond Whipits e. 3. Repair kit – gear will break and when the alternative is post holing (walking crutch deep in snow) you will want to be able to fix it. Multitool f,you also may break so take a First Aid kit g as you are your own ski patrol. Sunscreen h and sunglasses i, Nutrition – take enough for the day plus some in reserve like a one square meal.
j 4. Take a map & compass k. Bonus add-ons are an altimeter l or GPS .
5. Snow profile kit – used by snow professionals, no substitute for general avalanche awareness. Magnifying glass shown m. Glacial travel you will need; Ice axe n and crampons o with anti block plates; approved climbing rope p; anchor gear; Ice screw, V thread wire slings q, prussics and carabiners for successful crevasse rescue.
Learn about avalanche awareness mountainsafety.org.nz
Learn snow travel skills alpineclub.org.nz
Hire a guide
Get some clinics skier.co.nz
j g a
l d e
PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN
Vuarnet Skilynx Sunglasses Vuarnet Sunglasses are renowned for the optical performance, the ski lynx comes with classic styles and 100% UV protection perfect for the slopes.
POV 1.5 Helmet Cam The POV1.5 helmet camera kit is the latest offering from V.I.O., the market leader in point of view camera systems. It’s rugged, waterproof, easy to use and can record up to 6 hours of DVD quality footage. www.launchhelmetcams.com
The Casio Exilim EX-FC100
Skullcandy T.I. headphones The T.I’s Titanium drivers and unique detailing make it a cut above. Stay warm and in tune this winter. RRP $169.95
This is a slim compact that’s got punch It feature’s burst shooting at a reduced rate of 30 images per second. This means its great for shooting action even if you’re not a pro you will get the shot. Electronic shutter (no moving parts), Super slowmo video, High-def video, Picture-taking in Digital Negative (DNG) file format, Super high-speed flash and Emphasis on speed over megapixels.
ABS Avalanche Airbag System The ABS avalanche airbag is a well thought out and proven system to prevent burial in an avalanche and to survive the fall with the fewest possible injuries. When you pull on the activation handle of your ABS avalanche airbag the two airbags will be activated in a flash. The volume of the airbags allows you to stay on the surface of the avalanche. Take charge and do not solely rely on a rescue or an avalanche beacon. Twenty-five years of experience and continuous development are the reasons that 98% of all avalanche victims, who activated their ABS avalanche airbag, have survived while 90% of this group were completely uninjured! www.brandex.co.nz
AvaLung II The AvaLung II may be the most important piece of life-saving equipment you can wear when travelling in avalanche terrain. While a beacon can be a great body locator device, the AvaLung II allows you to breathe fresh air directly from the snowpack, buying you precious time during a rescue. Re-breathing exhaled air when you’re buried causes suffocation because the air becomes oversaturated with carbon dioxide and depleted of oxygen. The AvaLung II diverts the exhausted air away from your fresh-air intake zone, considerably extending the time your partners have to conduct a successful recovery. This nine-ounce shoulder sling is proven to extend lives; it’s trusted by guides, avalanche control workers, patrollers and ski mountaineers worldwide. Sizes available: S/M, M/L. RRP: $199 www.southernapproach.co.nz or call 0800 335 000
Troy Lee designs â€“ D2 Carbon Helmet Although a full face this hemet is super lightweight and incredibly strong. It has 60% carbon fiber, great aerodynamics and is created using aerospace technology. The choice of big mountain legend Seth Morrison, perfect for anyone who wants to huck big cliffs. www.www.mountainbikes.co.nz
The Sony HDRTG1E A pocket-sized, Full HD camcorder created to capture high definition video while on the go. Perfect for skiing it actually fits in a pocket and simple to shoot. It also takes stunning 4.0 megapixel still images and records straight to memory stick.
Suunto Core Watch The Suunto Core keeps you informed with an accurate altimeter, barometer, digital thermometer, Weather Trend Indicator and digital compass. Daily functions include dual time, date, alarm, sports chronograph and predicted times for sunrise and sunset. RRP $599 www.suunto.com
PHOTO: SCOTT GAFFNEY
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure ... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twili ght that knows not victory nor defeat. â€“ Teddy Roosevelt
PHOTO: SAM HALL
The news of Shane McConkey’s death literally knocked me on to my ass. Like many skiers around the world, for me it just didn’t really sink in at the start - it was just unfathomable. “It’s like superman just died,” said one skier, but anyone who had seen his antics knew the risk, especially those closest to him but still the outcome just didn’t fit., McConkey had been so much to so many. It was hard to grasp that his time had come to an end. McConkey is arguably skiing’s most influential figure of past 20 years. A ski innovator, he popularised the fat ski and then flipped ski technology on its head with his pro model ski the ‘Spatula’ which introduced the world to rocker and reverse sidecut. He has led the skiing world with his antics on and off the slopes, his life captured through the lens of ski movies and magazines. His personality was contagious, his skiing awe inspiring, his base jumping jaw
dropping. Even my late mother commented on how amazing it would be to fly when she saw McConkey and his fellow wing-suited flying friends. McConkey died in March in a ski base-jumping accident while filming in Italy. He was to perform a double back flip, release his skis by way of a cord and wing suit away - a stunt he had done numerous times before. However, this time his ski bindings didn’t release so McConkey had to manually release them, which he did but not soon enough. His chute didn’t open in the 12second freefall. My mind swirled with emotions as I recalled my time in Squaw as judge at a Freeride World Tour competition alongside McConkey just a month before his death. When I told friends about the trip, they didn’t comment on the skiing. “Dude, you are going hang out with McConkey,” they all said. I remember leaving the competitors meeting, McConkey leading us judges to a bar-restaurant for a beer and burger. The conversation swirled through judging, skiing, injuries but more than anything, McConkey’s recent trip to New Zealand to film base jumping in Fiordland with his good friend kiwi base-jumper Chuck Berry. McConkey talked about base-jumping like a French wine maker might talk Pinot Noir, with passion and a glint in his eye. I tried to take a photo for my blog, McConkey instantly pulled a goofy face and said he never gives straight photo faces and then cracked up.
There’s nothing better than skiing down snow and flying through the air PHOTO: SAM HALL
PHOTO: FLIP McCRIRICK
McConkey then took to freeskiing during its infancy and become a regular to the podium; US Freeskiing Champion, European Champion, World Tour Champion, 2nd X Games Skier Cross, as well as competing in big air events and being voted number one or two in Powder Magazine’s reader polls for six consecutive years.
As I toiled with the emotions of life and living, a quote I knew as a teenager by Teddy Roosevelt entered my thoughts. It instantly bought some clarity and reminded me of why so many skiers around the world admired him. “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though chequered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” It’s hard to comprehend the need for such risk as base jumping brings in its various forms, but at the same time it’s hard to comprehend why, as Teddy Roosevelt puts it, people would waste a life in the “grey twighlight”. Over his skiing career McConkey had evolved into a skiing ”God”, with a legion of fans and inspired followers, it wasn’t just what he skied but how he lived it. “That’s just how I live my life: I grip it and I rip it,” is a classic McConkey line showing his goof ball sense of humour but the reality was he did ”live it” and like no other. The Make a Wish Foundation is an American organisation that grants children with life-threatening illnesses a wish. Skiing with McConkey was one boy’s wish and McConkey had the kid up at sparrows fart to be part of the ritual of getting first chair on a Squaw powder day. McConkey could have got the resort marketing to allow them up the front of the que, he could have simply asked I doubt anyone would have said no, but that wasn’t the point. McConkey wanted the kid to truly live it not just ski it. If you go online today you will see thousands of tributes - people explaining of how McConkey inspired them “to live their dreams”, how they were welcomed by his humbleness, how he genuinely showed interest in everyone he met, how he made people feel special andhow he remember people’s names even when he met them only briefly. The skier’s hero, he came from humble background. Raised by his solo-mother, McConkey dropped out of university and moved on from racing with the US Ski team (thanks to injury and disinterest) and took on moguls, winning a pro mogul event before pulling the finger at moguls for being too rigid. – This was done by back flipping the bottom jump after blowing out up top – an illegal stunt that had him escorted from the resort. He returned to the competition venue claiming he was just getting his gear and then did the mogul course naked, gaining himself a life time ban from Vail Resorts.
While many competitors are happy to complain about the state of judging or the structures of the sport, McConkey is one of the few to do something about it. He formed the IFSA in 1997 to give skiers a voice and to bring some structure to the sport. But at no time did he want to stifle the free spirit of sport. His influence was felt here in New Zealand, when McConkey attended the Rip Curl Heli Challenge. His influence helped kick-start Nick Mills and Tony Harrington to form the New Zealand Free Ski Association. For most, McConkey will be remembered for his ski movie presence. Somehow, he would always come up with something and steal the show. His sections would combine full-throttle skiing down Alaskan peaks and simply being funny. As his alter ego, “Saucer Boy”, he would don white pants, fluoro jacket, harness, snow blades and a bottle of whiskey and proceed to make you laugh. In the early 2000s, Shane started to incorporate his new passion, ‘BASE’ jumping, into his movie segments. This evolved into ski base jumping and wing-suiting. He called it “skiing the close out, the line just that just doesn’t go”. With a parachute it was totally possible. In one particular stunt he skied off near the summit of Switzerland’s Eiger, launching into a double front flip before pulling his parachute. Shane McConkey will be remembered for many things: an icon of the sport, for being humble in his global fame, as class clown, innovator, husband and father. His life was so full of colour it inspired a generation of skiers and especially those closest to him. I have no doubt that his legacy will continue to inspire.
OVER IT A trip up Mt. Rolleston
Words and Photos By Joe Harrison to be the The low point of any ski trip in Canterbury has h on stretc fields empty vast The . plains the s drive acros don’t Range se Torles the of forever, while the mountains dead-straight seem to get any closer as you drive down the State Highway 73. I found The boring journey behind me, it was dark when tion the small DOC hut that would be my accommoda and bag ng sleepi my into d jumpe y quickl I for the night. in store. started thinking about what the next day had and banging During the night I was woken by the crashing my skiing Pete, was it fully, of something in the hut; thank had come and shift night off got just had who r, partne straight from work. winds. After stopping to sign We woke the next morning to blue sky and light car beside the diggers and the d parke we Pass, rs Arthu in office in at the DOC to our packs and set off skis our ed attach graders at the Otira Valley car park, kept the high peaks had dumps in search of the snowline. While late spring had eaten away at sun ber Novem warm the snow, of Arthurs Pass covered in we finally could before hours the snowline, making the hike last for over two g. tourin start stick on our skins and ton finally came into view. As we skinned up the valley, the mighty Mt Rolles st peak in the Arthurs highe d secon Standing at over 2275 metres, it is the State Highway 73. This beside right t almos d locate is and Park al Pass Nation ar peaks to climb in popul most of one it s close proximity to the road make Rolleston should not be Mt sible, acces easily be may it while but the park, jagged rocks have claimed the underestimated. Its snow covered faces and lives of 19 climbers since 1929. base of the peak felt bloody With not a cloud in the sky, touring up to the outlook soon disappeared as oing easyg d, relaxe the ly, fantastic. Unfortunate were soon feeling the legs our Slide; we began the steep skin up the Otira 34
which strain as we roasted under the summer sun late Our got. we r highe the seemed to get hotter as morning start was not helping our situation, , slush to d turne now had snow ing the firm morn causing skins to slip and fall off, making the ascent even more tiring. After an exhausting few hours of skinning, we stopped at the top of the slide with the low peak ssive of Mt Rolleston towering above us. The impre Mt r brothe baby its and view of Mt Rolleston Philistine helped to ease the pain of our tired the muscles and sunburnt bodies. We were not day only people out enjoying the mountain on this rs oarde snowb and skiers other eight – at least could be seen shredding different lines in the distance. As I clicked into my bindings and adjusted my goggles, I felt a sudden burst of excitement, the kind you get when you’re a kid at Christmas ed waiting to open your first present. Pete dropp y in first, and it became clear that the wet slopp ed power he Yet t. perfec from far were conditions down through the spring snow as he made his way Otira through the gullys of the upper section of the y Slide. My fat skis felt like waterskis as the slush and slow turn each them, neath under glided snow t sticky. Yet I couldn’t help but smile as I caugh may up to Pete halfway down our line. The snow hardhave sucked, but we were both enjoying our red all earned turns. The bottom of the slide appea too soon, so we pointed our skis down the valley d and straight-lined past the boulders that littere ine. snowl the ed reach we till floor the valley A few hours later we were at a mate’s BBQ. n’t Friends asked me how the day was, but I could ber really explain it. It’s funny how you only remem sweat and pain the while trip, a the good parts of seems to fade from your memory, which I guess leave is a good thing – otherwise we would never the house.
ACROSS THE TOPS ge
A spring time traverse of the Craigieburn Ran
Words and Photos By Grant Guise
on. Already 10:30am and we are less than half area way, with the large, unknown (to us anyway) We between Izard, Cloudsey and Enys still to go. Ryton the of head the down turns g push on, makin to. Valley on firm snow that the sun has yet to get
taken Kath, Duncan, Jane “8:40am, hmm, not bad,” I exclaim. It has just of Hamilton Peak, from the top the to tour ski to hour one over and I a little but we are pacing ourselves fast, overly Not Craigieburn Valley Ski Area base. we see the day’s Peak, ton Hamil of top the from south look we today. As distance is Mt Enys; at the in 15km ly Rough us. of objective spread out in front goal is to skin and Our . Range 2194m it’s the highest peak in the Craigieburn Area. Ski rs Porte to on then and it ski our way to Enys summ tourer’s dream. The range The Craigieburn Range in Canterbury is a ski in the north down to Porters mere stretches out well over 20km, from Grass g up to 700-verticalofferin faces, big and basins High end. at its southern tment of club and assor An . range the litter metre ski runs in a good winter, ountry, as well as a backc the into s acces great give areas ski commercial g turns when the avalanche place to hone skills, and safe options for gettin high. is risk we are going for the traverse. But today the danger of avalanche is low and rained last night, except for the It high. is level ng freezi the It’s springtime and top of Hamilton Peak towards the off top 200 metres, so we make fresh turns to the ridge for the most stick to is plan The Knob. us Nervo s Broken River’ downs. Over the years, at and ups short part, which means lots of relatively se, and the ground traver this of ns sectio led travel have we , times different is especially familiar. eman Chees Mt high 2031m between Craigieburn and the Cheeseman Ski at off stop to We make quick work of this, fighting the urge after leaving hours two than less eman Chees Mt to Club for a coffee and get Hamilton’s summit. the head of the Ryton Valley, The southwest slopes of Mt Cheeseman form rest of the Craigieburn Range. the with Club Ski us Olymp Mt which connects our traverse, but it is getting in us Olymp There is a temptation to include Mt
The long, flat climbs onto the summits of Izard and Cloudsey, in what is fast becoming a hot n spring day, seem to go on for an age, only broke up by the amazing views into the Ryton Valley s and the excellent spring snow we ski on Izard’ an south face. By this stage, we have passed up untold amount of bowls and basins, some that to the have possibly never been skied, as we stick in rs Porte to it make to pt attem an ridgeline in 73. time to hitch down to our car, left at Highway Getting the steep climb up Mt Enys’ north ridge the over and done with is a relief, as we know from from hours two than less summit of Enys we are d after Porters. Enys is a pretty cool summit, name of lder runho and alist natur John Enys, an early is Castle Hill Station. The southeast face of Enys d cuppe had one some if as d shape a large bowl, their hands as the snow fell in place. bowl, We rip our skins and work our way down the ent excell in side, hand right , sunny its skiing spring corn snow. Then it’s a series of short ups and downs, before rs one final climb onto Uli’s Roll at the top of Porte as world nt differe a ng enteri like Ski Area. It’s the we ski into Porters, the sun is going behind e peopl of eds hundr with cool, g gettin it’s ridge, our everywhere, but we are grateful as we make way straight for the café to refuel. my Between shoving down food, I go over the info 2495 day: the during ted collec Suunto watch has vertical metres of climbing and 2420m of skiing g that over 7 ½ hours – a pretty honest day’s tourin we are all stoked with.
WEEKDAYS Words and Photos By Joe Harrison
It’s not easy working a nine to five, Monday to a Friday job in winter. While you’re trying to make more with s friend your , office the in living t decen runs relaxed career paths are lapping up powder your and texting you just to rub it in. Turning up to that find to ing morn day local ski hill on a Satur a Wednesday’s big dump has been turned into in taste bitter a with you leave mogul field can your mouth. nd Thankfully, last winter I discovered the weeke easy road, good a has It hill. dream r’s warrio access to mint backcountry riding, a chilled all, atmosphere, 45 dollar lift tickets and, best of it has Peak Fox Yes, nds. it’s only open on weeke being all for the weekend charger. While powder is , tracked out mid-week by the nation’s ski bums for Fox’s slopes sit fresh and trackless, waiting everyone to finish their Friday after-work drinks and hit the hill on Saturday. Located just outside of Fairlie, Fox Peak is the country’s southernmost club field and could just be one of most relaxed ski areas on earth. r If you’re lucky enough to catch Fox on a powde some into ed stepp have you like day, you’ll feel no lift new psychedelic dimension where there are not if day, all tracks fresh ski to get lines and you all weekend. is the My human geography lecturer once said “It it inhab who e peopl the s shape that t nmen enviro skiers the for true be to s it”; this certainly seem who make their weekend commute to Fox Peak. field Instead of investing in storage buildings, the has brought in shipping containers, which look
from the ocean. And, apart from kind of funny sitting in the snow over 100 km three rope tows, although by sed acces is tain moun the a single Poma lift, other clubbies, these ones the of compared to the nasty tows found at some right” style of ski field be l “she’l guts, as rough This ride. are a dream to who could not give a locals of group rd management has attracted a die-ha to ski and are happy to here are They . Miller Bode or Hall r Tanne damn about suits. ski iece one-p brown and do it in their circa-1978, yellow exceptional as it is memorable. Facilities aside, the terrain at Fox Peak is as Range, Fox Peak towers above bs Located at the eastern tip of the Two Thum far below. This offers the Plains rbury Cante the and the surrounding peaks Pacific Ocean sitting the with turns skier the strange sensation of making you feel like you’re make can here slopes the skiing der; shoul over one’s right about to fall off the mountain. Before me sits Fox Peak, in all Standing at the top of Apex Tow, I’m drooling. ical lines falling off the North its 2400 metres of glory, with endless tight techn it. But this is where the summ the to t ascen gentle its Basin ridge as it makes s above the highest meter al vertic lifts end, and with the peak sitting over 500 eiver. transc the on turn and out skins the get rope tow, it’s time to it of Fox summ standing at the After a few hours of huffing and puffing, I’m peaks” metre “3000 the es, daddi big with Peak. The view to the west is filled ssive to say the least. impre is view the and ird blueb it’s Alps; ern of the South to enjoy the fruits of a morning’s After a quick traverse of the ridge, it’s time rope tows look tiny from up The down. look I and on, are skis My g. tourin , a real leg burner… perfect! bottom the to ski long a here, and it’s going to be
â€˜I am an athlete, my sport is skiing, it is my first love, I have skied with guts, relied on my instincts alone, I am Head NZ and I am youâ€™
PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
FROM FUEL STOP
TO RESORT TOWN The drive south from Christchurch to the Southern Lakes ski fields is a long and arduous one at the best of times. Driving through the straights of the Mackenzie Country’s arid land, it’s not hard to wonder who lives here in this halfway world. The road makes a bend, then rises, and those that drive this way often instantly know what’s next: an oasis, to stretch the legs, grab a refreshment, get food, refuel and drive on. For a stop and go, the offerings are standard and plentiful with two standouts. One is Poppa’s Pizza, which boasts more old ski paraphernalia than any of the other skier’s restaurants further south. But it is the Japanese restaurant Kohan that has become the favourite for regular users of this highway. Sushi can be grabbed, or a full-on sit down meal, but beware of your timing; it doesn’t open till 6.30pm and tour buses are frequent. The oasis is the town of Tekapo, and over the last five years skiers driving this road will have noticed the developments, new holiday homes and apartment blocks. But why? Back in the 80’s, this was the place for Canterbury farmers and the like to come to teach their kids to ski. The beginner’s terrain at Roundhill Ski Area was perfect for the little Johnnys and Nicolas of the day to scoot down the slopes while Ma and Pa enjoyed the car park picnic. Today, the area has had somewhat of a renaissance, with families returning to the
picturesque lakeside town. Roundhill still offers perfect learner’s slopes, and has added snowmaking and a terrain park to ensure the kids don’t get too comfortable. If you’re worried that your wild tales of skiing Roundhill’s double green runs will never woo the girls in the local Parnell wine bar, don’t worry; jumping in a helicopter is the answer. A heliski day around New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook, should fill any Veuve Clicquot-fuelled story with enough macho antics to see ladies swooning all over Auckland. Or, if you want the story without the price tag, head to Ohau just down the road. The resort boasts some amazing steeps and easy access to the backcountry, but you will be replacing Moet with something more like a hot Mountain Thunder and steak pie. In need of a down day? Head up to Mount Cook Village and take an hour to view the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. Better still, after all the vert heliskiing, drop into Alpine Springs and Spa to soothe those aches and pains; there is also an outside ice skating rink if you haven’t had enough sliding. While late-night partying might find you a lone shepherd at the bar, you could try star gazing instead. The area is renowned for the clarity of the night sky, so much so that an observatory was built on nearby Mt John. The Southern Lights are a common phenomenon here, and some amazing photographs of them can be seen around town.
The New Zealand Ski Club of Kashmir
Words and Photos by Julian Hill
Kashmir homeboys Top: Race day. Bottom: Martin and
his team of volunteer instructors
It is an unfortunate truth that some ski resorts are a cookie-cutter bland-a-thon that can leave the real ski traveller disappointed and dispirited. Fortunately there is another option. Imagine a land so foreign that it literally snatches your breath away. A country where the warmth of the locals – their lives shattered by warfare – touches the heart of even the most cynical. The place is Gulmarg in Kashmir: an international ski resort in its infancy, perched on the infamous ‘line of control’ separating India and Pakistan. Over the last couple of years, it has appeared on the radar of Kiwi powder junkies because of the snow, terrain, lift access and downright exoticness. In Gulmarg a committed group of Kiwis is making a difference by giving something back to a community accustomed to exploitation, war and hardship. Ski instructor volunteers from ‘The New Zealand Ski Club of Kashmir’ (NZSCK) work to change the lives of young Kashmiris by offering free instruction. Leading the team is New Zealander, Martin Jones, an intrepid and impassioned skier and snow sports businessman. Martin got hooked on Kashmir after an adventure ski trip to Gulmarg and its towering massif Mt Affarwhat (4200m) in 1989. This was before the installation of the second-hand gondola at the resort and the most recent war between India and Pakistan. This turbulent period led Bill Clinton to declare Kashmir “the most dangerous place on earth”. Martin was struck by the contrast between the comfort and opportunity in New Zealand and the crushing poverty in Kashmir. He saw an
“I give you very good price”
opportunity to create a lasting contribution to the lives of the local people. Adopting a typically Kiwi D.I.Y. ethic in 2006, Martin formed a partnership with Kashmiri ski guide Majeed Bakshi, when Martin gave him his skis. The next season they launched the NZSCK to promote skiing amongst the towns neighbouring the Gulmarg resort. Over the last four years the NZSCK has donated literally tonnes of equipment and clothing and has provided business initiatives, support and advice to the local community. The volunteer instructors who join Martin at his lodge, “The Kiwi House” in Gulmarg, share this ethic of giving. This year’s international team of eight snow sports instructors worked almost every day to teach 120 children throughout the winter in a series of learnto-ski programs. As Gulmarg grows as an international ski destination the resort requires more patrollers, instructors and resort staff. NZSCK training is crucial to provide local people with access to high paying jobs at the resort. The participants in the programs range from six year-old snow-ploughing rippers to university-aged students who aspire to become instructors or guides and work at Gulmarg in the winters. Some have had their fathers killed in the war. Most endure hardship in their daily village lives during the harsh Himalayan winters. Yet their smiles radiate all day along with their irrepressible enthusiasm for skiing. Kiwi ski instructor Marius, comments that for him, the ski program represents the notion of unconditional giving and it empowers the youth to realise their ‘mana’, a Maori word for authority. He believes that the program helps the youth
assert their personal authority and influence, to create change within their lives, through skiing. The creation of change and the introducing of the youth to the elation of skiing are central themes, which the program hangs on. The childrens training cumulates with a GS race and presentation of a certificate acknowledging their participation in the program. It’s an exciting day and fathers dressed in traditional Kashmiri wool philrans gather from the local towns to watch their children compete. The pride emanating from a fathers face as his seven-yearold son crosses the finish line is deeply heart felt. The ‘NZSCK program’ has not been without pitfalls in its pilot year. In India, a land so wrapped in bureaucracy that purchasing a ticket for the gondola can take up most of your morning, the provision of local support and equipment has been erratic at best. Last year Martin imported a container full of skis donated by New Zealanders ready for the start of this winter’s program. The container is still sitting in a lot somewhere in India waiting for ‘processing’ which usually involves a lot of baksheesh (bribes). This combined with the government refusal to provide lift tickets for the children to train has placed continuing financial pressure on the organization. Martin and Billa have been left to foot the bill to see the dreams of the children realised. Always positive Martin simply shrugs off the inconvenience; “this is India!” To support the New Zealand Ski Club of Kashmir through volunteering time, funding or equipment, or to stay at the Kiwi House, contact: Martin Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Palisades evolved (with the help from people like Scot) into being a seldom skied place to a long line of skiers waiting to rush to the top once the patrol had opened it after a new snowfall. Scot by this time had linked up with The North Face and was honing his image in a professional manor. This was the time when he was hooked up with Gary Nate a cameraman for Warren Miller Productions. I was shooting alongside Gary when he was filming Scot on this day. â€“ Larry Prosor
You know the look. It’s the epitome of 90’s ski style: North Face yellow and black one-piece, backpack with lots of straps flying, headband, bright Bolle goggles, Raichle ski boots and, of course, K2 Extreme skis. This collection of brands and colours are iconically attached to Scot Schmidt, the poster boy of what was coined extreme skiing. Schmidt not only owned the look, but also a unique skiing style, which graced ski movies and magazines all over the world. Scot Schmidt first appeared on my skiing radar when I was a teenager, gracing my bedroom wall wearing that exact getup. It was a K2 poster with him airing through massive California redwood trees. While I heard of him regularly, it wasn’t until some ten years later that I saw the movie that truly made him a legend: Greg Stump’s Blizzard of Aahhhs. The movie starts in Squaw Valley, following a group of skiers trying out for the position to be Scot Schmidt’s skiing partner as the movie heads to Chamonix, the home of extreme skiing. Glen Plake would gain that spot, and it would be the start of his status as a skiing icon too. Through narration, the movie explores the themes of personal choice, the litigation that was stifling America, of skiing a new way, free to push the boundaries and to love the sport, and a series of ohhhs and ahhhs – the “blizzard of aahhhs”. Throughout the movie, Schmidt showcases his trademark style smear turn. One leg nearly straight and the other bent under, the body and butt close to the snow, as well as his steep skiing turn: the long, reached-out pole plant, tucked up airs (hands low to the boots), and regular hip checks from air turns and cliffs, all with a fluid energetic style. All this on the skis of the time, a pair of 220 downhills. I am greeted at the door by a wry smile and the look of a long-time skier with tanned skin and wrinkles around the eyes. I am surprised at his light five-foot-ten frame, but it is immediately obvious that this skiing legend is not some rock star of sport, but a kind and humble man who has inspired generations of skiers. Schmidt is in New Zealand on a trip for sponsor North Face, and over a couple of beers I am taken through a skier’s life, one rich with experiences that have traversed the globe from Alaska to Morocco, and so many places in between. Schmidt’s skiing career took a promising turn in high school, when he won the Northern Division Championships, beating a bunch of older college skiers in both the GS and Downhill. In doing so, his points dropped to well under a hundred. His coaches pulled him aside and told him to look west for a bigger race programme.
In 1979, after graduating high school in Montana, he jumped on the Greyhound bus and headed out to join the Squaw Valley Ski Team. He wouldn’t last long in the racing programme; he had the points, but not the money to pursue it. Yet, what seemed the end of his skiing career was literally just the beginning. I had in my minds eye a photo of a skier flying through the air above one of the most photographed places in the America, Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe. In summer it’s thick with tourists lining the road with their cameras, in winter at sunrise there were none. Pre North Face contract, Scot agreed to dress in the red skier theme outfit I put together for him. Hiking up in new, soft snow at sunrise we spotted the perfect setup for catching some air off a large rock with a safe run out combined with a unique angle above the bay. All elements came together for a photo that has seen wide exposure world wide. – Larry Prosor
Through his ski shop job, he was introduced to local ski photographer Larry Prosser. This meeting would turn into Schmidt’s first published photo; it captured him sending it off the Squaw Valley’s Palisades “extra cliff”, which he explains was “a good sixty-footer”. The photo was part of a Powder Magazine article documenting the new breed of skiing coming out of Squaw. Skiers were skiing new lines and redefining what was possible. During this period, he was living the true ski bum way, tuning skis and secretly living in an abandoned room in the Race Department building. In the winter of 1982, cameraman Gary Nate came to Squaw and tracked Schmidt down, filming him hitting the Palisades for the Warren Miller movie Ski Time. Schmidt stood out from the other skiers, and Warren Miller proclaimed that this was the most spectacular footage he had ever witnessed.
After the Powder Eight contest Scot and I went out with guide Bob Rankin and a smaller “A Star” helicopter. We were able to get to some steeper terrain beyond the wealthy client cruiser runs. Scot leaps off a cliff band striking his classic cat in the air look. Not sure why he looks like he does in the air but I do know it’s a natural position for him after seeing it many times. – Larry Prosor
What followed was an invitation for Schmidt to film with the Warren Miller crew that summer in New Zealand. Schmidt reminisces about the “full red carpet treatment” from: the New Zealand tourism, heli-skiing up the Tindle Glacier, and on The Remarkables before the ski area was put in. This footage, and another section in Squaw, would be seen in Ski Country. This breakthrough year was followed by a career with over forty appearances in ski movies, starring in the Warren Miller series of films that were shown around the States in cinemas prior to each winter. At the time, he didn’t see his skiing as inspiring, but, more selfishly, it was his way of living a skiing lifestyle, getting free gear and going on trips, and prolonging his ski bum existence. Later, it would blow him away how much of a following he had and the people who cited his skiing as an inspiration. For the first years, while filming, he continued working, ski tuning in between trips. He didn’t make a dime from his skiing, and by the time spring rolled around each year he would be broke again. The Warren Miller Company controlled what the skiers in the films wore and skied on:
“this pink one-piece and these rear entry boots for this trip, please,” Schmidt explains. He describes having to stiffen the new rear entry boots that were nearly impossible to ski in, especially at a high level on the long skis of the day. Schmidt describes himself as one to let it happen, to never really have a master plan. At the end of a film trip in Europe, Schmidt decided to stay, while the rest of the crew headed home. By chance, a skier he knew from Squaw walked up to him while standing in the middle of a Geneva train station and invited him to Verbier to share his room. This trip opened another chapter that he fondly recalls, skiing the steeps of Verbier. Legendary photographer Mark Shapiro heard he was in town and invited him to ski for him, ski modeling for brochure and catalogue shoots. This paid him a couple of hundred dollars a day, and he finished the season for the first time with some money in his pocket. Each spring, he would move down to Santa Cruz to surf, living out of his van and earning money by selling his gear and collecting the benefit. It was in the summer following Verbier that he met by chance surfing legend Tom Curren’s agent. Three
weeks later he had an endorsement contract with North Face, Salomon boots and K2 skis; Bolle goggles would follow. This was a first for any skier, and in a short time he was making 50K a year. Around this time, Greg Stump invited him to film with him. Scot initially wasn’t into it. Stump’s past films were more bumps, but Stump turned Schmidt when he explained that there would be a month of filming in Chamonix. “That movie did more for my career than all the Warren Miller films combined,” Schmidt explains. The VCR had become affordable, and skiers were for the first time able to watch the movies at home. The film was different to the somewhat cheesy Miller movies of the time, it had a story, a beginning and an end, as well as talent and location, all interwoven into what is today considered one of the most classic ski movies of all time. “I had a blast! We weren’t skiing any differently than normal, it was just the way Stump was able to bring it together.” – Hamish Acland
Digging deep into the grey matter, I recall meeting Scot for the first time in 1979. We were introduced by a friend, Ed Benetez, who was managing a ski shop in Squaw Valley, California. Ed had mentioned Scot a few times to me as a great young skier from Montana who was working for him at the time. This was in the late 70’s, the “golden years” of Squaw: narrow long skis, no snowboards, no high-speed quads, very little grooming equipment and no Hummers in the parking lot. The first time Scot and I ventured out on a photo shoot, it quickly became apparent from his extreme lines, tackled with his now-trademark style and grace, that his skiing was on a higher plane. His clothing wasn’t, (he still favoured “California/Montana casual”), so I loaned him my red jacket to brighten up the photos. That red jacket graced the pages of many a ski magazine in the future. But it was the day he skied The Palisades at Squaw, that I really saw what Scot could do. The Palisades is shaped like an amphitheater, and is visible from the chairlifts below; skiing any line here is known as a right of manhood. There is no easy way down. Scot had been scoping a line never known to have been skied before. I did my best to try to talk him out of it, pointing out, “It’s only a photo. Not worth getting killed over. Don’t do it for me.” His answer was clear. “I’m doing it. If you want a photo, get ready”. It was a huge drop over a large overhanging cornice, into a narrow chute just wide enough for his skis, followed by another air over a rock band, followed by another massive drop, leading to a warp speed run-out across a steep bowl. My heart was pounding. Coming out of Buddhist-like meditation, Scot calmly announced he was ready. He not only skied the line once, he skied it twice that day, flawlessly. His tracks in the snow left their mark, and word of the feat spread amongst the ski bum fraternity. The line was named “Schmidtidiots” in Scot’s honor. Soon, others were inspired by Scot. The winter’s collection of photos made for a portfolio worthy of a personal visit to Powder Magazine – skiing’s bible in those days. Surveying the collection of photos lined up on a light table (predigital and auto focus, when photographers paid their dues), the founders of the magazine, Neil Stebbins and David Moe, froze in their beach attire. The images from that season at Squaw featuring Scot and others went on to become a nine-page photo feature with a centre spread foldout entitled “Ski to Die”. I hated the title, but loved the exposure. Those photos were the beginning of the era of extreme skiing, and helped launch Scot’s career as well as my own. We went on to have many good times, pushing the boundaries together, both proud to be healthy, and not out to “ski to die”.
Pioneer territory for Scot freefalling off the Palisades. This jump was the biggest leap I had seen to this date. Long downhill race skis for a long runout at the bottom. My red jacket replacing his dark blue “Squaw Valley Ski Team” dark blue sweatshirt. Color and fashion upgrade. Scot’s early dedication showing with his commitment to wearing my sweaty jacket which was ripe from many a day without a wash. I guess the wind and his adrenalin were rushing enough to keep body odor minimized. – Larry Prosor
Throughout my time in the snow industry, even as Editor of Powderhound, I never thought it was possible to meet Scot, let alone ski with him! I always perceived him as some form of untouchable ski god. So I feel really fortunate to have had that opportunity come my way. I found Scot to be very cool and laid back, but at the same time very professional and articulate in every action. When filmmaker Greg Stump recently quoted that Scot was skiing better now than 20 years ago, I would have never believed it â€“ until I saw it with my own eyes. It was all quite a surreal experience. â€“ Alex Guzman 49
By Ca Words And Photos
are set to these storm cycles “… And it looks like August,” of t res ly basis for the continue on a week NZ news. TV on r me far i Kiw working nterbury grumbles the hardCa ng ryi bu different. Storms are is n aso se South 08 the 20 e Th ile, skiers across not happy. Meanwh sses, bo ir the for es us and the farmers are exc and more elaborate re mo h wit up e cars, com Island load up their s Arthurs Pass. mage north toward thing I know, I and make the pilgri I roll the dice. Next system is rolling in, re we take the ssu n, pre pla l low rea er no th Hearing that anoth rth to Canterbury. Wi no z Cru s ola Nic skier off. am driving French trip may finally pay ping that a club field o gamble and drive, ho d we are plunged int River access road an en ok Br l. tro the to con on in we turn off olas tries to ga It’s 5pm by the time spin overtime as Nic ed and ls of my 1990 Subaru ee the road are confus wh wn e do Th . ing ess com rkn s da car e Th . than ideal yle s -st les da dy ow, Cana nditions are alrea It is dumping with sn driving up now? Co at the hell ots Wh idi d. se roa the ack are -tr y gle on the buried sin annoyed with us; wh car er oth an ng eti alone me on the descent, let going to make it. t don’t think we are are we doing? I jus d wide eyes I th clammy hands an and relax a little. Wi lift runs through s g od lin go fee the ng of gli I see the lights tion is buried. A tin sta lift s od den trees, the go -la e Th ow . sn car trudge through the clamber out of the Star Hut and ite . Very good. As we od Wh go the be o ld int ar cou is ge r my body. Th . We arrive, sort ou ws gro ic ep ng thi anticipation of some nk bed. g. bag ourselves a bu attempt to go skiin face the storm and to dy Ski pow . rea t ble ge ssi we po , ht horns , making skiing at nig tow Taking the bull by the e rop m only a is tto s bo hts lining the bottom lift. Nicola Broken River has lig up the stairway to the get y lk ma wa I r We . fea I ow ly orr ck thi tom e snow is falling so tonight, and ski pow Th . r him ove e rec se t to no me, but I can take a few moments few feet in front of bottom rope tow, I re. the su po at ing com riv ain Ar reg nt. I drier, lost in it at any mome en through a tumble line. Every g like I have just be hovering over the tow ht lig of ols from the hike; feelin po t bu ng and ing ari yth pe an e ap l, se ’t hil can the I acon floating down Looking up the hill, be t ian on the rad ing a rid of , se ier ch a glimp it’s a ghost-like sk now and then, I cat bottom, I work out the at ing erg Em . disappearing again their head torch. p onto the storm by the light of in the snow, we jum ly figures bouncing ost gh the n joi d an re Frothing to get up the ess. isked off into darkn rope tow and are wh
for the g in go ’s he re he w t no s ow kn He ion … at in st de e th t no s it’ – de ci de ocean will it’s the glory of the ride – EDWARD MONKTON
The Frenchman gets deep in a Kiwi barrel
“I’ll hit the brakes
and he’ll fly right
ke past my face as I ma ep snow that floats de , of dry ht, ion lig rat ila the red for , the sheer exh I wasn’t quite prepa ling we all strive for rk. There is that fee each turn in the da most of them skiing deep powder. ods in the dark, and ping up the white go ns of light lap aco us be of all 10 n sm tha se transfixed by the There can’t be more am I , tow e something rop g cin the en ff! Riding one of them, experi are Broken River sta I feel blessed to be xed with mi rk. da ce, en the Sil in l rs. hil ea s my bouncing down the of a powder day fill unique. The sound truly wonderful and o hooo!’ the occasional ‘whoo from the constant suffering jaw ache a drink; we are all for t cover that the staff hu dis the we in p r, ge sto na Eventually we g to Laurie, BR’s ma kin ea Sp night, as they n. by i gri w sk -po during the day they smug scoring-epic ch mu so s ow sn s stop running It nocturnal. What a life. The lift here have become day and ski by night. by dwich and to ep san Sle e lat re. oco mo e ch 12pm and it is a re; tend to be able to se mo y an i s. sk to ore d sn knackere gst a symphony of when everyone is too ep like a baby amon sle I ere wh t Hu r s bed in the White Sta last night, and it wa d. If it was that good ea ah t y tha da ing the of say n in anticipatio d and hear whispers I wake stupidly early others move aroun ed in. ar ow he sn I d… are be We . to nt ble I we passa still dumping when m Christchurch is im sed, and the road fro the access road is clo re than 20 of us up in. There can’t be mo ed ow sn are We there. All the s. uation hit metre of fresh out The reality of the sit t out, and there is a ge ’t , happy days! can Oh we s. , thi up t te es able to apprecia here. Nobody can ge on ly on the ks to be are loo We It closed. tory high bunk bed. other club fields are wn from the four-s e lifts will do Th er . mb ion cla act I t, for fee dy With stockinged news and to get rea the him l tel I , up olas clear patch. clearing. Waking Nic ke the most of this , but we should ma take a while to open the rope tows. They out the stairs up to dig d an in ck ow! It is mu to s, it is time and dig. So much sn After a few hut huck while we dig, and dig in the first ck be ba to d es ne com mi er ter ath to reach the tow. De are buried. The we th pa a d clouds are the cle gh ve e we ha sun cracks throu about 11am by the tim first rting the Red Sea, the s’s pa s ola se Nic Mo is e is Lik Th it. d. up, we hike and wa snow and untracke h wit d de loa d, ea untain ah bugger… and we see the mo NZ. He is one lucky and first season in time to a club field, is don’t seem fat t up. It’s deep! My sk g and we are the firs life o We lap the tow, gettin int n. es tur ok ch ch The rope tow g face shots with ea of g ttin rin ge tte am I sca , a , top wly on y ic… Slo enough. Trying to sta ams are made of? Ep r smugly we . So this is what dre have opened. Rathe st mu d roa fresh lines every run the t tha lise rea we d an s lift other folk sift to the
Like Moses parting the Red Sea, the sun cracks through the clouds and we see the mount ain ahead, loaded with snow and untracked.
Royale with extra cheese…
Oohh baby“Heaven is a place on earth”
“Have I shrunk?”
Whitestar lodge getting romantic
I can see the Eiffel
Tower from here
the weather has some refuelling, as head to the hut for the snow in the ttle ba leave the rest to come back in, and A bunch more ve had the best of it! low visibility. We ha we are still d an m austed, it’s 5p runs and we are exh getting fresh tracks. ous sense of ff, I have an enorm Packing up our stu if they can re su too t s ache, no satisfaction. My leg l of photos to ful hill, my camera is carry me down the d. I cannot ha ve ha we e tim rld the illustrate to the wo urs. It feels ho 24 ly on en up here for believe we have be urch, dull and thought of Christch like a lifetime. The nt to leave. wa ver my mind. I ne grey, is so far from road, unable ving down the access We sit in silence, dri enced. eri exp g what we’ve just to speak, processin fill the ors Do e Th d an r cks ove My iPod’s shuffle cli I look at d an s ola the Storm. Nic speakers: Riders on each other and grin. shed from the bad days get wa At times like this, all iting and wa , on ati str kes the fru your mind, and it ma trip are 10 ul ssf Behind every succe risk totally worth it. r few. This fai my d ha ve ha I you me failures, and believe the skiing ow sh to Zealand to shine, nese is the year for New pa Ja of ys da er wd offer. Po d, and world what it has to rie bu g ttin ge snowfalls, lifts proportions, record g the trip of vin ha d an in ed ow g sn a lucky few folk gettin en River. special place. Brok their lives at a very
The lift to the goods
J>;:;8KJH7D=; M?DJ;H(&&/ ?DIJEH;I
WORLD ge to score backHow do so many New Zealanders mana dollar ain’t NZ the it, to-back winters when, let’s face on a different work We e? rupe a than more worth much kind of currency. adept at the old Connections are gold. Kiwi skiers are one that’s ever every and up,” er broth adage, “hook a goes around, done a winter anywhere knows that what stretches far ding rstan unde al mutu This d. comes aroun ax swap: ski-w or-aack-f six-p further than the obligatory “if you scratch the on out d eeke been have ons seas whole m. This snow my back, I’ll scratch yours” barter syste e your American entic ; nally natio inter ds exten ncy curre Aotearoa, and mate to sample the fault line peaks of nged for a floorspace in Tahoe can be readily excha tour of the ’s local a and up pickrt Queenstown airpo Southern slopes. of skiing Many people have ‘carved’ a career out ection, an conn Kiwi the on ing bank while the world and a bit of ility, reliab n odea employer’s trust in Antip hard workers, as ned renow are s nder Zeala New luck. big North so we tend to slot right into roles at the west (owners American resort companies like Intra : the big three of Whistler, Steamboat, and Mammoth for our seasonaire exports). in jobs, so those In Europe, it’s trickier to get on-mounta get swiftly to tend Alps the in on seas a do to looking ce), or Fran in Cif d calle familiar with Jiff (strangely bar. local the at r pulle pint a of end the increasingly A bit closer to home, Japan is becoming ski industry oning burge its ads: snom popular with Kiwi and start shop up set allowing for New Zealanders to at Niseko, Look . ease ive relat with there new businesses ie or Auss an is meet you where every second person found a have ers bugg lucky those of most Kiwi, and way to ski for free. Gulmarg, in the Finally, there’s that exciting frontier of s has established Himalaya, where local lad Martin Jone ht of the local the NZ Ski Club of India, much to the delig Kashmiris and visiting Kiwis alike. Chamonix, My personal choice for a winter offshore? French e wher Alps: the of heart the in c, Mt Blan yard fare meets suave and carbo-loadin’, cheesy Savo in. terra ski rama sicka Kiwi connection Chamonix has been enjoying a strong shop in ski nter Alpce the and , for several years ka on the wall, Argentiere even has the time in Wana the folks back just in case you’re not sure when to call e been getting. you’v er powd home to brag about all the
Getting a job
out here. Again, it’s the Kiwi connection which helps ne who is in anyo or y famil ds, Networking through frien always stand you will , there on seas a done has or , Cham cold to a bunch of in better stead than sending your CV in of soap. I scored randoms that don’t know you from a bar er’s mate broth my gh throu girl’ et my role as a ‘chal mic Lives and George Burdon, company owner of Dyna jobs in the valley another fellow Kiwi snow-follower. Most a ski pass tiate nego you don’t pay much, so make sure for! there e you’r what that’s use beca into the deal,
you get to live The beauty of managing a chalet is that spa which afforded or outdo ome awes an had ours – there ets. After a magical moonlit views of the Grands Mont followed by skiing hard day’s breakfast-and-bed-making be better than a the trees and the glacier, what could flipside, in a chalet the hot tub and a glass of bubbly? On to the guests, mity proxi close in living be bly you’ll proba (or take viour beha so you may have to modify your y. dingl accor pills) sleeping
an epic resort The appeal of having a whole winter in The mountains it. to ted addic get we why n reaso the is trees, and have they r, bigge and r overseas are highe unity and the seasons are longer. The sense of comm ‘living the hs mont five these from gain camaraderie you take you will tain moun ss dream’ at the base of a big bada over. get to all summer
Highlights of Chamonix
Le Tour down Skiing the big bowls on the backside of , riding the rcine Vallo at t uran resta n statio train to the ky skier-cross snea the g surfin ets, glacier at Grands Mont refuge, day trips tree-track to the hidden La Cremerie 42 Below feijoa to Courmayeur and Verbier, sipping a and Waitangi vodka at the Office Bar, New Year’s Eve , apres-ski Loco Poco at rs burge the Day at Elevation, snow and the at The Clubhouse, the sheer volume of like the Aguille magnificence of impossibly steep faces du Midi (the middle needle).
Words of wisdom
on before you Decide what you want out of your seas your crew from all with ing Hang go. Are your priorities: or exploring more back home? Enjoying lots of apres-ski ing up as many chilled out places? Earning cash or clock d? Maybe this days as you can on that pass you’ve score lled. trave less path the g means takin
PHOTO: YVES GARNEAU
a staunch its own right, where the locals have that it is a mountaineering town in is onix on their axes cham ut ice abo and g s thin esse cool harn The ps of hardcore dudes with hea are e ther and lift any ntiere, on p Arge ugh the graveyard at respect for the Alps. Jum ne culture at its heart! Wander thro alpi ous seri a oir has coul e or plac cliff this the w packs so you kno climbersâ€™ names and dating back to the early 1900â€™s, with nes , dsto Tour Le hea l and oria ant mem Brev see ere, will and you of Grand Montets, Fleg it d bus links between all the areas p goo Kee are too. re The fun, . d goo them is ed e scen claim i that The apres-sk can access even more cool terrain. and if you are into ski touring, you the British seasonnaire places. as well as bars ch Fren ol real and go to some of the old scho
E D I U G S I W I K THE Y X A L A G E H T TO SKIING
t. on here’s some things to think abou Before you leave on your big seas may have, as potential contacts and hook ups you seas, you need to weigh up what When planning for a season over e. ts to keep you ahead of the gam well as work skills and other talen e. Ski bums rt the more ski bums will be ther you have seen or heard about a reso other they are the on on, seas the for A good rule of thumb is; the more t men rtain they will be your friends and ente are two-edged swords, on one hand dation and a job. mmo acco t, mos need you t wha all your competition for e in to survive and when you can arriv how much you will need to work e rmin dete s will d offer save that job have a you How much money and a season pass. If you can find nses are flights, accommodation you e expe est rienc bigg expe e the thre to Your tal rt. imen reso detr the der job isn’t there, but be careful that this won shelter and a pass you are halfway m. drea the not is town ski a in are after, working during the day and roll with before you leave or simply rock up find a job and or accommodation are advertised that jobs that e awar be There are two ways to go; plan and but potential employers before you leave or jobs for e stores will e onlin coffe ch and Sear rs hes. the punc l stores, bars, ski tune rt or bigger outlets. Your small retai ing early in town arriv So n. datio mmo online will be mainly for the reso acco have on kicks off, and they know that you challenge wait to hire someone once the seas swim’ you will have to rise to the because of your situation, ‘sink or and ces, chan n work will start mea n’t does it will give you, your best work ng findi of ing early means more chance early season which can include the and make it happen. Note while arriv e pennies saved to get through the som have to need will you ning immediately. Mea ies! expense of backpackers and part can greatly improve rt town, again getting there early the biggest challenge in any reso means multiple that and nsive expe Finding accommodation is often often are personal space, as ski houses your e’ ‘shar to ski. ared to e prep Be ther are ces. your chan not there to sleep, you under the stairwell. But hey your people to a room, couch and even der skiing, but if you are after maximum pow then head to your major resorts, er than your mega rath storm a If you are after the party-skiing mix, after s week for There you will score epic snow ller less then travel to lesser known areas. Of course this is a catch 22, as sma be tracked out by the end of the day. will that rt reso ide marketed, freer and less chance of work. populated resorts mean less crew and you is narrow, you ski during the day g for a whole season but resort life beer rather and gear new on ey mon Pack minimal, yes you may be goin their d you’ll find that most ski bums spen Here t. s will nigh item by e bars valu l est loca High the . at socialize itize your spending t this ethic as well, you need to prior and thermals are s glove ies, bean s, than flash clothes. You should adop shoe er wint ski day to ski night. Puffa jackets, the be those that cross over from your seasonaire’s rates and get to know pair of Nike’s. Learn which bars offer flash new a than t much more importan cheap beer and food. bar staff, they can be invaluable for le, see some life. You will meet some great peop one of the best experiences of your ctive and addi dibly incre are they gh, All up, a season overseas will be thou ski everyday. A word of warning to get ll you’ all of t mos but es amazing plac may change your life forever.
OUR PICKS • Kicking Horse, Canada • Mt Baker, USA • Lenzerheide, Switzerland • Monta Rosa, Italy • La Grave, France • Innsbruck, Austria
TOP 5 RESORTS FOR POWDER PARTY MIX • St Anton, Austria • Verbier, Switzerland • Whistler, Canada • Chamonix, France • Jackson, USA
THE ULTIMATE SKIERS INCOME • Your income is flexible of location and time aka. web geek. • You get to ski powder and are paid for it aka. Heli-guide. • Ski and smile for the camera aka. Pro Skier.
g a lifelong ski bum. At 42, I’ve resigned myself to bein tion of the career direc the in flect genu I gh Even thou ity to ski. Maybe prior main my gods these days, it’s still days in one (117 past ers wint in as days y man not as e about mor it’s s aday now season being my record); le whatever’s jugg or drop I’ll me, help so But quality. pressure system with going on if I see a dirty great low Alps, or the Rockies, the over ing com pow of ise the prom y. hand are or whatever mountains , I’ve tried every angle Like any self-respecting ski bum the TC parking lot to maximise my ski time. I worked d plates in Jackson eppe schl I es. through varsity for pass accent, but the the ed restaurants (great tips if you work at 5pm and ed start shift your biggest bonus was that I started writing, and 20’s, my In u). men the off ate we visiting journalists (now realised ski areas give passes to guide’s course and my did I Then !). scam a was that ki guiding for Harris embarked upon 14 seasons of helis , but always managed Mountains. I held down career jobs each winter. Well ing guid of th to get in at least a mon ? right it, do to has eone som
this white planet. I’ve been lucky enough to ski all over , the Alps, India to n Japa a, rctic Anta to ka From Alas rate the NZ still (I e hom at se, the Rockies and, of cour s, at the top field club the y ciall espe and try, backcoun I fully intend to keep of my global ski experiences). And Ecuador volcanoes the fully hope – off list wish my ticking … are next. Once a ski bum e) Gus Roxburgh’s Filmmaker (and part-time heli guid r short-listed Osca the was ct proje nt rece t mos e In America. documentary Crips and Bloods: Mad
of nutcrackers, My early introduction to the snow consisted in a family of up grew I tors. protec glove woollen mitts and er years were spent passionate club field skiers, and those young the double pulley, shredding the slopes of Mt Olympus, conquering . Like many Bump s Mollie down bombing the tarn and tearing some of my most ent repres fields Club rbury Cante the Kiwis, memorable days of skiing as a child. d to try to ski Maybe because of these fond memories, I decide 1995 landed my first for a living. I headed to Queenstown, and in Over the following job, working as a ski patroller and snowmaker. ica, I regularly Amer North years, throughout New Zealand and ational intern from ves entati repres aking snowm worked with on snow check to s resort to companies, making frequent visits ber thinking: remem I mers. custo their with up catch and machines h ski resorts and no “these guys get to travel the world, lap throug bit.” a ski doubt them, working as Nowadays, I’m fortunate enough to be one of anies. My comp those of one for Rep g makin a full time Snow means traveling position as Sales and Support guy basically checking on snow between New Zealand, Australia and Europe, g and supporting trainin and cts, guns, demonstrating new produ company, same the for works also end girlfri My customers. ines into mach snow our of ries delive organising shipments and er. Although hectic at togeth travel to get we ately fortun so e, Europ road trips in a 4WD, times, the job provides a lifestyle of endless f villages throughout skis and touring gear at the ready. The far-of e the perfect provid Tirol and rg Arlbe lberg, Graubunden, Vorar
half day skiing lifts, or an playground. Time off can consist of either a ay passes. highw the of one off g tourin ski mish ight overn live and ski in the I love this work, as it provides the means to I squeeze in the odd day r, winte nd Zeala New the g mountains. Durin in the weekends to keep es cours Heliski guiding or teaching avalanche to be able to ski whilst h enoug ate fortun I’m up. skills the snow-safety abroad working as and NZ in s on the job, and have many good friend le. lifesty r simila a living and reps industry
PHOTOS BY GLEN CLAYTON
Skiing has totally dominated my decision making for a good few years now and hopefully in another few, nothing will have changed. Just a few more dints in the Leone and my knees will be slightly more trashed At school and university skiing was the only thing on my mind, hell, I managed to rig all my lectures so I only had to be in town 2 days a week and could ski the rest. Once I’d accumulated enough C’s to make that degree the plan was pretty simple … travel and ski. What followed was an amusing series of high points and low points, being broke, saving, and being broke again … till I landed in Japan a couple of years ago. For those of you thinking of going to Japan for a season I would suggest just sacking up and taking the plunge by showing up there without a job or anything organized. Usually everything will fall into place and that supposed sink or swim situation forces you to get out and about and meet people.
huge cat skiing and sled tours or scouting out new terrain amongst the in. operate we country amount of back and Last season because of the strength of the Yen, work was a lot quieter on time more heap a being result the the liquor seemed not nearly as cheap, previous my hands to explore more of the back country I hadn’t gotten to the season. It still snows in a recession. but Your legs can burn out pretty quickly skinning in knee deep powder we can thanks to the mechanical advantage of having a cat and sleds to use this Being on. skins putting even before head trail the from out get a long way to what mobile allows you to eyeball a lot of terrain and be quite specific as suitable you’re looking for. For me this mostly involved finding more terrain to find a for commercial cat skiing, and searching out all the rocky outcrops ers happy. variety of drops and pillow lines to keep various photographers/rid from I’ve been lucky enough to guide some reasonably high profile riders s and Zealand’ New of some out taking as well as Europe, North America and Australia’s finest.
My first job in Japan involved painting the outside of a house in winter conditions. A few dodgy ladder maneuvers and a lot of snow clearing later I scored my current job guiding for Niseko Snow Adventures.
is pretty I guess the motivation for continuing to do winters since I left uni – perhaps regularly skiing I’m when person happier a just I’m think I simple. it’s stress relief? Anyway there’s definitely no money involved in bouncing away winters, but it’s a sweet lifestyle for sure. I’m a number of courses y I can hopefull so NZMGA, the through tion from gaining a ski guide qualifica around continue this lifestyle and check out more of the skiing opportunities
For the last two seasons I’ve been lucky enough to work for a small cat skiing/snowmobiling operation just out of Niseko. So basically I’ve been spending my time guiding
to plan, the Look after your injuries and don’t expect chasing winters to all go days. set backs and the #@$k ups become just as memorable as the powder
ng my first “real” job following I had itchy feet. After a year and a half worki ound fix of snow again. Having year-r my d neede I three years ski bumming, off the list, Asia was up next. already crossed North America and Europe in Japan, so a job was hooked up h Englis ing teach try I Friends recommended ese government. through a teaching program run by the Japan
ent in rural northern Nagano Home for the next year was an 8m x 4m apartm winter, the tiny abode Over ics.) Olymp r Winte 1998 the to (host Prefecture, and Fins, who came to icans, Amer Kiwis, of served as a base for a multitude service town ringed by rice sample some Japow. My town of Iiyama, a rural er of temples and pubs numb st highe the ed paddies and mountains, boast was also located in one of the Iiyama ly, Lucki ture. Prefec the in capita per gnarly systems blowing in across snowiest areas in the world, thanks to some ski resorts within a 50km 80 to the Sea of Japan from Siberia. With close ing some cash on some dropp by r winte epic an for f mysel radius, I prepared and a season pass for tips, red rocke 120mm-waisted, zero camber skis with Shiga Kogen. and -One, Happo , Onsen a Nozaw of s the nearby resort north to Hokkaido. The budget Once the snow began, I made the pilgrimage until sitting in the middle idea… great a like ferry ticket up there seemed sideways sleet. The modest of the Sea of Japan in 20 foot seas watching seas with nothing to eat but high the on 32hrs into 18hr journey stretched Memories of the ferry ride ers. onigiri (rice balls) and funny shrimp crack in Niseko, the huge storm turns deep first the after from hell disappeared day was spent at Rusutsu A e. cours having dropped up to 3m over its 5 day pers had been on some develo resort the sure be would you ski resort, where on the plans. The resort d decide they when combination of psychedelic drugs s and beagles wearing horse ture minia with lete (comp zoo g pettin boasted a ter theme park. I -coas roller huge a and sel, jackets), a giant circus carou sounds of Britney the to day all skied deserted trees in untracked waist deep s. tower lift Spears blasting from the s, and regular days off Aside from the overwhelming choice of ski resort to get to know some me d allowe to enjoy them, the English-teaching job
clueless kiwi on aspects hospitable locals who were keen to school a onth rent, basashi (raw $50/m the that of Japanese culture. Couple with g machines, sumo vendin beer diner) turous adven the for rs horse slithe (Japanese public baths onsen an at es buddi with tournaments, getting naked kimono for dogs, can, a in where birthday suits are mandatory) hot coffee cters on your chara on Pokem yen, ese Japan strong heated toilet seats, the flavour Kittea green s, classe eftpos card, ridiculous TV game shows, ninja of the job were perks the r, burge rimp McSh the and , boxes Kats, sake in juice ara’ to your desk job, a stint endless. So, if you’re contemplating saying ‘sayon looking for. you’re what just be could Sun Rising the in the Land of nment’s English teaching and For more information on the Japanese gover exchange program, check out: ion/JET.html http://www.nz.emb-japan.go.jp/culture_educat
that work, Double Brown and cheap Three years of University is tough: all er was to get on a plane during the answ mince. With no end in sight, the only ay across the world to where Asahi is best summer in years and head halfw made fresh. more to drink more and save less, The plan was simple: drink less to save and checking out the vast city of Tokyo whilst skiing that dry soft Niseko snow nts, Japan became an affordable stude re tectu archi for New Year’s. For two a powder-snorting adventure in mise excuse for an unofficial field trip to legiti the North.
ed to expand our accommodation As there were only two of us, we need of Kiwis who luckily turned out to le coup a horizons. Thankfully, we met away, in possibly Niseko’s flashest be staying a drunken slip and stumble weeks of coin operated television two from went ly penthouse. Our trip quick lodgings, to evenings playing poker and communal showers in our modest with a spa and widescreen TV. hes couc er leath on e overlooking the villag e into the backcountry that, with Meeting people provided us with an escap have been in our grasp. Niseko wise other our limited experience, would not experience this, the backcountry is a is renowned for its snow, but to really the resort, but the runs last for than er steep must! Not only is the terrain hours while searching for Cam’s ski), much longer (one stretching to three day. all and the snow remains fresh nds was the amazing and cheap The best reason to venture back inbou which quite simply put New Zealand t, restaurants situated around the resor
, every lunch and dinner was spent to shame. With no greasy pies in sight to offer, from the traditional ramen had n Japa acies delic sampling the many to barbequed salmon sperm. go to Niseko for its architecture, We can now safely say that you wouldn’t nese cuisine and encounters with but for a powder field trip, amazing Japa got a taste, and were left with the We As!’ et ‘Swe your fellow countrymen, it’s try. Unfortunately, reality kicked desire to see and ski the rest of the coun er year of sleeping through anoth ces, balan bank in, and with dwindling year of Architecture at 4th our lectures was inevitable. We are both in ngton Welli in Victoria University
PHOTOS BY CAMILLA STODDART
ir, When we landed in Srinigar, the capital of Kashm scene The ng. helmi overw was nce the military prese the did not fall short of our expectations, confirming in ed instill war and ns weapo of image d preconceive by us by the first world media and warnings issued the New Zealand government. d weapons Convoys of military vehicles with roof-mounte bulls many so like s street w narro rattled through the of music in a china shop. The pencil-thin dirt roads, full te three and emotion, somehow managed to accommoda accepted lanes of traffic; any direction seemingly was n crates and protocol. Hutments constructed from woode houses, card like ively, sheets of metal perched tentat waterway g lookin feral most the ly possib of edge on the and why here, doing we were I’ve laid eyes upon. So what a territorial of t subjec the ntly curre is that area an enter s? Because dispute between three heavily-armed nation we were on our way to paradise. n, Now paradise, I believe, differs for every perso edia Wikip . utopia of n versio own your on depending in which tells me that paradise is “an idealised place ss”, while existence is positive, harmonious and timele Eden”. en; “heav s prefer nary the Oxford English Dictio e the grass “wher as it define e, cours of , Roses ‘N’ Guns ise is a is green and the girls are pretty”. For me, parad al metres place where you can ski two thousand vertic h steeps, without seeing another person all day, throug s, then cliffs, deeps, trees, windlips, cornices, and pillow h for kahwa and r panee r matte us delicio a go and have ise goes lunch, all for less than NZ$30 per day. This parad Himalayas by the name of Gulmarg; a town nestled in the of the base the at also town at the base of Mt Afarwat; a to 3747m; and s climb which , world the in la gondo st highe blown away a town where I spent two weeks in January, the people. the whole time by the skiing, the terrain and
risk involved in entering Kashmir, Don’t get me wrong; there is a high level of cities, train stations and other and it is not recommended to “hang out” in equals high return, and if you risk high that true busy areas. But it is also ise is like a palimpsest on which look deeper, you will discover that this parad . within y beaut a cover scribbles of negativity snow or shine (somewhat The local Kashmiri kids would be out skiing gloves, goggles or wet-weather no with similarly to the military in the area), nment rental shop, either gover the from were poles and boots gear. Skis, ily moving around like Clums . fitting never far too big or far too small, but caricatures of modern-day like looked they feet, rge too-la with es puppi en would climb up the hill all skiers. Despite these inconveniences, the childr little Kashmiri faces. There their day, needing nothing more than the smile on on the North American those and kids these en betwe is a very real contrast with the best gear, world the d and European ski fields, flown halfway aroun mountain. Kashmiri the up ming screa and g kickin ts paren dragged by their to go skiing instead of being youth were just ecstatic to have the opportunity elders had experienced. their of some knew they as traum subject to the Kashmiri male, who at the age In our house, the chef was a local 18-year-old a time of peace, and the was this him, For head. of 15 had a gun held to his ents. His perspective sentim smile that never left his face reflected his inner s and turns we shared laugh the yet ours, from d differe on skiing undoubtedly life experiences sting contra were based on mutual understanding. Our but with other him, with ct conta my only not to depth brought colour and social interaction every r, barrie age langu Kashmiri locals as well. Despite the s. partie both for ience exper ng was a learni
itous military receded to a When we left Gulmarg, the presence of the ubiqu a country caught in the was saw I what Now corner at the back of my mind. and a willingness to peace with crossfire, and a people whose smiles radiated even a lick of the with area an to been never g Havin carry on with their lives. soon learnt that We t. expec to what status Kashmir held, I really did not know thought that the have would Who truth. all not was told what we had been media would falsely represent something? But hey, you’ll probably get shot, so best to
stay home where it’s safe.
PHOTOS BY ERIK SEO
ending, so I packed my ski bag and Summer in the Whistler Bike Park was d budget, and an even more limite headed to Chile for the spring. With a was vague at best. Wherever plan the age, langu ish Span the limited grasp of t, or a good time to be had ticke lift unted there was a floor to sleep on, a disco wherever the gravy train may roam. at the right price, that’s where I’d go was the Three Valleys (El Colorado, After flying into Santiago, the first stop m above the city. With a crew from 3000 lie which do), La Parva and Valle Neva ol there was floor space in the Scho Ski Whistler working at the Valle Nevado . Daytrips from Santiago pass g sprin heap dirt-c a ht staff dorms, and I boug an approach to driving Chile the and ks are doable, but the endless switchbac n. them make this a less desirable optio ity is surprisingly tame, given the enorm The inbounds terrain at Three Valleys some genuine s offer ado Color El at T-bar Este of the Andes mountains. Cono s best skiing requires backcountry steeps and technical lines, but the area’ and hike. This sidecountry zone hitch skin, to s knowledge and a willingnes lines and bowls, and at the ht has a huge variety of chutes, drops, straig Beer and food is as expensive area. ski the to back bottom you simply hitch bring your own up from the to best as any ski area in North America, so it’s ago. Santi in kets cheap supermar got a crew together and managed to After a week at the Three Valleys, we at Ski Arpa, Chile’s northernmost ski up on seas catch the last snowfall of the epic views of Mt Aconcagua (6950m), area and only cat-skiing operation. With nts through wide-open alpine desce 1500m ing we had a series of thigh-burn tracks. ski of set bowls, never needing to cross another Erik Seo and Aussie X-Games winner Back in Santiago, I met photographer d, and decided to join them for a frien o gring al mutu a gh Anna Segal throu technical, steep and gnarly, and is llo Porti day up at Portillo. The terrain at like the mutant offspring of a poma accessed via five-man drag lifts that look and windblown on some aspects, dry was lift and a high-speed quad. Snow ll an amazing ski experience. I’d come and spring slush on others, but overa offer of a place to crash with Anna and the with but expecting to ski for a day,
Erik the overnight trip had turned into a week away with only minimal ski gear, no food, and sadly just a single pair of socks. Portillo is even more isolated and expensive than the Three Valleys area, so I survived on a diet of Snickers bars and bread rolls from the cafeteria, having blown my budget on a fresh pair of ski socks. In return for my free bunk bed, I lent manpower for the jump building; shovelling, cutting blocks and general snowmasonry, but was more than happy to leave the actual jumping to Anna. Having spent most of September riding the gravy train and chasing the spring snow around Chile it was time to call it quits and head north to Bolivia. The Chilean ski experience retains some of the charm of the NZ club fields, with antiquated (but surprisingly fast) lift systems, a sense of isolation and quality accessible backcountry. Ski area ‘culture’ is fairly sterile or non-existent, so expect to make your own fun or look out for like-minded gringo skiers, and if you come with a flexible itinerary and a willingness to sleep anywhere then you can have an affordable and different ski trip.
bowl cut, wearing homemade jackets Ever since I was a little kid with a bad a life like Glen Plake or Scott and riding straight skis, I dreamt of living but they somehow knew how thy, weal r Schmidt. My parents were neve year was for my brother and me. a ay holid r winte one ging mana important to Wanaka and a job at Cardrona, I first made ski resort life with a move knit ski industry. There I attended tight the with love where I instantly fell in /Avalanche Awareness course, uctor Otago Polytechnic and sat my Ski Instr cation. certifi h’s Coac ki Frees my ed and soon after attain ds with skiers such as Marty Jillings, It was during this period I became frien were competing in many of the who d Jake McCleary and Hamish Aclan that I joined them for a trip to the freeski comps. It must of been in 2002 of a judge so I took the opportunity short was t Christchurch Big Air, the even ent of it. to try out judging and loved every mom grew and grew. The following year, I From there, my involvement in judging of legendary skier and judge Nick nce guida the r unde ts judged at many even e, and, in 2005, the Freeski Judg Head Mills. By 2004, I was New Zealand’s up with now an international field of Open was born which was another step skiers competing. has always been juggling a job and Throughout the years, the hardest part who’s willing to give you all the time judging. It’s not easy to find an employer of resort jobs is often lack of a em probl r majo the is off you need! And this bubble and headed to Dunedin ka serious dollar, so in 2006, I left the Wana great ticket to have, especially a also is age Mass apy. Ther to study Massage can ski during the day and work You pe. for resort work in the States and Euro regularly with good tips. during the afternoon and evenings and ed overseas that summer for So it was with Diploma in hand that I head ease of work Visa’s I got a job For on. seas re my first Northern Hemisphe d Marty Jillings and what a frien good instructing kids at Aspen through my snowfall in 30 years, and best the ed rienc expe tains winter it was! The moun
than teaching, which thankfully I did a lot more powder riding g. uctin is not normally the case with instr ng some events. While in the States I also looked into judgi eted in the States put comp arly regul had who d Aclan ish Ham and Head Judge of the me in touch with Jim Jack (President This had me invited to n). ciatio Asso kiers Frees nal natio Inter Some of the perks ride. Tellu in t even tour judge my first US s is being hooked up that go with judging especially in the State the competitors are While es. pass ski and tion with accommoda to ski the days free are s judge scoping competition lines, the skiing powder in mean ys alwa st almo days her weat prior. Bad ul for ski time. the trees, so events can be quite fruitf cted me again and In November last year Jim Jack conta Freeskiing World Tour! US the on time full judge to me d aske charging a rather after and , moon the Obviously I was over bound again. My USApricey flight to my credit card, I was trips across the road great some with filled season has been , Snowbird Butte ed Crest ride, States to judge and ski at Tellu the steepest, of some have ts resor e Thes ood. and Kirkw (if you time it right!) in gnarliest terrain, and deepest powder fantasise about, what Kiwis we g skiin of kind the – the world of. made my boyhood dreams were come into view as I I look out the window and the mountains a the mecca of Alask in t write this, on a flight to the final even g. Big Mountain skiin loving life and skiing the So here I am: a professional ski bum, AK! stop Next . best mountains in the world
Being born with skis on was firstly very painful for my mum and secondly made a very easy career choice for myself! Before finishing high school in 2007 I decided to get my ticket around the globe through the wonderful world of ski instructing. Growing up at Porters Ski Area made an easy decision as to where I should gain some experience as an instructor. Soon enough I was struck with the question where next? I took a risk and only applied for one ski school in America, Mammoth Mountain and after an anxious wait for my work visa my tickets were soon booked! Mammoth has so much to offer, rad pow and terrain, huge park, chilled little town, it really lives up to its name! Highlights would have to be hiking a local mountain range, the Sherwin’s, steep, deep and long! Hot sunny days are frequent in Mammoth, choice weather and snow all season! It will storm for 3 days and then be bluebird days for weeks. For those thinking about coming to Mammoth, check out the Dragons Tail on a powder day, and Whiskey Creek for happy hour after a long days shredding! If the weather is nasty head out of town 20min to the natural hot tubs and soak up the views. Keep in mind Mammoth is packed in holiday season but the snow is still amazing! Mammoth is the place to go if you want to ski some serious terrain without having to hike out of bounds. Mammoth is Mammoth.
PHOTO: KEVIN YOUNGER
Back in the 90’s, while on my OE, I had a season at Aspen, Colorado. I’d only heard great things about it before I got there, and I wasn’t to be disappointed. The place is renowned as a playground for the rich and famous, but there’s also a large and diverse group of international skiers and boarders who help keep the place real and give it plenty of soul. When I got there, I really didn’t know what to expect; I didn’t have anywhere to stay, I didn’t have a job and I didn’t know anyone. All I had was the phone number of a guy who was a mate of an old varsity friend I had run into at beer fest in Germany. As it turned out, I fell on my feet and got hooked up with a job and somewhere to stay pretty quickly.
Once I was sorted, it was all down to getting in as much skiing and partying as possible. With more snow than I’d ever seen, four ski fields to choose from and an epic night life, you’d have to be doing something wrong to not have fun in Aspen. The season turned out to be epic, the people were amazing and I can honestly say that it was one of the most enjoyable periods of my life. My advice is to have a full ski season while you have the chance; it doesn’t matter where it is, as long as there is good snow and good people. It’s so different from heading away for a weekend or even a couple of weeks. If you manage it, it will be one of the best things you’ll ever do … guaranteed!
Wait, did I just eat yellow snow? PHOTO: ALEX GIESBRECHT
PHOTO: DOMINIQUE DAHER
INTERVIEW BY JACOBINA MILNE-HOME Those who know Janina Kuzma from skiing in New Zealand or Fernie already know she is superstar. Lately, however, the recognition has gone global, with Janina storming the international circuit to bag five podiums this year. Janina’s skiing has always made people stand up and watch. She skis hard and fast. And, as good friend Ross Janzen points out, while she is always keen to “rip the toughest line” she knows how to keep it professional. There is nothing scary about watching Janina ski; she is strong and knows exactly what she is doing. Although Janina is known for Big Mountain, she also kills it in the park. I first met her back in 2005 at the NZ Freeski Open, where she stood on the podium for both Freeride and Freestyle. In the park, she has the same attitude as she has on the slopes. Mainly, that fear is there to be conquered and there is no reason not to be pushing the boundaries for women in the sport. She won’t admit any of this, as she doesn’t shout about her skiing. She is purely out there for herself, ripping because she loves it. Even on the competition scene, I get the impression that she is not in it for the glory, but for the challenge that competing presents. Janina is also well-known for helping out friends and encouraging others. In the 2007 NZ Open, she made half the kids she coached enter, to show them there is nothing to be scared of. Although she was competing herself (taking the title for the third time in a row – fourth when you include 2008), she didn’t hesitate to stop to help the kids or anyone else who was nervous or needed advice on a line. Her spark on the snow is also evident off the mountain, as anyone who has ever partied with her will tell. I remember one night in 2005, crawling my way home at 9pm, done in already after going out with Miss Kuzma. Amy Sheehan agrees, describing Janina as “the life of every party. But when it comes to the crunch she is the most focused person.” In fact, wherever you are in the world, you’re bound to hear stories about her, the lines she skied in comps that scared off half the guys, or how she saved her friend’s life, digging them out of a backcountry avalanche. Or that she was standing on a podium, took up the bet and shouted … I’ll let you guess what she said. Janina makes you sit up and take note. She lives her life with full dedication to everything, be it the skiing, friendships or even the partying. There is never a dull moment; hanging with Janina is a ride in the fast lane.
QUICKFIRE Age: 23 Home Town: Wanaka, NZ Sponsors: Helly Hansen, Dynastar, Lange, Smith, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, Cardrona Best powder: Fernie BC, Revelstoke BC, Snowbird Utah, Fieberbrunn Austria, Chamonix France Has it all: Europe Bang for buck: Austria Hidden gem: Schweitzer, Idaho Favourite event: Canadian Freeski Champs, Red Mountain If you weren’t a skier: I’d be no-boarding everyday Trees or Big Faces? Happy Faces PHOTO: ALEX GIESBRECHT
Janina pillaging powder and podiums
Chairlift or Gondola? Skins Fruit or Veg? Smoothies big 3 Celebs you would like to punch in the face? Punches are for losers… I’ll challenge them to a ski race
RESULTS 1st Canadian Ledcor Freeski Championships, Canada 3rd Scott Big Mountain, Fieberbrunn, Austria
1st Stimorol Engadin Snow, St Moritz, Switzerland 1st Winter Mysticxperience, Monte Rosa, Italy 7th Nissan Freeride de Tignes France 2nd Nendaz Freeride, Switzerland 7th Freeride World Tour Final Ranking PHOTO: MARC WEILER.CH
You’ve had a pretty mental season with a massive competition schedule, both in North America and Europe. Can you run us through the events you have competed in this winter? Yeah, this season has been crazy. I started off in Canada with the Canadian Ledcor Freeskiing Championships, then I headed to Europe the start of February to compete in the Freeride World Qualifying tour. The first comp was the Scott Big Mountain in Fieberbrunn, Austria, followed by the Freeride De Chamonix. Then I got an invite to the Engadin Snow in St Moritz in Switzerland. It wasn’t part of the FWT, but it had invited skiers from the top tour and was pretty amazing. From there it was off to Monterosa, Italy for the Winter Mystic Xperience, and then I got a Wild Card for the third stop on the Freeride World Tour in Tignes, France. Then it was back to Switzerland for the Nendaz Freeride, which was the sister event of the Nissan Xtreme Verbier. This reply only goes to prove that she doesn’t boast, as Janina has failed mention her results from these comps. See the sidebar for the list of her accomplishments: a total of five podiums. Can you tell us more about the Engadin Event, the type of skiing, what you actually did to win, and what it was like seeing Kiwis Sam Smoothy and Fraser McDougall also on the podium? The Engadin Snow was an invitational freeride comp in St Moritz, Switzerland. The competition venue was on this mountain called Mt Corvatsch. You could only visually inspect your lines, which is great because the venue face stays fresh for the competitors. It just brings freeriding to another level. I love it! There’s this massive tram that goes right over the competition face so you can inspect it bird’s-eye-view style from the tram as
many times as you want. We had a couple of weather days, so I was on the tram a lot checking out my line; I knew exactly where I had to go. The crazy thing about this comp was that they had to rappel you down 15 metres from the tram onto the venue face to the start gate. Gnarly! It was definitely an adrenaline-starter. I had a really solid run and skied this line that had some sweet drops. Right before the Engadin Snow, I was in Chamonix for a FWQT comp, and I crashed super hard ... lost my helmet, goggles and skis. It was a full on garage sale, so to come to the Engadin Snow and win was exceptional. To see the Kiwi boys also on the podium was phenomenal. It was such a boost for us as a team. We where all jumping up and down in a circle in front of all the cameras, just yelling and screaming. We partied super hard that night. In the final event in Nendaz, you narrowly came second to Canadian Jen Ashton, who I understand you have always looked up to as you have come through the ranks. What’s it like, making the change from young gun to podium threat? The event in Nendaz was a sister event for The Verbier Xtremes. If you won that comp, you automatically got a wild card for the Finals in Verbier. Pretty daunting to know that this was the big comp of the whole season. I came second to Jen by 0.8 or something. Damn! Ha ha. She’s been one of my idols for years - just a ripping skier, and also has a lot of comp experience. On this new world tour, I definitely feel like the young gun. It’s pretty entertaining coming out and skiing, having a blast and also doing extremely well. Especially on the FWT, where the women are a lot older; but this has shown me that I can have a long skiing career. As for being a threat on the tour, that’s a funny thought. Ether way, I’m just out there to show people the
Janina stomps cliffs for breakfast… PHOTO: YVES GARNEAU
PHOTO: YVES GARNEAU
the way I want to ski: to always be raising the bar for women and our sport. As much as I am an athlete, skiing and training, I like to have a good time meeting people and partying. It’s all about having a balance. What have been the highs and lows of such a hectic schedule? Highs: Getting to travel and compete with my sister on the tour for the first time and both of us sharing the experience together. It has been really special. Having the opportunity to meet so many new people in the freeriding community, all of whom have been amazing. Going to so many incredible resorts in Europe, and not having to be based in one place for the whole time. Getting to ski some sick terrain, partying, and skiing so much pow it’s ridiculous! Lows: Living out of my ski bag and having to wash most of my clothes by hand sucks, eating way too much pizza and pasta. I think that has been my diet for the whole time I’ve been in Europe! What are your ultimate goals in competition? To podium, of course, but to have a blast at the same time. There is a lot more to your skiing than competitions. Where are you happiest in the mountains? I definitely am happiest skiing around with my friends. I really missed them this year being on the road for so long competing. I love riding with my sister. We get super amped riding together. I love touring, being out in the mountains, sledding and riding park. But I’m always happy when I have my skis on. Couldn’t ask for anything better!
“What are you having for dinner?” “Cliffs” PHOTO: DOMINIQUE DAHER
I understand you have already skied a first descent in Fernie. Did you get to name it? Yeah I have – back in 2006, I think, on the Lizard Headwall. It’s a permanently closed area, but if you’re lucky you can hike up and wait for the hill to close and ski it at 5pm after the patrollers have finished doing avi work on it. It was the last day of the season and I had been skiing with a buddy, Stokie, all day; we were talking about what line we where going to ski on the headwall later that afternoon. Then he said, “we can ski a line or we can ski a sweet line,” which was in fact a first descent. We shredded it, and it looked sick! It now has a cool name, ‘BJ’: Ben and Janina. When you’re not doing first descents, might one find you coaching back in NZ? Yes, that’s my job when I’m back in NZ. I work with a programme called HPC at Cardrona, Wanaka. It’s a park, pipe and freeride programme. It’s a great job, and it means that I’m always on the snow skiing. Coaching has been a great way for me to give back what I’ve been taught when I was younger. I love getting the kids stoked on freeriding. I took a crew of kids to the club fields last year and it was a riot. Crazy times. Coaching is so much fun, and the crew I coach are all rippers. It’s really cool to see the talent that is coming out of New Zealand; these kids are really on their game and will be top riders for NZ one day. For those girls just starting to come into the Freeride scene, what is some advice you wish you had when you started? Some advice for girls who want to come into the freeride scene is just get out there and ski. If I saw something I wanted to ski, I’d hike up and just ski
Epic tree skiing in Tignes, down to Lac Du Chevril PHOTO: DOMINIQUE DAHER
it. If there are freeride clinics, do them. Don’t be embarrassed if you crash, because if you never crash you’re not pushing yourself hard enough; and don’t be afraid to ask question because people will be stoked to help you out. For comps, it’s not about the winning or losing, it’s about getting out there and having fun and meeting the coolest people! What advice do you have for girls, or guys for that matter, wanting to get into skiing more powder, backcountry, and skiing lines with cliff drops? If you want to ski more pow, get out of the park and go rip big lines. Don’t head out into the backcountry without having the gear and the knowledge. I can’t stress that enough. Get out and do an avi course if you can. It will be well worth it. And as for skiing lines with cliff drops: no hesitations. Go fast and don’t stop. Speed is your friend. You have had a unique upbringing. Can you tell us about where you have lived, and how skiing came about with living in the jungle? I was born in Brisbane, Australia. After we were born, my Mum headed back to Papua New Guinea, where my parents and brother were living at the time. I lived there for three years. Then we moved to Indonesia and lived in Borneo for eight years. Then my sister and I were sent off to boarding school back in Brisbane for a couple years, and then, in 1998, my parents moved back to Australia. We’d always have a family ski trip during the year. The first time I ever skied was actually in Austria when I was five. Then we skied in France and Switzerland. I even remember skiing in New Zealand when I was seven! During the time in Borneo, my Dad was working for a coal mine. There was a family from Fernie that were also working at this coal mine in Indo with
my Dad. They knew we liked to ski so they told us about Fernie, and we went there in 1995. I still ski there now. And now you are a Kiwi? Yes, I do like to call myself a Kiwi. I love New Zealand. It is truly home for me. I have lived in Wanaka for the past five years, with the winters here, and the rest of the year travelling, training and competing all over the world. You were selected for the NZ Freeski Team in October as a Freeride skier. What does this mean? From my understanding, it might be the only National Team in the world with Freeride skiers represented? I was selected for the NZ Freeski team last year. It feels really good to be able to represent a country that I call home. It also means that I get extra support from the NZ Freeski Association. I am really proud to be part of the team. NZ is the only place in the world where they have a National Freeski Team with a selection of disciplines from Park and Pipe, to Skier Cross to Big Mountain. It’s really unique to be part of a world-first Freeride Team. Any shout outs? Shout outs… where to start… To my Sponsors Helly Hansen, Smith, Dynastar, Lange, Fernie RCR, Cardrona for hooking me up. To the hardcore ski community in Fernie. To my best riding buddies for making me the skier I am today: Bezubiak, Jeremy, Gwat, Alex, Julien, Stokie. To my training buddy who has kept my head straight, and my music play list extraordinaire, Stefan Ostling. To FSANZ and the NZ Team. To the Cardrona crew and shout out to Kritsy Quin, Snowsports NZ. Mum and dad and to Maria for starting this journey with me.
Tommy Campbell skiing hot like the Knoll Ridge cafe
Words by Logan Bennett Images by Tom
a season it is going to do When over five metres of snow falls in r: make them pumped drive park ge avera one of two things to the e, build and ride; or creat for the endless things they’ll be able to ss drift pushing endle of s hour ed wast the at m cry, kick and screa of snow. layer thick a r unde as the park magically disappears re of both, with some of The 2008 season at Turoa was a mixtu born from a month of ehu, Ruap at seen ever itions cond the best res and buried closu road While . the harshest weather in years Campbell, and his team Fred ger mana trails snow , nded abou lifts r terrain that many a chiselled out some of the best mid-winte local has seen. of the more lucrative East and west out of bounds held some lines opened up that had many t mean snow e ampl treasures. The er Cliffs on the far side Glaci the g previously been unskiable. Skiin chutes top to bottom. gh throu d pede unim drop to able and being having to talk myself and edge l etbal Staring over the endless bask tantamount to disaster, into what in many years would have been s last winter. rider lucky many with was a feeling I shared , I decided to reconsider my Hearing of the unbelievable conditions for a job back with the ed begg ill-advised break from Turoa and up on my plate was an first ise, surpr my to Much . Turoa cat crew y Pyatt had come up Tomm . eting end of year photo booter for Mark bottom of Raceline, the at table true a build to idea cal with a magi stage, was a this at , what to n run-i giving a 300 metre perfect of snow 10 metres high pile a ing Push land. flat of piece tic gigan le, and pushing a takeoff two from scratch, cutting a gap in the midd tched, but with some choice passes wide in ten days seemed far-fe e I was led to believe we booz of lot a and ment words of encourage could do it. ‘Chunk’ was born. es long and 30 metres wide, Pushing an initial platform of 45 metr Fergus began side pushing Easy and Sims , head Brom myself, Tom metre platforms one upon two ing stack snow onto the initial area, up to 10 metres. Seven days way our ng clawi y slowl , other the e platform up 10 metres, metr 45 our ht later, we had broug of 20 metres. pyramiding into a top platform height
we happened to have Next was the wedge. By a fluke of luck, shaping. Knowing hand the in t assis to deck on son Nick John come up with an to had we es, metr that the deck was only 20 give enough height d woul that but le, hittab was that angle A normal takeoff so ‘Chunk’ wouldn’t dwarf the riders. giving nice pop and has a loft of about twenty five degrees, shorter gap, we ively relat a such had we float, but because e takeoff. Lofty degre five decided upon a more exciting thirty and give you ricies than more pop d woul it , to say the least more wu than the whole clan.
squared, it was time With the takeoff cut, hand-shaped and down until we way our ing stepp n bega We gap. the to cut about six metres of gap a us g givin in, were even with the run the take off of top long and three metres deep. Cutting the and trying side one on down es metr three was fun, looking is a hole-puckering to balance with a twenty knot side wind n, something cat experience in balance and coordinatio for. ned drivers are not particularly renow days were up and Landing, takeoff and gap were cut, ten is all well and table a ing Build us. upon was time g testin landing – long nice e, degre 30 off, good – 35 degree take for the first time. ting daun was k’ ‘Chun above g sittin but the speed right; It was hard to be sure that I had gauged I’m gonna make and fast too slow and I’m on the deck, too the bottom at lf myse slap and bird big like a wingless know about. to ed want I of the landing, neither of which we were going to that ed decid had we me, for tely Unfortuna exactly ideal. But with test with a twenty knot side wind, not
ng a muttering of “Oh well,” and only a smili ed Tom Campbell for reassurance, I dropp the in. With my jacket flapping, I hauled into I knew takeoff. The split second before I left it, and it was gonna suck. A second off the lip I’d the wind stopped me dead. Praying that the deck at down d looke I gap the over it make pushing coming up awfully fast; with the wind a soft, for pray was do could I all ays sidew me to slap the was got I All ng. slushy Turoa landi ice. the ribs from the not-so-comforting Turoa Toes, feet, legs, head … all good. Nice. feeling, Knowing you’re OK is always the best away a little giggle escapes knowing you got and day the for down it shut We . again it with the waited for another chance when we had perfect conditions. day. The next day came on an unlikely Tues y, cloud out and in of bout er We’d had anoth kinda windy, kinda not so great weather, n and the day started with similar trepidatio g so as the last. But Tommy had a good feelin out Tom Campbell, Tom Bromhead and I set to re-push ‘Chunk’ and see what we could abated, get. She shaped up nice and the wind of top the to lift a ht so Tom C and I caug the run-in. g The slap of my ribs on the deck still ringin ors sciss r pape atory oblig the in my ears, who rock championship cranked up to see broke f Relie time. this it pig a guine would rock out on my face like a happy pimple, as and back g sittin but ng nothi ors; sciss ed crush As first. it hit girl ol scho d watching the excite into per, Tom flew over it and floated his way ger the landing. You have to hate anyone youn than you who kills it. s Floating over first time led to floaty three Tom of s hand the at down beat a and for me s Campbell; huge threes, sevens, cork seven ng, comi kept tricks other of d myria a and more while my old man threes looked ever out of place. kids, Joined by Sammy and our crew of park was day Tues win to spin oned fashi a good old had by all, only cut short for me by an overshoot which slapped my noggin, leaving me wondering who built the booter, why everyone had a moustache, how long I had mine and who in God’s name put a cat in that booter. A grand and fitting tie up to one of the best seasons on record for Turoa and Mt Ruapehu, the sun setting on another year of fun times, battling and hilarity. Bring another one.
Nathan Johns, rodeo 5 from the ashes
Ryan Sissions igniting the piston
NZ’S LARGEST SELECTION OF SKIS AND SNOWBOARDS
12 HELWICK ST WANAKA
Breaking records, stereotypes, boundaries and glass ceilings…
PHOTO: ALEX KLUN
PHOTO: ERIK SEO
PHOTO: CHRIS O’CONNELL
SISTERHOOD PHOTO: ERIK SEO
Words by Amy Sheehan
Skiing: the rush from getting first tracks, from taking on something that once intimidated you, face shots on a bluebird day, or maybe stomping your first trick or your fifth, hitting a jump and making the landing with those butterflies in your stomach, or simply that feeling of the wind rushing through your hair as you make a high-speed descent. This spring, I sat having an après-ski drink, and compared notes with a couple of girlfriends about how much we love skiing, but also how intimidating it used to be being the only girls out there on the slopes, how it was always four dudes skiing and maybe one girl in the pack. We remembered competitions where there were only two girls entered, and talked about how much more fun it is now to compete with twenty. It’s one thing for a girl to see a guy do a nine out of the pipe, but when it is one of our own throwing down, the motivation to get involved is far greater. The first time I saw Tanner Hall boost a huge floating five18 feet on the first hit gave me shivers; to then see fellow Kiwi Byron do the same trick, with as much steeze, brought it close to home. But last season, training with a friend, Davina Williams, and watching her launch out of a pipe to do a nine just as impressive as the boys’, stopped me in my tracks. I realised then just how possible my own dreams really were. Much like surfing and snowboarding, girls’ ski culture is rapidly evolving, but girls are still very much the minority. There are similarities to when the skiing new school revolution kicked off. Skiers were the minority then, but this also gave them a tight brotherhood and fueled the desire to progress and evolve their sport. One of the greatest pioneers for women’s competitive skiing was Sarah Burke. She took an empty page and mapped it with incredible feats, both as an individual and for women in freeskiing in general. Before women even had categories to compete in at freeskiing events, Sarah was in there with the boys. She competed and won the first-ever women’s halfpipe events at both the US Freeskiing Open and World Champs. She was the forerunner for men’s halfpipe at the X Games, paving the way for a girls’ halfpipe category. She has had a podium placement at every X Games since it began hosting women skiers, with three gold medals under her belt. Sarah has been right at the centre of every defining moment in women’s freeski competition. “I really took it day to day in the beginning … learn a new trick and have fun doing it. I never thought I would be where I am today.” As hard as it was for Sarah to take some time out this season due to injury, being in the spectator’s seat, she was impressed at what she saw. “It’s nice to be there cheering on the girls and not be stressing about my own runs at the same time. The girls are throwing down hard these days. It’s amazing what some of these ladies are pulling out – it’s definitely inspiring me to get back out there!”
PHOTO: CHRIS O’CONNELL
PHOTO: ALEX KLUN
Itâ€™s one thing for a girl to see a guy do a nine out of the pipe, but when it is one of our own throwing down, the motivation to get involved is far greater.
PHOTO: ERIK SEO
PHOTO: ERIK SEO
Kaya Turski, once a pro-rollerblader, is proving that she can also hold her own on skis. She is the slopestyle skier to watch out for; her skill level is hard to match. She gave us a rundown on the past season. “This year, the Winter Dew Tour involved skiers for the first time and had a women’s skiing exhibition event. Girl skiers really stepped it up and hopefully the organisers will recognise that and give us a full event next year. It’s great to be part of a sport that’s growing the way it is, and to be recognised as hard-working athletes.” With women around the planet proving that there’s no stopping them, women’s slopestyle was introduced to the X Games this year, along with equal prize money, a sure sign times are changing, and a huge step for women’s skiing, and women’s action-sports, for that matter. With greater exposure comes more inspiration for girls far from the resort towns to become passionate and take up the sport. Another figurehead who is dedicated to women’s progression is Kristi Leskinen. This year, Kristi hosted ‘Home Coming’, an all-girls invite event for some of the top female skiers and snowboarders in the business. Kristi’s goal was to engineer an event specifically for girls: “I wanted to have a contest where every thought, every detail, surrounded what is best for the girls. Girls work differently than guys, we warm up slower, we like a different course design, we have a different process. I wanted a more relaxed format, judging that everyone could be happy with, jumps that were fun, not scary, in an environment where all the girls felt comfortable. I think it worked – everyone threw down. I wanted to see the sport progress, and we did, all the while having a great time!” Created by girls for girls, the event drew in large numbers, with more girls inspired and wanting to get involved. As a professional photographer, Camilla Stoddart offers another perspective. Her love for skiing and passion for photography brought her to the mountains, where she has been in the industry for four years, shooting in some of the best locations in the world. Always looking for new ways to make each shot more creative than the last, Camilla’s work reflects progression, uplifting the profile of both men’s and women’s skiing. From behind the lens, Camilla talks about what she sees: “Style is always changing and always will, from tricks to getting out on the mountain. But the biggest thing is how much people are pushing the sport. What was fully extreme a few years ago is now nothing special. I am stoked to see so many
more girls getting involved, pushing their limits and inspiring other girls to get stuck in, too.” Ski movies have always been a hit, either to hold us over during those warmer snowless months, get us fired up before hitting the slopes, or simply to leave us wondering what the heck will they think of next?! Seeing Ingrid Backstrom, one of our strongest big mountain skiers, in Matchstick’s Yearbook, left many girls (and guys) blown away with the sheer power of her performance, and yearning to get out there and give it their all. Here at home, Janina Kuzma is not only the freeride champion, but she also coaches, inspiring young girls like Wanaka ripper Mikayla Austin, who took second in the NZ Open behind Janina. All-girl camps and competitions are a great way for girls to learn: gender doesn’t define our personality, but it certainly shapes the way we may take on the world. Guys and gals are wired differently, not just physically. Mental and emotional factors play a big role in how we learn, take hits and negotiate situations, hugely affecting our performance on snow. Girls appreciate having someone there who can relate. Although, as encouraging as it is, having an “all-girl all-the-time” environment is not necessarily the only way to go. Sometimes the push you need to get to the next level is just one day scouting around with your guy mates. The will to keep up can be just the motivation you need to stomp that trick, drop that cliff, ski a new line, and keep that grin beaming. From the guys’ perspective, living in areas where the guy-to-girl ratio is generally ten-to-one, you can guarantee they see the growth of female involvement as a good thing for the sport! As for being “way behind the rest,” don’t be discouraged. Everyone has their turn at being the underdog. If we take a quick backward glance at the evolution of other action-sports, there is a recurring pattern – it just takes a combination of participant numbers, events and time. Take surfing, for example, and my mum’s experience in the mid-70’s: “The dudes in the surf would shout at me as the only girl in the lineup: get outta the water, ya sheila!” Now look where women’s surfing is. And just as skiing has made its comeback after being overshadowed for years by snowboarding culture, so too, given time, will women’s skiing duly stand tall on its own.
BYRON WELLS CARDRONA PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
SAM SMOOTHY VERBIER, SWITZERLAND PHOTO: YVES GARNEAU
NEIL WILLIMAN SQUAW VALLEY, USA PHOTO: SAM HALL
TANNER HALL SNOW PARK PHOTO: CHRIS O’CONNELL
JANINA KUZMA MT OLYMPUS PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
BROKEN RIVER PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
JOSSI WELLS SKI BOWL, MT HOOD, USA PHOTO: ERIK SEO
TAKESHI NAKAHARA NISEKO, JAPAN PHOTO: TAKAHIRO NAKANISJI
KIM BOBERG SNOW PARK PHOTO: CHRIS O’CONNELL
SCOTT STAPLES GULMARG, INDIA PHOTO: HENRY COBB
TAKESHI NAKAHARA MT HUTT PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN
TOMMY CAMPBELL TUROA PHOTO: TOMMY PYATT
JOSSI WELLS WHISTLER, CANADA PHOTO: DAN CARR
Words by Nigel Fox Images by NK and Camilla Stoddart
The Perfect trip – An experiment in hot tubs, toga girls, green chartreuse, spring corn and rail jams by the sea… The urge to leave Wanaka had been building for weeks; the endless flow of tourists wanting ski boots and the mundaneness of daily routine had me feeling claustrophobic. I had been planning a road trip for a while, but I was questioning what the essence of a really good ski trip was. Was it the snow you score, the places you see, the people you meet on the way, or was it the number of hot tubs you have? Not one to miss a chance for a bit of investigative journalism, I packed my skis and boardies, fuelled up the car and started calling potential road buddies. The next day, I slipped out of work early and picked up Fraser from home. His parents hadn’t hesitated at granting him two days off school for such a monumentally-scientific road trip. It was 8pm by the time we left town; we were five hours behind the rest of the crew. The hour and a half drive to Lake Ohau Lodge flew by and as we walked through the doors of the lodge bar, we were greeted by the sight of our crew slamming a shot ski of green Chartreuse. They fast re-loade d another for the newcomers. As well as the road trip team of Jason, Camilla, Frenchie (Patrick) and Janina, there was a large contingent of Wanaka folk at the lodge that evening. Some had come across in the Red Bull Hummer, others by their own accord, but all were planning a big ski day the next morning. Alas, a bus load of toga-clad tourists were also at the lodge bar, compounded by the fact that it was Janina’s birthday; a few hours later things had escalated, and we found ourselves jumping into our first hot tub of the trip. The experiment had started. The next morning was dark and overcast, so we took our time enjoying bacon and eggs at the lodge before heading off on the 15-minute drive up the access road. Ohau ski field is a hidden gem of a club field in the Mackenz ie Country; its chairlift gives access to a huge amount of skiable terrain, and an easy hike from the top opens up the extensive backcountry. A lot of fun can be had there on a good day. Unfortunately, that morning was not a good day for most, and with the field clagged in with cloud, the zero visibility made skiing painfully difficult, so our time was spent drinking coffee in the warmth of the great little day lodge.
By lunch, us road trippers who were continuing north decided to call it a day and hit the road for our next hot tub destination, Tekapo. After some of the South Island’s best sushi, a game of ice hockey and our second hot pool in twelve hours, we left Tekapo content and started the push north towards Mt Olympus, where our beds for the evening waited. It was dark and bitterly cold by the time we rolled into the top car park at Olympus. It took a while to gather up all our gear from the cars and load it into packs we could carry up the access tow to the lodge. Rope tow lessons for the non-initiated and tricky night photo shoots tested patience and resolve, while the lodge’s warm light shone invitingly in the distance . Eventually, we all made it to the lodge where, as always at Olympus , a hearty welcome and dinner awaited us. We bought some beers and hopped into our third hot tub of the day, this time relaxing under the stars in the massive barrel-style tub on the side deck of the hut. CAMILLA
The next morning, we were greeted at breakfast by an infamous ghost of the Canterbury club fields, Mr Geoff Browne, who had just arrived with a couple of friends for a day of raucous spring corn bashing. Unfortunately, things were still very firm and fast, so adhering to Olympus protocol we kicked back, drank coffees and discussed the finer points of road trips, skiing, politics and, of course, rocket science. Regular scouting missions kept us abreast of snow conditions, until it was soft enough for us to fight through the Olympus crowds and rip it up. Brownie led the rat pack around the sunny aspects of the hill all morning till lunch called, and we returned to the lodge for a gourmet feed. During the break, Fraser and Frenchie decided that the hot tub jump should be re-shaped for a bit of after-lunch mischief. Within fifteen minutes, the two of them were standing at the top of an icy run-in, which banked sharply just before hitting a kicker on the roof of the lodge, boosting them over the hot tub, landing on the snow banks in front of the hut. Easy, eh! Amazingly, all of the seven spectators seemed to have a camera of some description, and the scene resembled a Britney Spears scandal, with paparazzi everywhere. However, Fraser and Frenchie kept their cool and sessioned the jump for at least an hour before the hoards of press realised that the other side of the mountain had softened and the corn was on again. The five intrepid road trippers followed suit and had an unforgettable afternoon of slashing buttery Canterbury corn with no one around but us. It was well after five when we said our goodbyes and reluctantly left the mountain of the gods for new pastures. A quick break at the Springfield pub saw us under way to the lodge at Mt Lyford village in Northern Canterbury, the next stop on the great hot tub experiment. We arrived at Lyford Lodge late, and under the cover of darkness slipped into our room. We passed out instantly; the exertions of our day’s skiing had caught up with us, but what a day. Saturday morning, and the experiment was back on, this time at a new venue, Mt Lyford, where none of us had been before. We had a quick scout around the impressive lodge and grabbed a spot of breakfast. Then it was into the cars for the first CAMILLA
Turns out the run was aptly named ‘Thriller’, and if Michael Jackson ever ventured his plastic white ass out into the sun, he would have been blown away by the silky moves of the skiers – and one of the most fun – part of any new ski field adventure in NZ, the access road. We were not disappointed; Possum Bourne would have been proud. The setup at Lyford was way beyond our expectations, and after a good chat with the owners we were off to check out the terrain on the most amazing spring day. Exploring any new area is always exciting; we quickly worked out the lay of the land and were instantly drawn to a large steep face at the back of the resort serviced by a rope tow. We sessioned the Terako Rope Tow all morning and as the sun beat down harder the snow corned up more and more. Ten turns down the face became five, then two, then shirts off, guns out and we were straight-lining in pairs, hooning down the slope
trying to avoid the stinging spray of opponents’ rooster tails, or worse still, hockey-stop spray on bare skin. Turns out the run was aptly named ‘Thriller’, and if Michael Jackson ever ventured his plastic white ass out into the sun, he would have been blown away by the silky moves of the skiers gracing Mt Terako that morning. We could do no wrong; it was pure ego snow, even the most uncoordinated of us were busting out linked switch turns with ease. Sunburnt and on the verge of exhaustion, we got a tip off from Mr Simpson, the owner, who had been reveling in the corn himself: that the back side of Mt Terako would have softened up and we should check it out. Gallantly, we made the short hike to the top of Mt Terako and were rewarded with
scintillating panoramic views of the East Coast, the Pacific Ocean and the magnificent towering Kaikoura Ranges. We peered down the long steep run back to the base building and laughed; it was pristine corn with only one track down the right side. Was this place for real? We raced for the clean left side, trying to be first to leave our signature on a run called ‘Die Hard’. Our fat skis sunk into the fresh creamed corn like a fat kid into the sofa, and we arced fast Super G turns down the open face all the way to the lodge. Yippee kai eh, probably best run of the trip. With the snow turning to custard on the main slopes, we tried to build a kicker on the Deer Valley Poma side of the field, but with snow
conditions and energy levels both deteriorating, thoughts drifted to the hot tub at the lodge and ice cold beers to go with it. So we called it a day, and headed down the hill.
We spent the rest of the evening having a few beers and acquainting ourselves with some of the local customs in nearly all of Kaikoura’s fine drinking establishments.
With the hazy glow of the setting sun behind the mountains, we slipped into our final hot tub of the trip and toasted one of the best days spring skiing any of us had experienced, and a great new field to add to our list of places skied. Pure unadulterated luxury, the perfect way to finish a perfect day.
The next morning, a bit bleary-eyed, we headed to Manga’s to check out the surf, hoping to complete the trip with a wave or two. But Neptune was not with us and the mighty Pacific was flat as a mill pond, so we loaded the wagons and started the long eight-hour haul back to Wanaka.
The Mt Lyford crew just happened to be running a rail jam that night in a pub in Kaikoura, and invited us to come along. As we had no real plans, we decided a night out would be a good way to finish off the trip. So we made the spectacular drive along Highway 70 to Kaikoura. The rail jam was in the beer garden of the Whaler Pub and was a small affair to say the least. No skiers had entered, so I quickly registered Fraser, Frenchie and Jason and kicked back with my beer to watch the proceedings. After a lot of pandemonium, and a few stunned-looking locals who had never seen anything like it, Fraser took out top spot, with Jason upsetting Frenchie by taking second. Frenchie came in last, I mean third. CAMILLA
It was late and raining hard when we got home. Exhausted, we said our goodnights, though I had a feeling we would be up early the next morning for a powder day. The experiment was complete; but what conclusions could we draw from it? Well, road trips, like cold mornings and sore feet, are part of the ski lifestyle. The snow is always good, because otherwise you’d be at work, and the people you meet are like-minded. Really, the only difference on this trip was the hot tubs. So next time you organise a roadie, or book a holiday in the snow, think hot tub – the true essence of any good ski experience.
Brett Crabtree, finals day, TC
Words by Hamish Acland Images by Camilla Stoddart “We are here at the Volkl Free Ski Open” booms over the speakers. MC Si Guthrie is just warming into it, with me as his trusty sidekick, forming the washed-up club – aka, we used to compete. “This event brings together the world’s best and New Zealand’s best to compete right here in Aotearoa. Big ups to Snow Park for once again putting together a perfect world-class pipe.” As Mr Guthrie and I carried on with mindless talk of pineapples, the next competitor stood relaxed, ready and waiting. Goggle check, knuckle punch to a fellow competitor and, on the starter’s word, the switch was flipped and it was on like Donkey Kong. “Tanner Hall dropping in, yes, that’s right, seven times X Games medallist and skiing superstar going huge on the first hit.” Hall’s run was highlighted by left and right-side 900s, a flatspin 540, seven hits altogether finished off with a switch 720 to Ali-oop 900. Cost of admission to see a skier defined by Powder Magazine as one of the most influential skiers of our time, a skier that has dominated freestyle competitions for the last decade, to have ringside seats and VIP access that an X Games spectator would give their right arm for?
Free. That’s right FOC, Free of Charge. The competition raged on with what seemed like every nationality represented. However, missing from the competition were Kiwi heavy-hitters Lyndon Sheehan and previous winner Jossi Wells, both out due to injuries. This left Byron Wells with the honour of being New Zealand’s arsenal to attack the podium. And attack he did; Byron put down a solid combination of tricks that had him biting at the podium’s heels, placing 5th, his standout air, his flawless “B Wells corked 540” soaring overhead with style likened to that of Mr T Hall himself. The next day’s Slopestyle event would see over one hundred competitors throw down in near perfect conditions. The course looked like something between a top town course and a Playstation game, manicured to perfection, with a stair-set rail feature and up rail feature dominating the top of the course. This led into the two main kickers, followed by a final rail option. Watching practice was like seeing a ski movie segment of the top skiers from the States, including Sammy Carlson, Colby West and Tanner Hall.
Come competition time, it was a lesson in which combination of tricks might best combine to make a winning run: tech rails, spins lefts and right were all performed close to perfection. MC’s Simon and I had our work cut for ourselves trying to pick the top three, but thankfully the judging panel was headed up by X Games judge Josh Loubek. And it would be Australian Russ Henshaw that would walk away with top honours. From the Kiwi contingent, Matt Soundy stepped up to the plate, gaining his first major top ten, a huge result for the young Queenstown lad. The other standout, super-grom Beau Wells, took 22nd, throwing tech with a switch 540 on the first kicker to a massive 900 – this backing up his impressive 12th in pipe. The women’s competition was a heavyweight hit-out of the who’s who of Slopestyle, including 2007 US Open winner Anna Segal (Aus) and 2007 European Open champion Ashley Battersby battling it out with 2006 NZ Open winner Kaya Turski (Can), in her first competition back from injury. The contest was extremely tight, but it was the super-smooth Battersby that would take the crown.
Big Mountain podium
Day one, Remarkables
Russ Henshaw, Snow Park
The Snow Park woolshed hosted the prizegiving with après-ski refreshments going down. The winner’s cheques were presented, along with a hand-carved greenstone necklace by Winter Performance Coach Nick Draxsel. Once again the event delivered. Next it was on to The Remarkables, for day one of the Big Mountain event; we left behind “how big is my spin?” to “choose and rip your line”. Shadow Basin would host day one, and, after a ski-through inspection, it was go time. The event saw everything from the super grom to the super experienced, including the likes of Geoff Small and Janina Kuzma, along with American Brett Crabtree, who had just taken the overall IFSA Freeskiing Tour title in the States. The ladies were off first, and it was Wanaka schoolteacher Jo Guest (skipping school) who came out charging with a run to threaten reigning champion Janina Kuzma. She would, however, falter on her last air. Into the men, it would be another experienced head coming unstuck at the end of a dynamite line, previous champion Geoff Small. The young guns then started to show through the field and gain their spots for the finals day at Treble Cone, but it
was the Doctor, Al Eason, who would take the day with a run that was stacked with powerful ski-racing-upbringing turns and a cliff-gapto-transition that had everyone on their feet. Treble Cone was in fine form for finals day, with the top 30 Men and Women having two runs down the Motatapu Chutes. Kuzma held little back and skied to beat many of the guy’s runs, but it was the young Mikayla Austin, who is coached by Kuzma, who would step up and ski well beyond her 15 years to take second. In the Men’s, the Kiwis came through into the top ten, starting with the young Tom Brownlee from Canterbury, but it was the internationals that laid siege to the podium. In a feat of redemption after a season-ending crash at the ‘05 event, Luke Potts scorched the field to take 3rd, with American Dane Tudor in 2nd. Tudor showed his all-rounds skills with a 8th in Slopestyle, but it was Dr Eason who held his lead with flawless skiing, including hitting Smallie’s Gap as he shralped the chutes to take his third podium, but his first Volkl Freeski Open title. With the event wrapped up, it was time for some rest, but not before the final party took place with staff and competitors all happy to unwind.
1st. Alastair Eason – NZ 2nd. Dane Tudor – USA 3rd. Luke Potts – UK 1st. Janina Kuzma – NZ 2nd. Mikayla Austin – NZ 3rd. Lorraine Huber – AUS
1st. Russ Henshaw – AUS 2nd. Andri Ambühl – SUI 3rd. Sammy Carlson – USA 1st. Ashley Battersby – USA 2nd. Anna Segal – AUS 3rd. Kaya Turski – CAN
1st. Tanner Hall – USA 2nd. Justin Dorey – CAN 3rd. Walter Wood – USA 1st. Miyuki Hatanaka – JAP 2nd. Anais Caradeux – FR 3rd. Manami Mitsuboshi – JAP
PHOTO: SHANE ORCHARD
Words by Shane Orchard There’s an epic little something that sets NZ’s clubfield scene apart from … well pretty much anywhere. And, in true kiwi style, it takes no average comp to make the most of it. Picture lining up some world-class terrain, rounding up a bunch of mates to hit it, and waiting for the next big dump to ensure epicness all-round. Then persuade someone to supply a heap of freebies, and maybe even pay you to get amongst it, and you’ve got the K2 CHILL Big Mountain formula! It’s a pretty sweet deal, and 2008 saw everything come together bigtime for a comp that really delivered the goods. It all started with the crew locked into the waitingfor-snow programme, ready to mobilise when the conditions might look good. No one was keen to budge on the fresh powder policy to do the CHILL terrain justice, and sure enough patience paid off when a big system hit the weather maps. It was game on. With some kind of huge dump obviously on the way, the comp format switched up to a four-day straight programme to maximise the hoped-for powder. Good call! Wednesday night saw us arrive at Craigieburn to find heavy rain and a heavy drinking session in progress. By morning the scene had materialised into a foot of fresh at the Lodges, and it was still chucking down! Competitors were roused and hit with the plan, but the biggest job of the day was for ski patrol.
Comp plan for Day One was hatched; it involved the competitors tracking out the field while ski patrol were loaded up with bombs and tasked with checking out the steeps for later. The patrol worked furiously all morning to check out what was on offer at the comp venue in the extensive Craigieburn terrain. The middle chutes were deep – too deep for now, but Access had a foot of fresh and good viz, despite the snowy skies. The scenario wasn’t too shabby at all. By lunch we had the team assembled above the untouched slopes of Access chutes ready to hear the latest briefing … time for two ‘inspection runs’ then into Round One! As you can imagine, the good times had been rolling for quite a while come early arvo when it was time for some scoring lines to go down. The comp zone was pretty good ‘ease into the comp’ material, with a maze of features across the slope, allowing plenty of choice but nothing too extreme. In no time, the place was decimated with every conceivable combo of hits going down – and there were quite a few. The day’s end saw an even spread of results, with Romain Bellon top-scoring in the points. A satisfied crew retreated to the Lodge for some Craigieburn hospitality or maybe to jib off the odd roof while the snow just kept on falling. Day Two dawned, and it was still snowing, but patrol were determined to open up some new
PHOTO: GEOFF BROWNE
terrain and ramp it up a bit. Instead of working familiar ground, we got set up on the big prow between fourth and fifth guts, where some serious steepness was lurking. It was a case of turn it up or perish, with some spicy, if not scary, lines on offer, and big features a plenty for those looking to throw down. The lower ledges attracted a fair bit of attention and saw plenty of crowd pleasers, including a massive sick-bird front flip! By the end of the day, we’d seen a world class show of big mountain antics, despite the testing conditions. Consistently technical lines and solid scores saw Geoff Small edge out the field to take away the cash in the Men’s. Meanwhile, Shannon Werner completed a sweet double act after swapping her patrol uniform for a comp bib and skiing hard to take out the Women’s section. Unfortunately, Shannon had another big powder day to deal with come tomorrow and would have to bow out from joining the contest machine for its next adventure. Being no ordinary comp, this was nothing less than a good old kiwi road trip through the night to our next snowy destination. Cars were dug out and fired up, and before long the convoy was snaking its way through the now-pasted Craigieburn’s in search of a kitchen to take over (aka the Springfield pub!).
PHOTO: SHANE ORCHARD
Morning saw us working the back roads towards the promise of yet more untouched powder, and it became obvious that we were in for a real blue blazer this time. Being slightly further back than the other ski areas only seems to breed ampage when you’re on the road to Mt Olympus – and the mountains were looking insane! Rounding that final bend towards Bottom Hut at last revealed the valley, and Little Alaska was a sight, with huge pillows sitting on every rock. The road trip dealt with, the comp machine swung back into action to do what it does best. Yip, track out the field! By now the crew were well-stoked with the comp format and wasted no time. Meanwhile, the Mt O patrol had a week’s worth of pristine terrain available for competition shredding. It was a major dilemma deciding where the best comp venues might be; there were way too many choices. Chill innovation again cracked this one by deciding we’d make the whole Ryton ridge the comp zone. This paved the way for an incredible day, especially for those watching from the lodge, who were treated to a spectacle of action that is seldom seen. There were a ridiculous number of lines up for grabs and the terrain features were looking sick! Competitors were faced with a choice of
DAY 1 Cragiburn Valley 1st. Geoff Small 2nd. Shaun Ryan 3rd. Anders lysmore 1st. Shannon Werner 2nd Lucy Clinton-Baker 3rd Kylie laurie
DAY 2 Mt Olympus 1st. Geoff Small 2nd. Tom Dunbar 3rd. Ben Wooster 1st. Rosie Fisher 2nd. Rosie Goodman 3rd. Astrid Nuggard
PHOTO: SHANE ORCHARD
several big high-sided chutes with multiple entries and exits, either side of three big bad buttresses. It would be fair to say that any resort in the world would have been stoked with the scenario that unfolded. The lines pulled out were way too many to mention and the powder deep as. Some of the highlights included airs into chutes, flips off cliffs, massive hucks and doubles, and the odd bit of carnage. All said, it was a hard act to follow, but then again the Mt O kitchen had other ideas, coming up with salmon entrees all round, and that was just for starters. The rest of the feast would have been the envy of any restaurant in town, which pretty much summed up the vibe: only at the clubbies, ay! Then of course there was the hot tub, and the complimentary hot tub booter to be sessioned afterwards. Surprise, surpise, the place was cleaned right out of beer (which doesn’t happen too often at Mt O!). That was one large day, but come morning there was no hesitation in getting back to the powder, since this was a comp, after all. The cash was still up for grabs and the gnarly lines of the Sphinx were the obvious choice for the final showdown. Keeping the innovation going, there were two aspects made available for line choices: either side of an extremely scary piece of doom. There were a couple of serious options available either way for those looking for high line scores, but nailing them was definitely in the super-technical category. And so it was that the spectators were treated to plenty of carnage as lines were charged and victims claimed by the tricky conditions. In the end, it came down to the crunch and we had Tom Dunbar and Geoff Small in position for their chosen lines, perilously close to the nasty spine. Tom’s line was a technical start to a double drop which he skied solid as, putting the heat on Geoff to step it up one last time. Geoff started much the same as Tom, but, to the amazement of onlookers, took none of the escape routes on offer, hopping his way into a series of small snow patches above massive exposure towards the only logical exit, a shoulder-width straightline chute. All in a day’s work for some! The line was a fitting finale to an outstanding four days in the mountains, and a level of performance as good as you’d find anywhere. But even better was the unique vibe and dedication to massively good times which sets the whole event apart from rest. The K2 CHILL Big Mountain comp is all about delivering NZ’s best snow in true kiwi grassroots style. If this sounds at all like you, you’ll definitely be checking out the 2009 event, right? In which case, I’m guessing we’ll see you there.
PHOTO: SHANE ORCHARD
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Mum, I stomped my run. Is dinner ready?
Has anyone seen my keys?
Words by Hamish Acland Images by Camilla Stoddart As the sport of freeskiing has evolved, so too has the number of young skiers, and in 2005 the Junior Freeski Nationals was created. In 2007, the event was combined with snowboarding, and it instantly became a sort of grommet Winter Fest, but without the celebrities and champagne. The ‘Juniors’ is different from many competitions, as it hosts all abilities. While it is competitive, it is more a camp-style gathering of frothing ski kids and their parents watching them throw down, while handing out certificates and some product from it’s very supportive sponsors. It was obvious as soon as I arrived at the comp that there was a new crew in town, the grommets of all grommets. They stood out this year (or less so, being only knee-high to a grasshopper), mostly because there were so many of them. They rolled together in packs, with their own iconic styles, including ahead-of-fashion reusing fashion: the ‘hand-me-down’. I am talking about the U10 age group, aka the ‘Super Groms’. For many of them, this was their first ‘Juniors’; for some, their first ever ski comp. Would they suffer from the pressures of competing like many adults do – the stress of being judged, the media
attention, peer pressure, or possibly sponsor (aka parental) expectations? Myself, just a few years past the junior cut and in need of a break, I rested lying down on the snow to watch the Slopestyle event. Super Groms were drifting past in packs, stopping to watch the older kids throw down. Some were brothers and sisters, some newly-made friends, others were just on their own trip, daydreamers I thought. Under 10 member Fin Bilous sat down beside me; I think he was just being kind, having seen that I was by myself and thought he would give me some company. He said nothing and continued watching his comrades hit the first jump in the slopestyle course. I noticed he was wearing standard youngest brother fatigues: the “I don’t care how I look, I don’t dress myself” look. I decided I would try to get inside this young competitor’s mind and ask him some questions. I wanted to start with an easy open-ended question and let him do the talking. “What’s your favourite part of the Juniors,” I asked. “Skiing,” he stated, staring up at me, like I either had a booger hanging out of my nose or had just asked the most obvious question ever. Before I could come up with a new one, young
Cam Mcdermid schools the crowd
“Hey Sam, have you met Nemo?”
Bilous was up and standing. His ‘crew’ had arrived, a motley bunch of kids with mini twin-tip skis, all grinning from ear to ear, and with that energy that just says “let’s run riot.” What I saw time and time again was that these Super Groms didn’t have the same hang ups when it came to competing as many experienced, older competitors do. They, straight off the bat, have what so many competitors strive for: the single-minded focus to go skiing and have fun. Stuff the pressure of being judged, these Super Groms were acting like seasoned pros, totally switched off from the competition until right before their run, then game time. The Super Groms threw down, and anyone who witnessed the ‘Juniors’ can attest to the talent that was in the U10’s. While the event brings together skiers from around the country to compete, it also creates an environment in which they can ski and learn from each other. Riding the lifts, you could see crews of young skiers playing follow the leader, not always hitting the actual man-made features, but making use of every bit of snow. Where a skier twice the size sees nothing, these skiers see potential.
In the actual competition, the Skiercross was marked by near-humorous ‘tucks’, especially by those with little to no body weight - head down bum up, all with the aim to gain much-needed speed. The older kids seemed somewhat out of place with their long skis and a couple of beards. But it was extremely competitive, and very cool to watch those that knew how to pump through the ‘woops’ and bend a ski through the berms. Halfpipe saw the evolution of the pencil-540 (very straight and upright spin), regarded as uncool to an older generation. But this trick is definitely in, and a major milestone in the world of trick progression.
Super Grom Gangsta
exposure above cliffs were done, leaving many an onlooker gasping; there was no cotton wool protection here, these young skiers did exactly what they knew and believed they could do. Five years ago, I don’t think anyone could have guessed the level these Super Groms would be at today, or that there would be so many of them. Fast forward ten years, and I wonder who will be the new U10’s, the next generation of Super Grom.
2009 Junior Free Ski Nationals – Register at snowsports.co.nz – Limited space, maximum age U16
Slopestyle showed up some real ski skills, as rails were slid and tricks put down, that would have stood up in the NZ Open. Every age group demonstrated quality skiing, and put down a wide variety of tricks. The Big Mountain day had less than ideal conditions, with very firm snow in places. While spectators looked on from the comfort of the Captains Café, it looked decidedly gnarly at times on the slopes. True to form, the competition showed how on point these kids are. Turns of
JOSSI WELLS AND TONY HARRINGTON REUNITE
Words and Images by Tony Harrington – harroart.com In any given resort in the world, on any given day, you’re bound to see at least one wide-eyed, big-grinned grommet stomping airs off every mound of snow, traverse track or speed hump around. No matter what they’re hitting, you can bet they’ve been inspired by watching their ski idols effortlessly boosting in the park, dropping cliff bands or arcing GS turns down the mountain. Jossi Wells was one of those kids, but he was always one who stood out from the pack. Kath Brown, my partner at the time, and I first noticed Jossi when he was about five years old. We were working with him shooting snow catalogues and Cardrona marketing material, and it seemed in no time at all he had sprouted up stronger then ever as a skier and was showing maturity well beyond his age. When organising the World Heli Challenge in 2000, I invited Joss to forerun the event. With his father Bruce on staff as a guide, and a great culture of competitors, I knew Joss would be in good company. And so it was that we had a nine-year-old bug-eyed kid flying around in helicopters and dropping into an extreme face that would have had most adult skiers freaking out big time. I’ll never forget the hoots and the hollers of the entire group of Heli Challenge athletes, guides, judges and VIP’s on the mountain that day, yelling out at what this kid was doing. He certainly became the mascot of the event that year. Time went on, and I moved away from New Zealand, but I was always stoked to hear how successful Joss was becoming. I reconnected with him in 2008 at The Ski Tour in Sun Valley, where he was blitzing the halfpipe event. Crikey, he’d stepped up his game. He was up against the world’s best – Simon Dumont, TJ Schiller, Peter Olenick and Tom Wallisch – and he was killing it. What really blew me away was reading Jossi’s X Games bio, in which he described what had inspired him to become a world-class skier. His answer was “getting to ski in the World Heli Challenge.” That was so very rewarding for me personally. Then, in March this year, I got an email from Jossi. It was an invite to be the photographer for Team Down Under at the Jon Olsson Super Sessions (JOSS) in Sweden in five days’ time. Finally, we would get to work one on one, Jossi no longer a wide-eyed grommet, but a full-time professional skier. It was so cool to see just how committed and determined this kid is, and it really showed through here, as at the Super Sessions he had a pretty rough time. For one, a heavy flu knocked him around badly, but he never gave up, hitting the jumps every night they were
opened. It also had been a long season, and his knees were in need of a good rest, but still he charged on. The JOSS event featured seven teams: Sweden, Norway, Europe, USA, America, Canada and Down Under. Down Under consisted of Jossi and Australia’s Russ Henshaw as the skiers, Rob Norman and Kris Ostness on the film side, and myself as the photographer. The concept was simple enough. The skiers had to bag six tricks on which they would be judged. These would be captured in a five-minute video produced by Rob and Chris. Apart from the tricks and the video and photography awards, there were two Big Air events. Russ Henshaw took second in the first and claimed the title in the last. Considering it was full of X Games gold medallists, European Champions and the best from Norway and Sweden, it was an epic moment, made even more special when Russ took out the event’s overall “Best Performer”. We came off the back foot at first, as the film crew and myself had been pulled together at the last moment. Some of the teams had months to prep and work out a theme for their movie. I was literally on my way back from Canada when invited across to Scandinavia, and was distinctly disadvantaged by not having a whiz-bang flash setup like the rest of the photographers. That’s not to say that I couldn’t prove myself, but in this day and age of new school hip and cool fashion, flashes in terrain parks are almost required cutting edge equipment. The first week in Trysil was a blast. We were set up in the Raddison Hotel, which had only recently opened. Five-course breakfasts and dinners didn’t
do much for fitness, but between hiking terrain parks and spending hours every day in the indoor wave pool, we at least worked off some of the excess. The next week we headed to Are in Sweden. The supposed five-hour drive was actually eight hours (Jon must have forgotten that we were in a bus, not his Lamborghini), which turned into 17 hours when the bus broke down. Are resort was a bigger mountain, but the weather didn’t cooperate and we were left shooting in the rain with the boys still trying to get in a full complement of tricks, which they did, performing stuff they’d never done before. The final event of the Super Session was the Jon Olsson Invitational, a massive 100-foot gap jump that provided the distance and amplitude for Jossi to pull a few more tricks from his bag, including his doubles. He made it to the final cut, but had to pass on going further because of pain in his knees. Down Under team-mate Russ Henshaw went on to win. The event had some big parties, and I’ve seen these be the downfall of many a pro. But Joss doesn’t drink, nor smoke, yet he was out raging as hard or harder then most of the pros there, he’s just so stoked on life and his skiing. We all had a blast at JOSS, and it was there that I decided the World Heli Challenge just had to come back, entwining the athlete categories with the filming. Maybe we will see Jossi Wells return to ski in the Heli Challenge, but this time as a fully-fledged pro, and very much an inspiration. The 2009 World Heli Challenge kicks off the 22nd of August to the 5th of September.
Beau Wells thought his poles were on the roof
PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
Words by Neil Kerr
Historians believe that we have been skiing for more than 5000 years, making skiing the oldest action sport out there. Initially though skis were a mode of transport for hunters and trappers in the far North, and this is how they remained for thousands of years, a way for people to travel around their snowy homelands. Not until the end of the 19th century did skiing start to become a recreational activity. The word ‘ski’ comes from the old Norse word ‘Skio’ meaning ‘a stick of wood’ and for many years that was exactly what skis were, two planks of wood. The first major breakthrough in ski design came in 1850 when the cambered ski was invented in Norway. This allowed the skiers weight to spread more evenly across the skis, letting them glide much better, as a result skis could be made thinner and lighter. Instantly skiing became easier and more fun. Then in 1868, Sondre Norheim introduced the ‘Telemark ski’, which as well as camber had sidecut, the ski narrowed under foot while the tip and tail stayed the same. This was a revelation, suddenly turning the long cumbersome planks of wood became significantly easier and skiing’s popularity rocketed, so much so that by the late 1800’ s the first ski clubs were formed and rope tows began to appear. The 20th century saw a steady evolution in ski construction, metal edges, new glues, and plastic bases all had massive effects on how skis were made, all of which improved the skier’s experience on the snow. But the strange thing is, that not until the early 1990’s, over a hundred years after Norheim’s telemark ski, did anyone question the design of skis, they were still principally the same, around 2m long, stiff, narrow under foot, slightly wider tip and tail and bloody hard work to use. 1993 saw the beginning of an evolution in ski design that would change the sport as we know it. A few pioneering ski companies released prototype, deep sidecut skis (wider tip and tail, same waist width). They were aimed at intermediate skiers, to help them carve turns easier. Initially they were brushed off as a fad but slowly as the designs were refined and adjusted these new ‘Carving skis’ began to push convention and people started to take notice. Quickly the sidecut principle was applied to more and more skis with amazing effect. Within 10 years they had re-vitalized the sport and skiing experienced a huge resurgence in popularity During the last decade a couple of other species of ski have evolved alongside the conventional. Fat skis that had been designed for the heli ski community were refined, and released to the public, radically changing off piste skiing and what was possible on skis. Simultaneously twin tipped skis started appearing, so young freestylers could start hitting the strange park features that snowboarders were building on the hill. Now in 2009 a plethora of skis are available, in every shape size and species known to man, so how do we know where to start looking. Well, we have learnt that skis are now easier to use and more varied in shape and size, which allows for different styles of skiing. Instructors can carve turns faster and tighter than ever, off piste powder junkies can surf the soft stuff on his big wide boards arcing long sweeping turns and the weekend warrior can try his hand at everything, depending on the conditions he gets. So what style of skier are you?, how to you like to get down the mountain? and where do you like to ski? These are the questions to ask yourself when purchasing a pair of skis. Not, What’s my ability level? There is now a ski out there to suit everyone’s style, it all really comes down to what makes you happy!
Shane McConkey on his waterskis PHOTO: FLIP McCRIRICK
PHOTO: FLIP McCRIRICK
ski technology Now that we have had a quick history lesson lets look a bit closer at some of the different sub-species of skis to help us further understand what we would like to ski on.
run better through soft snow and arc a longer turn, ideal for freeriding. So don’t be put off the twin tip section of the ski rack, demo a pair at your local shop and you won’t be disappointed.
Shaped skis Sidecuts and construction methods have been constantly tweaked and adjusted since that first generation in 93 to the point today where they have perfected the best shapes for skiing all over the mountain and in varying conditions. We have grossly generalized these skis into 3 basic shapes to help you begin to understand the differences and how design affects the skis
Rocker and reserve sidecut In 2003 a visionary by the name of Shane McConkey dropped into a steep powder face in Bella Coola on a pair of skis that were like no other before. The skis had an impressive 120mm tip, fat for the time, but strange thing was that underfoot the ski measured 125mm and weirder still the tips and tails were bent so that they peeled away from each other. On Shane’s first run down the face he planed effortlessly over the untracked snow, the extra flotation and unusual shape gave him an edge over the standard fat skis of his peers, they looked slow and cumbersome compared to McConkey. The ski was the Volant Spatula and it would be the catalyst for a new era of ski design, which is still at the forefront of technology discussion today.
1 . Sidecut skis – refined and better constructed versions of the first shaped skis, they have the most sidecut, turn the quickest and will leave trenches in any piste you choose to ski. They love predictable terrain and are the sports car of the ski world. 2. Mid fat skis – Designed for versatility , this family of ski has been given 10-15mm more width and lost a little bit of its sidecut. Jack-of-all-trades they ski all terrain and conditions very similarly, still rip up the groomers but enjoy the less predictable off piste too. The All wheel drive, Subaru legacy of skiing. 3. Wide body skis – Fatter, longer and less sidecut, this group of skis are designed to ski primarily off the trails. The extra width and length add stability and float to deal with the unpredictable and undulating nature of off piste while the reduced side cut stops the ski hooking and overturning in softer snow. They are happiest in soft snow, the Land Rovers of skis. Woman’s Skis One of the biggest growth areas in skis recently has been in woman specific skis, the obvious anatomical differences and better anger management mean that most women drive their skis differently to guys. With this in mind ski manufacturers have created lines of skis lighter, slightly softer flexing and easier to turn, so the fairer sex can enjoy their day on the hill more than ever. Now retail ski racks have to be twice as big, as for every standard ski there is a female equivalent. All but the gnarliest, iron-pumping women should take advantage of these gender specific skis Twin tips Twintips arrived with a bang in the late 90’s with the Canadian airforce using them to pioneer freestyle skiing but they, like the rest of the ski world have evolved greatly since then. Now many of the most fun and progressive skis in the rack will have a twin tip. Many people ask why do I need twin tips if I don’t ski backwards or ski park. Well, while there are some specialist park and pipe twins, most are very similar to a regular ski they just have the tail turned up, to add versatility. The guy who wants to ski switch or hit the park can but alternatively the guy who just wants to ski a fatter ski can as well. The biggest difference is that twin tips come flat with out bindings, allowing the skier to choose where to mount their bindings. The closer to the center of the ski the shorter and more freestyle orientated it will perform; stable on landing and better for skiing backwards. Moving the binding backward on the ski, lets it
Skiing powder snow is the ultimate thrill for any skier but it has never been easy. The dynamics of skiing change completely, you are no longer carving turns on the surface of the snow, you are in it. This new medium you are in is unpredictable, it pulls at your skis, resisting their ability to turn, it slows your momentum and affects your balance. The ultimate rush becomes hard work and frustrating but then skis have never been designed to ski solely in powder. The idea came to Shane in two separate moments of clarity; first came when testing some new super sidecut skis, it happened to be a powder day and after one run, he returned them, declaring them ‘the worst ski he had ever skied in powder’. He jokingly claimed that the opposite shape would be much better for soft deep snow. His second epiphany came at another powder day, ski test when a close buddy commented that his old bent skis went better in the pow, than the latest models. It all clicked in Shane’s mind, soft snow is like water and everything designed to move through water; surfboards, waterskis and wakeboards have reverse camber, how had no one thought of this before. A few years later McConkey took out a pair of old jumping waterskis, mounted with bindings and skied a steep face just to prove his point. The Spatula suffered from its own genius, it was the perfect powder tool but hopeless anywhere else. However the seed had been planted. Reverse sidecut was initially dismissed as too wacky but reverse camber theory was quickly embraced by many companies. Re-named ‘rocker’ (a term used in surfboard design), in can be seen, in varying degrees on many wider skis today. The aim is versatility; better powder performance without losing turning ability and things are developing more every year. Some companies like Armada are taking things one step further their rockered skis, have reverse sidecut too, but it only starts from the point the rocker begins. Leaving a short length of standard shape underfoot allowing carving, while the rockered narrow tip comes alive in soft snow. The race is on to see who can come up with the perfect combination of rocker and side cut to create a new breed of super versatile skis for all conditions. It is an exciting time for skiing, lets see what the future holds.
1. 4FRNT VCT
4. Atomic Elysian
$1299 online special $1099
$1199 ski only
2. Armada ARV
5. Black Diamond Verdict
L. 168,175,182,189cm D. 129-104-121mm (175cm) Topping the nz freeski open podium last season and back in 09 to continue its domination as the number one fat ski available.
L. 165,175,185cm D. 125-92-114mm One of the best and most proven all mountain freeride skis on the market. Uncompromising performance, from hard pack to powder. $1299 ski only
3. Atomic Snoop
L. 168, 176, 184, 192cm D. 125-93-117mm Powder. Woodcore. Pure Terrain. Robust. Wide. Freedom. Flow. Virgin slopes. Power. Alaska. Perfect Line. First Descent. Spray. Slanted sidewall. $1249 ski only
L. 152, 160, 168, 176cm D. 125-93-117mm Women freeski. Style. Woodcore. Powder. Power. Adventurous. All Mountain. Ultra-light. Backside Park & Pipe. All Terrain Cruising.
L. 170, 180, 190cm D. 134-102-120mm All-mountain, semi-fat ski for the powerful skier. The newest technology, this ski is a race inspired ripper! $1199 ski only
6. Dynafit Manaslu
L. 169, 178, 187cm D. 124-95-109mm Ideal balance between weight, performance and flexibility this ski is ideal for high risk ski descents with highly varied snow conditions. $990 ski only
7. Dynastar Mythic Rider
L. 165, 172, 178, 184, 189cm D. 122-88-110mm This ski does everything, float and stability off piste, rock solid and reassuring on hardpack. A real skiers ski from Chamonix. $1799 ski only
8. Head Jimi 110
L.171,181,191cm D. 130-110-120mm Great ski for those deep powder days. Softer than before, looks good, feels good and goes even better. $1700 ski only
9. K2 Hard Side
L. 174,181,188cm D. 131-98-119mm At 98mm underfoot powder, cut up crud and firm snow are all fair game. Slight shovel rocker adds versatility. $1259 ski only
10. K2 Obsethed
L. 169,179,189cm D. 138-105-125mm Seth wanted his ski to have tip and tail Rocker for soft snow and crud but regular camber underfoot for quicker aggressive turn initiation on hardpack. $1259 ski only
11. Kingswood The Megafat
14. Line Prophet 100
$1449 ski only
$1345 ski only
L. 161,169,177,185cm D. 135-98-125mm A 98mm under foot dominates absolutely any type of terrain. Whether powder, crud, or groomers, the super versatile Enforcer will crush them all
18. Salomon Shogun
21. Volkl Bridge
$1399 ski only
$1399 ski only
16. Rossignol S5
19. Volkl Gotama
$1199 ski only
$1345 ski only
$1500 ski only (182)
15. Nordica Enforcer
$1250 ski only (171)
13. Kingswood The Archetype L. 171,184,199cm D. 140-104-123mm (184) Kingswood’s biggest selling ski, the Archetype goes anywhere and does anything. It’s versatile, fun and – like all Kingswood Skis – built to last.
20. Volkl Mantra
L. 172,179,186cm D. 134-100-125mm Power, stability and float of a big mountain ski yet maintains the precision, agility and responsiveness of a carving ski.
L. 171,186cm D. 136-110-124mm (171) 144-120-134mm (186) The powder-loving Fat has a healthy girth underfoot but enough sidecut to get you back to the lift on-piste.
17. Rossignol SC86
L. 182,199cm D. 175-146-159mm (182) The fattest of all Kingswood’s, the Megafat has pushed the boundaries of fatness. The ultimate powder companion, the Megafat is surprisingly versatile all over the mountain.
12. Kingswood The Fat
$1199 ski only
L. 171,178,185cm D. 128-98-121mm ‘All conditions any terrain.The all mountain SUV equally at home in the park or the back country. The S5 is the king of ‘new school’ all mountain skis.
L. 170,178,186cm D. 130-86-115mm ‘The most versatile of the lot, ideal for the more controlled environments. 86mm under foot gives everyone the chance to appreciate a true freeride ski
L. 164,173,182,191cm D. 130-101-120mm The everyday choice of pro athlete Mark Abma, the Shogun is great on both packed snow and pow.
L. 163,170,177,184,191cm D. 133-96-116mm No twin tip here, a must for the traditional skier who loves to get off the trails. 96mm underfoot but holds an edge and is very agile.
L. 161,169,177,185cm D. 130-92-112mm Plenty of width for off piste, soft enough for park, deep sidecut for piste – the perfect combo. The bridge will take you where you want to go. $1145 ski only
L. 178,186cm D. 137-106-122mm The best just got better, new tip and tail rocker design & more width. The ultimate off piste ski that still carves up the groomers.
$1295 ski only (184)
1. 4FRNT MSP
L. 161,171,181,187cm D. 122-92-112mm Reigning supreme the MSP conquers alls conditions. For years now the MSP has been voted best all mountain ski. where have you been? $1199 online special $999
2. 4FRNT Madonna
L. 155,165,175cm D. 121-90-111mm Womens specific all mountain ski ideal for New Zealand conditions. Get with the programme the 4FRNT revolution is here! Come join us. $999 online special $899
3. Armada AR6
L. 161,166,171,176,181cm D. 116-84-106mm A true all terrain Twin Tip, the AR6 is a real indication of Armada’s modern attitude towards the sport of taming every aspect of the mountain. $1099
4. Armada ARW
L. 161,166cm D. 114-82-104mm Women might weigh less than men but they still demand as much performance from their skis. We kept this in mind when building the best All Terrain women’s twin tip on the market. $1099
5. Atomic Crimson Ti
L. 155, 162, 169, 176, 183cm D. 119-86-114mm Light all mountain titanium ski, providing confidence in every terrain. A ski that gives its best everywhere and responds to your thoughts. $1599 with XTO 12 bindings
6. Atomic Blackeye Ti
L. 155, 162, 169, 176, 183cm D. 110-79-104mm Powerful, wide and yet agile. Light, super flexible, full length titanium profile and nano reinforcements for stabilisation. $1499 with XTO 12 bindings
7. Atomic Smoke
L. 150, 157, 164, 171, 178cm D. 112-76-102mm Light weight, versatile ski with optimal performance on all terrain and every type of snow. This ski is dynamic and easy to ride.
10. Dynafit Se7en Summit
13. Fischer RX Cool Heat
$880 ski only
L. 160,165,170,175,180cm D. 117-76-103mm 76mm waist,sandwich construction,double Titanal shell & wood core = tenacious edge hold but perfect flotation. A true allrounder.
8. Atomic Heaven’s Gate
11. Dynastar Exclusive Legend
14. Head Peak 78
$1199 with XTO 10 bindings
L. 148, 153, 158cm D. 113-80-100mm Good control, easy turning, wide tip for turn initiation and a mid wide waist for all-terrain control. Advance performance for women who love to ski.
$1829 with RFD12 bindings
$1299 with XTO 10 bindings
L. 150, 157, 164cm D. 119-74-108mm Ultra light. Progressive performance. Stability thru turns. All mountain shape. Easy to turn. Control. Womens Flex.
L. 156, 163, 170, 178cm D. 113-80-100mm TThis ski symbolises the highest mountains of all seven continents and is ready to face all challenges.
$1849 with FX12 RF bindings
L. 165,171,177,183cm D. 124-78-110mm The all new Peak series was designed to conquer the mountain both on and off the groomed.
$999 with Nova bindings
9. Dynafit Mustagh Ata
L. 169, 178cm D. 118-88-110mm This ski will carry you up the mountain like you were flying and is ideal for steep and deep adventures down the planet’s dream descents. $1050 ski only
12. Fischer Watea 84
L. 167, 176, 184cm D. 126-84-112mm Astonishing performance! Never before has a ski this lightweight and snappy held on hard snow at high speeds so well. $1299 ski only
15. K2 Xplorer
L. 170, 177, 184cm D. 128-84-112mm An 84mm waist for soft snow performance. Progressive sidecut and metal laminate construction for laying trenches accross the corduroy. $1795 with MX12 bindings
16. K2 Raider
L. 156,163,170, 177cm D. 119-78-105mm A versatile ski built on the proven Recon chassis but in a torsion box construction for added ease all over the mountain. $1249 with M2 10 bindings
17. K2 Lotta Luv
L. 149,156,163cm D. 125-82-110mm Designed for a whole lotta conditions! Added width underfoot with performance characteristics of a narrower ski due to a new ERS binding. $1595 with ERS 11 bindings
18. K2 Free Luv L. 142,149,156,163cm D. 120-76-104mm The perfect all-mountain tool for the advanced level skier seeking forgiveness without sacrificing response. A true all conditions ski. $1389 with ERP 10 bindings
19. Kingswood Skinny
L. 166,180cm D. 122-88-110mm (166) 131-92-116mm (180) This is as skinny as it gets at Kingswood. The skinny is comfortable on-piste, thrives in the park but is still unafraid of powder. $1250 ski only (166)
20. Nordica Hotrod Nitrous
L. 154,162,170,178cm D. 124-78-108mm Advanced all-mountain skiers will love the versatile Nitrous. Stable enough for groomers, but forgiving enough for powder or crud. $1799 with bindings
21. Nordica Drive XBi CT
L. 146,154,162,170,178cm D. 123-76-107mm For all mountain female skiers looking to challenge the entire mountain. The perfect support and versatility to handle anything she can throw at it.
22. Rossignol Zenith Z15
L. 160,170,180cm D. 128-85-112mm Choose your terrain with Mutix Technology. Expert skiers seeking the one-ski quiver that rips the groomers, and is effortless in powder and crud. $1999 with bindings
23. Rossignol Zenith Z10
25. Salomon Topaz
L. 144,152,160,168cm D. 120-75-103mm Stable, lively and light weight, the Topaz is ideal for women exploring every part of the mountain. $1399 with binding
26. Volkl Grizzly
28. Volkl AC 30
L. 156,163,170,177cm D. 124-80-107mm Industry benchmark in versatility, perfect for the confident skier who enjoys getting off trail when conditions are good. $1745 with iPT bindings
L. 162,170,176cm D. 127-75-108mm A high speed and agile ski with the versatility & stability of a freeride ski. Excels in both short & long radius turns.
L. 163,170,177,184cm D. 131-89-114mm State of the art power switch technology with a wide waist and deep sidecut. Has to be most versatile ski on the market.
29. Volkl AC 20
$1799 with bindings
$2295 with iPT WR binding
$1345 with 3 motion bindings
24. Salomon XW Storm
27. Volkl AC 50
30. Volkl Tierra
L. 160,168,176cm D. 120-76-104mm High performance All-Mountain ski on a 76mm platform. $1599 with binding
L. 163,170,177,184cm D. 128-85-112mm A New Zealand legend, skis anything, anywhere, anyway you want. Wide ride bindings enhance edge hold & smoothen the ride. $1945 with iPT WR bindings
L. 156,163,170,177cm D. 118-74-103mm Ideal ski for anyone looking to get over intermediate plateau, stable with deep sidecut, makes it easy.
L. 149, 156, 163,170cm D. 129-78-99mm For the woman who likes performance all over the mountain. Great on the piste but not afraid off trail either. $1695 with binding
$1399 with bindings
1. 4FRNT CRJ
L. 180,188cm D. 130-118-128mm Skiing revolutionary Cr Johnson has designed his ultimate weapon for progressive all mountain shrelp action. Nothing can stop us now. $1399 online special $1199
2. Armada T Hall
L. 163, 173, 179, 185cm D. 119/ 87/ 109mm Excellent control all over the mountain;freestyle shape, light weight and good edge grip. Spring Blade and inboard reinforced steel waist edges. A must have. $899 ski only
5. Head Black jack
$999 ski only
6. K2 Extreme
L. 155, 164, 175, 182 D. 110-82-110mm Style. More Style. Symmetrical flex and sidecut. Halfpipe. Zero Gravitation. Step Down Sidewall. Jibs. Transition. Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection. $1349 with FFG 12 bindings
4. Dynastar 6th Sense
L. 166,171,176,181cm D. 117/85/107mm Designed by the best for the best, Tanner Hall IS freestyle skiing and this is his tool of the trade. Armada’s T Hall is a proven winner in parks and pipes world wide.
3. Atomic Punx
L. 154,163,172,181cm D. 112-79-106mm Built for performance and durability in the park and on the rails. $1079 with Mojo 11 binding
L. 159,164,169,174, 179cm D. 118-85-109mm A versatile ski built on the proven Recon chassis but in a torsion box construction for added ease all over the mountain. $959 or $1499 w Schizo 12 bindings
7. K2 MissDemeanor
10. Line Celebrity
$959 ski only
$959 ski only
L. 154, 159,164cm D. 113-80-104mm The original women’s specific twin-tip! Supreme grip on hard snow and in the pipe with new ABSorb hybrid sidewall to sweeten hard landings.
8. Line Chronic Cryptonite L. 166,171cm D. 121-92-117mm As the sport progresses so do people’s appreciation for wider skis so here’s the original Chronic on a wider chassis enjoy $1059 ski only
9. Line Afterbang
L. 155,166,177cm D. 115-88-115mm NO core, no topsheet, no sidewalls… all replaced by a 7 ply Hard Rock Maple veneer deck… just like a skateboard. Download a catalogue at www.lineskis.com $899 ski only
L. 155,166cm D. 125-90-113mm Famous for its versatile, smooth feel a new metal matrix construction now adds a powerful, responsive attitude. You go girl!
11. Rossignol S4
14. Volkl Wall
$1099 ski only
$1045 ski only
L. 167,174,181cm D. 116-84-109mm An X Games Gold Medal winner. Rails, jumps, or super pipe the S4 is the ultimate park ski, designed by the best to perform at the top.
L. 161, 169, 177, 185cm D. 115-87-115mm The ultimate park and pipe weapon. Symmetrical sidecut, bulletproof woodcore construction and it rips all over the hill too!
12. Salomon Threat
L. 151,161,171,176cm D. 122-85-112mm The perfect ski for aspiring park and pipe riders who also want all terrain versatility. $899 ski only
13. Salomon Suspect
L. 151,161,171,176,181cm D. 122-86-115mm Performance in the park and pipe = Suspects Wide waist to ride the whole mountain with huge pop for take off. Sammy Carlson doesnâ€™t go anywhere else. $1099 ski only
1. Atomic Race ST
L. 149, 156, 163, 170cm D. 119-72-107mm Aggressive, Maximum control. High torsional rigidity. Precise tracking. Explosive power transmission. Quick from edge to edge. Shortest line.
4. Dynastar D-Stinct
L. 148,154,160,166,172,176cm D. 112-72-100mm Wide tip for easy turn initiation, kick tail for smooth turn exit. Good edge grip and stability, This ski will take you all the way from beginner to advanced.
7. Head i.Supershape Magnum L. 156, 163, 170, 177cm D. 121-71-107mm Perfect Ski for tearing down the mountain on. A legend thatâ€™s not only popular but works anywhere.
$1399 with XTO bindings
$799 with NX 10 bindings
$1799 with FF11 bindings
2. Dynastar Contact Groove
5. Dynastar Exclusive Active
8. Rossignol Zenith Z6.5
L. 160, 165, 172cm D. 118-66-102mm Precision and excellent edge grip on hardpack: Full length sidewalls with race slalom side cut. Exceptional value for money. $1399 with NX 12 bindings
3. Dynastar Contact 8
L. 152, 158, 165, 172cm D. 123-71-105mm This Piste performance ski is simple it combines the best ski design with excellent skiability. Discover the pleasures of the perfect carve. Advanced intermediate. $1099 with NX 11 bindings
L. 148, 153, 158cm D. 120/ 74/ 100mm Easy turning with nice wide tip for turn initiation and a mid wide waist for all-terrain control. Advance performance for the women that loves to ski. $999 with Fluid bindings
6. Dynastar Exclusive Sensation L. 143, 148, 153, 158cm D. 113/ 69/ 96mm This ski gives the intermediate women skier better balance and promotes better edge use and pressure. It will definitely lift your game and make your day better. $799 with Nova bindings
L. 154,162,170cm D. 126-72-100mm For intermediate to expert skiers who enjoy speed, versatility and stability on a variety of terrain.
L. 155,165,175cm D. 124-70-112mm No-holds-barred, Oversize technology produces the ultimate short-turn fall-line ripper. A powerful and highperformance ski. $1799 with bindings
10. Rossignol Attraxion VI
13. Volkl Fuego
$1549 with bindings
$1695 with iPT bindings
11. Volkl Tigershark 10Ft
L. 148,154,162cm D. 126-74-105mm If your wishlist includes making high speed turns on piste no matter what the conditions, this ski is for you!
L. 154,161,168,175cm D. 121-73-105mm The dynamic sidecut,wood core and iPT system make this ski quick & explosive yet smooth where ever you ski. $1945 with iPT bindings
$1599 with bindings
9. Rossignol Classic 70 Ti
12. Volkl Tigershark 8Ft
L. 154,161,168,175cm D. 115-69-100mm Narrow waist, woodcore, titanium= lively, fast and stable at speed. Perfect ski to rip up the trails on any mountain. $1745 with iPT bindings
L. 147,154,161,168cm D. 124-72-93mm A Tigershark 10ft made for women, lighter and faster to bring out the best in you anywhere on the mountain.
L. 86,110,130cm D. 95-70-87mm Kingswood believes kids deserve fat skis too. How else can they become little powder-loving grommets or keep up with Mum and Dad at the clubbies? Kingswoodâ€™s new Kids range is available this winter. $TBA
Having just bought yourself a shiny new pair of skis, you should know a little bit about looking after them. Here are some simple steps you should learn to do. Check your skis out and make sure you have not damaged them that day, this is something simple that you should do every time you use them. Look for holes in the base, dings on the edge, and any other damage to sidewalls or top sheet. Diagnosing problems early will be much cheaper and easier to repair. Tip: Carefully run your thumb down your edges to check for rough spots (burrs) For the more DIY orientated there are some basic things you can do in the garage at home, that will keep your skis running fast and turning well. You will need a way to firmly support your skis (a vice is best) and a couple of strong rubber bands to hold your brakes up. De-burr, the first tool for anyone’s kit should be a hard stone or diamond stone. This allows you to clean your edges of burrs making the edges consistently smooth. It also stops your iron catching when you are waxing. Pass the stone along the length of both side and base edge of the ski at a slight angle, cutting away any abrasions, like a sharp knife the edge needs to clean and smooth. Tip: always use stones wet. Waxing is for everyone not just for racers. It effects the ski’s predictability and durability as much as straight line speed. A waxed ski glides better, is easier to turn and the reduced friction means less wear on the base. You should wax after every 2-3 days skiing, in order to maintain a well nourished base. Hot waxing is a very simple process than anyone can do. You will require a flat base hot
Tip : Check out local op shops for old flat base irons with temperature dials, they are perfect for waxing skis and keep your plastic scraper sharp.
iron, a bar of ski wax, a plastic scraper and a brush or scotchbrite.
1. Crayon a thick layer of wax onto the base, this is cleaner and more economical than dripping .
2. Start to iron the base of your ski, always keeping the iron moving and continue to iron until the wax is all melted, leaving a 20 cm trail behind the iron, approx 2-3mins each ski. (NB. Iron should be around 110 -120degrees C, if it is smoking turn it down)
3. Leave the skis to cool for as long as possible, this let’s the base rest and absorb more wax improving the longevity of your wax job.
4. Using a sharp plastic scraper remove as much excess wax as possible, scraping in a tip to tail direction.
5. Final step is to brush the base, removing any wax from the structure (fine grooves cut into the base to improve its glide) Dust off and tidy up. You are now ready to go skiing.
The more manually dextrous can look at edging their own skis but they should seek advice and instruction from their local tune shop first. Modern skis have different bevels and until you’ve had a bit of practise edging, you could do more damage than good. Don’t be put off though, there is a great range of easy-to-use edging tools available at your ski shop. While you are there ask if they run tuning clinics, where they will show you how to use these tools, most good shops should. Finally, anything you do at home should be in addition to regular tune up’s at a ski shop. Their high tech machinery will return your skis as close to new as possible. Contrary to popular belief regular tuning will actually elongate your skis live rather than shorten it. Tip: always start and finish the season with a tune up from the shop.
4FRNT Padlock 11 $299 online special $199 Din 3-11. Product tested and product proven. As always the proof is in the pudding.
Marker Griffon $499 Din 4-12 . Perfect freeride binding, park or all mtn, wide ski design & bulletproof construction yet lightweight.
Salomon Z12 Ti $449 Din 4-12 . Perfect combination of high performance / light materials & sleek design. It’s a tight little package for advanced skiers wanting it all.
Scott Newcastle Ski pole $169.95 110 - 140cm. Leather Strap, special oversized tube, very durable, stands out, race tip and free ride basket
Dynafit TLT Vertical FT $860 The lightest and most responsive FreeRide-Touring binding on the market. Available with 92mm or 102mm brakes.
Marker Griffon Schizo $699 Din 4-12 . All new binding, that allows a 3cm adjustment forward or back in stance. Ski pow in the morning, park in the pm on same skis, different position.
Da Kine Poacher Pack $279.95 38 Litres. Vertical board carry, retractable ski carry ,shovel/snow tool carry + many more features. Adjustable aluminium stays. The ski guides choice. Big is good!
Da Kine Heli Pack $119.95 11 Litres. Vertical board carry, retractable ski carry and Shovel carry. Great for resort riding and back country missions.
Marker Baron $699 Din 4-12 . Duke’s little brother, same downhill performance and back country touring mode but lighter and less DIN.
Salomon STH 14 Driver $579 Din 6-14 . New super solid construction for the most progressive Freeskier. Developed by the international team.
Da Kine Fall line Double $169.95/$179.95 170 or 190cm. Fully padded, wheeled double ski bag. Exterior boot pockets. Go anywhere. Take everything.
Atomic Nuke 130 $999 130 flex. 98mm last. Alu buckles. ShocKilla Boot Board, Land softer. Park or Freeride.
Atomic Hawx 100 $899 100 flex. 100mm last. Energy spring. I-flex. Enhances natural foot movement. Magnesium buckles.
Atomic BTech 70 $799 90 flex. High volume fore foot. 104mm Square toe box. Easy step in/out. Alu buckles.
Atomic Hawx 90 w $849 90 flex. 100mm last. Thermic pre-wired. I-flex. Enhances natural foot movement. Magnesium buckles.
Atomic BTech 70 w $649 70 flex. High volume fore foot. 104mm Square toe box. Easy step in/out. Thermic prewired. Alu buckles..
Dalbello Krypton Rampage $859 Cabrio three piece design provides precise foothold with smooth progressive flex..bye bye shin bang!
Dalbello Krypton Lotus $859 Cabrio three piece technology and Kinetic Response Tongue provide the ultimate foothold and responsiveness.
Full Tilt Hot Dogger $999 From podiums to video segments this is the high performance freestyle boot of choice. Newschoolers apply here!!
Full Tilt Bumble Bee Pro $959 From the colours that fuelled its name, to the pros that kept it on the podium worldwide this boot is a living legend.
Head Edge 11 $799 The legendary fit and performance have made the Edge boots one of the biggest selling boots in the world.
Head Edge 10 L $699 Boots made by women for women, built to a women specific calf and women specific flex index.
Lange Banshee Pro $1199 98mm last with lots of features to meet the need any big mountain free rider, includes â€˜Vibramâ€? sole elements.
Lange Fluid 80 Freeride $699 100mm last. with new 3D liner from giving superb comfort and performance & loads of extra features.
Lange Exclusive 80 $699 Specific last for women, 99mm for precise fit. Plus superior insulation using a quilted goose down liner.
Lange Venus 75 $549 The aim of this boot is warmth and comfort with the right amount of support and control. 103mm last.
A freeride/freeski boot with all the features to keep you skiing hard all day. no matter how you attack the hill.
Nordica Speedmachine 8 $899 100mm last. This boot suits the all mountain skier looking for comfort and control, not to mention style!
Nordica Speedmachine 10 $649 New for 2009! The Natural Foot Stance (NFS)enhances comfort allowing your feet to be in a more neutral position.
Salomon Ghost $1099 High-performance freeride boot developed over 2 years with Salomon’s International team of Freeskiing pros.
Salomon Falcon CS $999 Custom Shell Technology allows the simplest and most precise bootfitting for improved on-snow performance.
Salomon Impact 8 $899 Comfort and performance for advanced skiers: Spaceframe profile offers lightness and foot envelopment.
Salomon Kreation $699 Freestyle specifics and light construction for park style, low density liner and heel cushioning systems.
Salomon Divine CF $749 Performance women’s boot with Biovent Liner to keep feet warm and dry. You will never regret this boot.
Tecnica Dragon 110 $999 All New Dragon boot, 100mm wide, 110 flex more relaxed upright stance giving superior power to the edge.
Tecnica Agent 110 $999 Freeride inspired Dragon boot with full contact shock absorbing system & new 45mm power strap for a smoother ride.
Tecnica Attiva Dragon 100 $999 Anatomically designed for women, narrower and warmer with all the amazing features of new dragon range.
Tecnica Agent 80 $488 Excellent, softer flexing freeride boot for the up-and-coming skier. All mountain or park at a great price.
Nordica Supercharger Spark $999
TOURING BOOTS Black Diamond Factor AT $1199 The stiffest freeride boot in the BD line, the Factor is the ultimate combination of backcountry and alpine boots.
Scarpa Spirit 4 $1099 Scarpa’s most popular boot, perfect blend of modern free ride and classic touring. Available in Women’s Diva.
Scarpa Typhoon $1099 Hard-charging fall line descents? A ‘no compromise’ Free Ride touring boot. Available in Women’s Domina.
Dynafit Zzero4 TF $1030 Offers top performance and is the lightest 4-buckle touring boot in the world. Supplied with a Thermoflex liner.
Scarpa Tornado Pro $999 You will appreciate its control qualities on packed snow and its lightness while climbing or skiing off piste.
Dynafit Zzeus TF $1040 Features the downhill performance of an alpine boot but with the lightness and articulation of a touring boot.
Scarpa T1 Pro Thermo $1099 Tele boot with the best features for downhill situations & the freedom to head backcountry. Available in T1 Lady.
Soho Jacket S-XL $349
10k/10k waterproof/breathable,detachable hood, asymmetric main zip, arm pit zips, powder skirt, music pocket.
Crown Pant 09 S-XL $269
10,000mm waterproofing / 10,000gm breathability, fully seam sealed loose fit style Pant, 4 x leg vent zips.
Buckhorn Jacket XS-XXL $439.95
Flattering fit, Helly Tech Protection 10,000mm, removable hood, pit zip venting, powder skirt, hem draw cord adjustment.
Asima Pant S-XL $279
Flattering and stylish lines. Plenty of pockets to stash your essentials, Helly tech (10,000mm) for protection and durablilty.
La Grave Jacket S-XL $999
GORE-TEX® softshell, alpine inspired design = the ultimate ski jacket. Removable hood, zipoff powder skirt, 100% seam taped.
Cargo Pant S-XXL $349
Roomy enough for the park,tough enough for wet weather. Generous pockets, zip vents, waterproof/breathable MemBrain®.
Ignition Jacket XS-XL $549
Breathable, waterproof and super warm. Great for trips to town plus integrated powderskirt makes it perfect for the snow.
Chamonix Pant XS-XL $349
Flattering lines and a fit made for shredding,untracked powder or groomed trails. Membrain® fabric, 100% seam taped.
Te Ana Jacket 8-14 $349
10k/10k waterproof/breathable, magnetic asymmetric storm flap, napoleon pocket with goggle wipe and underarm zip vents.
Jasmine Pant 8-14 $269
Zeta Jacket S-XXL $409
Go to shell jacket, 2 layer waterproof breathable Helly Tech protection. Snap-away stretch powder skirt & pit zip venting.
Agenda Pant S-XXL $299
10,000mm waterproofing / 10,000gm breathability, fully seam sealed internal cinch system style pant, zipped side leg vents.
Helly Tech protection (10,000mm), insulation in the seat and knees, jacket pant interface for snow seal, leg vents.
Velocity Jacket S-XL $605
Helly Tech fabric (10,000mm), water resistant zips, removable hood, powder skirt, goggle wipe, pit zips and much more.
Transfer Pant S-XL $269
10,000mm waterproofing / 10,000gm breathability, fully seam sealed loose fit style Pant, 4 x Leg Vent Zips.
Mountain Down Jacket S-XXL $549
Lightweight, waterproof and incredibly warm for cold weather comfort. 650+ fill goose down, powderskirt, zip off hood.
Cargo Pant S-XXL $349
Roomy enough for the park,tough enough for wet weather. Generous pockets, zip vents, waterproof/breathable MemBrain®.
Sunset Jacket S-XL - $545
Waterproof Helly Tech protection (10,000mm). Gold satin lining, pit zips, powder skirt, goggle & audio pockets.
Vega Pant S-XL $265
Helly Tech construction (10,000mm) and extra insulation to keep legs warm and dry. Stretch boot gaiters & reinforced hem.
Traverse Componet Jacket X S-XL $549 MemBrain® shell fabric, with removable quilted vest liner, makes it a reliably cozy system for skiing in any kind of weather.
Chamonix Pant XS-XL $349
Flattering lines and a fit made for shredding,untracked powder or groomed trails. Membrain® fabric, 100% seam taped.
Fort Jacket S-XL $315
3-n-1 compatible, 5K waterproof, 5K breathable, taped seams,removable hood, lift pass & goggle/phone/media pockets.
Airlift Pant S-XL $430
10k waterproof /10k breathable, fully taped seams, thinsulate insulation, thigh vents,front back & thigh pockets, Loose fit.
Istodis Tiestripe Jacket S-XL $379.99
Baggy fit, 120g/80g Polyfil Insulated with zip off suspension storm skirt and Recco system, keeping you safe and warm.
Gridlock Tapes Pant S-XL $279.99
A Proven performer, the Gridlock Pant is a favourite. Cargo pant style and loose fit. 10k/10k with fleece lined seat and knee.
The North Face
Free Thinker II Jacket S-XL $1199.95
Our most innovative & technical waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex pro shell, designed to be a highly durable with progressive styling.
Free Thinker Pant S-XXL $799.95
Premier waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex performance shell pants built to withstand the roughest mountain days.
Recon Lite Jacket XS-XL $295
3 n 1 compatible shell, 5k waterproof/5k breathable, critically taped seams, air vents, goggle/phone/media pocket, powder skirt.
Baseline Pant XS-XL $180
Shell pant,5k waterproof/5k breathability, critically taped Seams, adjustable waist tabs, thigh pockets, regular fit.
Urban Avery Jacket S-XL $359.99
Sherpa lined jacket with fleece hand warmer pockets and inner media pocket. 10K/10k Avery Plaid Twill and suspension storm skirt.
Cascade Avery Pant S-XL $249.99
Street style translated for snow. 10k/10k Twill with denim style pockets and four hole brass buttons. Web belt included.
The North Face
Fembot Jacket XS-XL $749.95
Insulated waterproof, breathable jean jacket for snowsports action. Fully seam sealed and Recco avalanche rescue reflector.
Freedom insulated Pant XS-XL $329.95
Low-rise, high performance, contemporary boot cut, waterproof construction and highly efficient insulation.
Kingston Jacket S-XXL
20.20 waterproof, breathable ,pit zips, media pocket, mesh goggle pocket with chamois wipe, powder skirt, 100% seam sealed.
Punisher Pant S-XXL
20.20 waterproof, breathable, mesh lined venting, adjustable waist, seam sealed, 4 external hand/cargo pockets, relaxed fit.
Foxtrot Stripe Jacket S-XL $299.99
Military styling with three colour stripe. 5k/8k Oxford fabric with fleece lining. Mesh backed pit zips so you can let off steam.
Achilles Pinzip Pant S-XL $229.99
Kendra Jacket 8-16
Black flock 20.20 waterproof, breathable jacket, 50% down fill, pit zips, powder skirt. Detachable hood, media pocket.
Abigail Pant 8-16
20.20 waterproof,breathable shell, 50g insulation,100% seam sealed, adjustable waist tabs,mesh lined venting, relaxed fit.
Infinity Flannel Jacket S-XL $379.99
Limited edition cozy flannel in a peacoat for the 21st century. 10k/10k flannel with 120g/80g poly-fill insulation. Satin lining.
Cascade Twill Pant S-XL $269.99
Battle tested and worthy with pinzips for style. 5k/8k Twill fabric in a baggy fit. ThermaGrid fleece seat and knees.
Limited edition (individually numbered) 10k/10k brushed twill. Classy urban look, from the mountain to the bar.
The North Face
The North Face
Decagon Jacket S-XL $499.95
Versatility, comfort and waterproof breathability make this a top shelf pick for powder days.
Freedom insulated Pant S-XXL $329.95
Free-fitting, high performance pants with waterproof and breathable construction and highly efficient insulation.
Amore Jacket S-XL $599.95
Exceptional performance, down infused with the right amount of fashion flare. Waterproof, breathable and adjustable.
Xena II Pant XS-XL $449.95
Waterproof, breathable, free-fitting pants with bonus insulation in the seat & knees. Fully seam sealed and very adjustable.
Smith Variant Brim $299.99/$369.99 with Skullcandy Audio. The award winning Variant Brim showcases Smith’s helmet technology in its finest form. Hybrid shell construction finished in distinctive style.
Smith Intrigue $249.99/$319.99 with Skullcandy Audio. Smooth flowing lines and elegant finishing details compliment the Intrigue’s low profile hybrid shell construction and fully featured design.
Smith Maze $199.99/$269.99 with Skullcandy Audio. The Maze is the new go-to. Clean, modern, minimalistic design all molded into the world’s lightest certified snow helmet.
Smith Holt $169.99/$229.99 with Skullcandy Audio. From the stake park to the terrain park the Holt has you covered with smooth style and year-round convertible pad kit.
Bolle Nova $99.00 Toucan with Vermillon Gun lens Flow-tech® venting, double layer face foam, perfect helmet fit, P80 anti fog lens, anti scratch coating.
Bolle Quaser $220.00 Blue Dragonfly with Aurora lens Flow-tech® & spherical lens, triple layer face foam, perfect helmet fit, P80 anti fog lens, anti scratch coating.
Bolle Quaser $199.00 Black Psychedelic / Vermillion Gun lens Flow-tech® & spherical lens, triple layer face foam, perfect helmet fit, P80 anti fog lens, anti scratch coating.
Bolle Fathom $199.00 Lime Digital with Vermillon Gun lens. Flow-tech® & spherical lens, triple layer face foam, perfect helmet fit, P80 anti fog lens, anti scratch coating.
Bolle Fathom $220.00 Fathom Red /Psychedelic Fire Orange lens. Flow-tech® & spherical lens, triple layer face foam, perfect helmet fit, P80 anti fog lens, anti scratch coating.
Bolle Simmer $165.00 Pink X with Vermillon Gun lens. Flow-tech® & spherical lens, triple layer face foam, perfect helmet fit, P80 anti fog lens, anti scratch coating.
Oakley Crowbar $309.95 JP Auclair signature series No fogging.No visual distortion. No sweat build-up. No itching. No wonder its is the choice of leading winter sports athletes.
Oakley Crowbar $284.95 Tanner Hall signature series No fogging.No visual distortion. No sweat build-up. No itching. No wonder its is the choice of leading winter sports athletes.
Scott Abigail $249.99 Helmet Compatible, Super Soft Face Foam, NoFog™ Anti-Fog Lens, 100% UVA/UVB/UVC Radiation Protection, Air Control System.
Scott Kingpin $189.99 Helmet Compatible, Super Soft Face Foam, NoFog™ Anti-Fog Lens, 100% UVA/UVB/UVC Radiation Protection, Air Control System.
Smith I/O $299.99/$329.99 Inspired by rimless fashion eyewear and driven by the need for interchangeable goggle technology. Second lens and hard case included.
Smith I/OS $299.99/$329.99 NEW. Updated lines and revolutionary outrigger locking mechanism of the all new I/OS bring rimless interchangeability to an even broader audience.
Smith Fuse $159.99/$219.99 Style and performance – it’s as important to see as to be seen! Ultrawide silicone backed strap for added retention over your beanie or helmet.
Smith Heiress $239.99/$299.99 Drawing inspiration from the graceful lines and minimalist designs in women’s fashion eyewear the Heiress sets the standard for women’s goggles. Da Kine Bronco $149.95 Gore-tex insert, fixed fleece liner. Low profile, short cuff, zip closure. Warm as toast. Great colour options.
Da Kine Mustang $129.95 Full Durafuse leather, fixed tricot liner. Zippered cuff closure. So soft your fingers will love you for it.
Da Kine Tahoe $79.95 Hipora waterproof insert, fluffy thermoloft insulation. Leather palm. Internal heat pack pocket. Looks hot, because it is hot!
Scott $69.99 4 way stretch Nash suede, silicon coated palm, short gauntlet, spectrum waterproof & breathable.
Da Kine Crossfire $65.95 Fixed Tricot liner, Weathershield shell fabric. Clarino Suede palm. Great colour options. Stylin’.
Da Kine Comet $129.95 Gore-tex insert, Durafuse leather palm, fleece liner, Low profile, short cuff = good looking warm hands. Too easy.
So often you see that cool skiers tee but you can never find it in a store. You know the one the rep guy is wearing or girl in the ski shop, the shop doesn’t sell but you wouldn’t mind it. Well we have the answer nzskier. com/store here you will find a select collection of skiers tee’s and among other limited edition cool stuff that you wouldn’t find at your local ski shop.
2meke Skiing Makes Me Happy
Buy this Tee and get the 2meke ski DVD free
Write a short story and win or simply buy it online
New Zealand Skier Our logo tee nuff said
I am a Skier Kingswood Skis
By Line Skis
The New Zealand made ski company
Ohau I love to ski Once you have skied Ohau you will want one to.
The Skiers Morph All proceeds go to the Free Ski Association New Zealand
We have come up with a couple of tee designs to kick things off for New Zealand Skier, the ‘logo tee’ and the ‘skiing makes happy tee’, but what we really want to see is other peoples design ideas. The best tee design will be printed in a limited edition run and sold on nzskier.com/shop of course the winner gets their own tee plus a couple of other treats.
Starts March 2010 Programme includes: • Pre-hospital Emergency Care • Avalanche Stage 1 • Rescue Tobaggans • Mountain Meterology • Snow Blasting • Chairlift Evacuation • Advanced Skiing/ Snowboarding • Basic Mountaineering Techniques This programme is recognised by the industry as providing suitable pre-employment training.
Help us improve New Zealand Skier, simply fill out this survey and go in to win one of four prizes shown here. Line skis, Smith Helmet, Oakley Goggles , Supermax Boot Warmers.
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3 perspectives on the new freeride world tour
Frenchman Aurelien Ducroz first broke on to the Freeskiing scene in 2004, taking third at the IFSA World Tour Whistler event. The young Chamonix skier, son of one of Chamonix’s most respected guides, first started in alpine racing, and then at 15 joined the French ski jumping team, going on to take two national championships. Ski jumping was followed by a lucrative stint as a snowboard stunt double for the movie Snowboarder. At 21, he switched back to skis and started competing in freeride competitions, seeing almost instant success. The following seasons saw him consistently on the podium, but during this same period the IFSA World Tour was on the wane, having lost its ability to attract the world’s best. The Verbier Xtreme emerged as the pinnacle event of the sport, and in 2008 expanded into what is known as the Freeride World Tour. Skiers and snowboarders, male and female, all compete for a tour prize pool of $250,000 US. The new tour has attracted the world’s best back to the competition stage, like Frenchman Seb Michaud, and Sweden’s Kaj Zackrisson and Sverre Liliequist, creating once again a World Champion that is truly respected as the best of the best by the ski community.
In 2008, the Freeride World Tour’s first year, Ducroz was the favourite, but it was X Games medallist and recent freeride crossover Henrik Windstedt that would take the inaugural title, leaving Ducroz with unfinished business. In 2009, I would watch the tour from my laptop. Could Ducroz place himself consistently on the podium, but at the same time push hard enough to win? With the three best results of four events accumulating to overall points, there would be no place for an off-day. Each FWT event has a waiting window of five to seven days to ensure perfect conditions. At the first event, the Nissan Adventure of Russia, this was needed thanks to the amount of snowfall, 1.5 metres at host resort Krasnaya Polyana, near the city of Sochi. This left skiers a lot of time for ‘training’: skiing endless face shots and pillow lines. While Russia is blessed with powder, it is still shackled by the old ways. Ducroz was moments away from riding the chairlift to compete on borrowed gear, when finally his skis arrived. He would go on to place second. I joined the tour at Squaw Valley as an invited judge. The venue for the event was the legendary Tram Face, which is a permanently-closed area overlooking the village of Squaw. Anyone caught skiing here is liable for a $3000 fine and possible jail time. On my arrival, I could see that the venue was not in good shape, with avalanche debris covering all the run-outs and rain in the forecast. A new venue was called upon, now with two days of proposed competition; however if the finals didn’t go ahead, the day one results would stand. Two things stand out in my mind from day one. Sweden’s Reine Barkered braking the mould that had many of the skiers hitting the same airs; his mind-boggling pin-point bottom air, performed with no hesitation, took the win. To understand this more, inspection of the venue is done by looking only, thus making the competition more like filming and closer to the pure freeride spirit of looking, hiking then riding. The other was women’s winner Elyse Saugstad of the USA, who skied a similar line to many of the guys, but who shredded it at such a pace everyone was left in awe and wondering what the boys had been doing. Ducroz would take third, skiing a comparable line to many, but with an inverted Lincoln loop off the top air above exposure, a move that would make the difference on the short ‘mini-golf’ venue. That night, Matthias Haunholder of Austria would tell me tales of the Kiwi’s demolition at St Moritz, commending not only their skiing, but their team unity as well. The following day it started to rain, which then turned to snow. It continued to snow, with over six feet in three days. Competitors and locals alike skied the bottomless powder, anxiously waiting to hear if the final day would run. The decision was made to cancel, and the tour up and left, leaving the mystical Tram Face untouched. Ducroz would go into the Tignes event as tour leader. A win here would give him a major advantage and a much-needed points buffer going into the final event, but it wouldn’t go his way as he crashed on his run. Kiwi Janina Kuzma would have her first FWT start, but would also come unstuck with a crash. The final stop, the Verbier Xtreme, is held on the massive Bec da Ross, with a summit of 3222 meters. All skiers have to hike to the competition start, and, in the men’s competition, six had a mathematical chance of becoming World Tour Champion. This year, the venue had the look of a bone garden, the supersteep pitch giving the competitors the feeling of looking directly down onto the spectators below. In the pressure-cooker world of competition, Ducroz would ski a run that walks the fine line of risking to win, but not so much as to falter, winning the prestigious Verbier Xtreme, and the ultimate prize of Freeride World Champion. – Hamish Acland
Reine Barkered PHOTO: SAM HALL
PHOTO: JANCSI HADIK
PHOTO: DOM DAHER
PHOTO: TERO REPO
In the Tourâ€™s first year, 2008, I competed in a couple of qualifying events, but it had not gone my way and I made little impact, staying outside the top 100 on the FWR. So with what experience I had, and on the advice of others, I created a plan for new the season. This would see me compete in five qualifying events with the goal of making it onto the Freeride World Tour. Teammate Janina Kuzma would also head to Europe to chase the new Tour points, while Fraser McDougall would embark upon his rookie season. While the Europeans travel in their own cars, often backed by large sponsors, us Kiwis have to make do with a lot less, especially with the Kiwi dollar not going very far. While there are trains, you can also wing it: flapping those tiny Kiwi wings as hard as you can, hitching rides, sleeping on couches, chasing storms and skiing copious amounts of powder whilst hunting podiums. And in 2009, Team NZ would flap harder than ever before.
Austria Janina, Fraser and I converged on Fieberbrunn in the Austrian Alps. With a beautiful chalet jammed full of skiers all amped for the first round, fresh snow and an aesthetic venue, it was all go. True to my season plan, I picked a fluid line with minimal risk. After a couple of Kiwi-style airs up top, I relaxed in and raced to the bottom, screaming with joy to be back after some hard times. After almost not being able to get a spot in the comp, some strings were pulled and Janina did not disappoint. She stormed onto the podium in 3rd, using her incredible strength in a technical line, showing all the experience she has gained competing in IFSA competitions. Leaving for Verbier, I nearly caused a highway pileup, getting news of my 5th in transit.
Chamonix In the birthplace of freeride, and despite an exceptionally strong field, I was somehow relaxed. I no longer felt like a pretender, and picked out my idea of a pure Cham line. It kicked off with a chute funneling me off a good-sized cliff, with some fast
turns taking me into an exposed area. Dropping down another cliff, I could not make the turn to line up my last air, racing past it to the finish line. Being able to watch premier athletes Seb Michaud and Aurelien Ducruz lay siege to the mountain with front- and back- flips off cliffs was jaw-dropping. To take 12th where it all began, and against such personally-inspiring skiers, increased my growing confidence even more.
St Moritz When Team NZ met up again, it was in St Moritz for the Engadin Snow, an invite-only freeride on the beautiful Mt Corvatsch. Hamish had hooked me up with a ride there from Volkl skier Lucas Swieykowski, who immediately became one of the crew, along with Seb Hannemann, from Germany. We awoke in our amazing, complimentary hotel to falling skies and three free meals a day, heaven for a Kiwi gypsy on a down day. Despite how things had been building, what came next was still a shock: the Kiwi crew blew all the others away, absolutely dominating, each in their own style. Fraser, Lucas and Seb, fast and
Sam’s secret spot, Brusson, Switzerland PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
aggressive, and Janina and I, with more technical runs, all landed on the podium, Fraser and Janina with major victories, Seb Hannemann 2nd, and Lucas Swieykowski and I in 3rd equal. It was unbelievable. That night we celebrated in true Kiwi style, Team NZ running on high!
Monterosa The relaxed Italian surroundings seemed an odd place for the tactics to come out. I had moved up in the rankings and knew a good result here would go a long way towards my goal. In shockingly icy conditions I barely squeaked into the heliaccessed final, but Fraser was unlucky, just missing the cut despite a large bottom air. Janina shone again, seeming to have no problems with the conditions and dominating from start to finish. With her trademark powerful style, she stomped every obstacle in her path to claim her 2nd major European victory. Romping down the face with consecutive airs, I reigned it in before my final one; to my despair, I landed short and flipped over the front of my skis. I still managed 5th, but was hugely frustrated as I knew I had been on to another podium finish.
The Verbier Sessions After three trips to Verbier, I had built up a solid knowledge of its mountains and local heroes. So
when Fraser and I rolled in, greeted by deep snow and a sunny day with legendary lensman Yves Garneau, it was time to launch. Fraser stepped up immediately, and the smiles grew as the hang time increased. After I barely walked away from my largest-ever cliff drop, Fraser lined up a classic in the Paradise Bowl for a backflip. The poor kid’s face couldn’t take the impact forced upon it by his knees, so the day was done and so, sadly, was Fraser’s epic rookie season.
Nendaz I was sitting 5th on the ranking and practically on home turf. I needed a good result to break the top four, it was an exciting time. I had one nagging doubt, my troubled left knee that had needed time off to properly prepare. Thus my excitement was dashed on my last landing, first run, along with my hopes of qualifying for the Tour. My knee had collapsed, sending me flipping down the slope. Janina continued her form, skiing amazingly on the dangerous Mount Gond. Second this time, she just missed gaining a spot in the legendary Verbier Xtreme, where only the very best are allowed to compete. While Janina had been competing in the FWT event, Freeride de Tignes, where she placed a super-solid 7th, the rules had changed. I now needed to be top 12 on the FWR, and with crashing
to 57th here in the final FWQ event, my goal for the season was out of reach.
The End Slash Beginning While I did not reach my FWT goal, I achieved many others and consider this my greatest season to date. I dropped my ranking considerably lower, to 30th, gained major podiums and, I hope, created enough waves on the European scene to make it onto teams here. Janina showed why she has done so well in North America, qualifying for an FWT event in Tignes, along with an FWQ and invite-only podium. She no doubt surprised many with her ability, but I don’t think they would be Kiwis. In Fraser’s painfully short time in Europe he achieved so much. From his destruction job of some of the world’s best at St Moritz, to throwing down for a privileged lens, he has created an amazing starting point for himself to push on from. In short, the young NZ team has arrived, and the international scene now knows what the many people who support us back home have been thinking for some time. We will all be back next season, hungrier than ever to take our unique brand of skiing as far as possible. NZ represent!
PHOTO: YVES GARNEAU
While most high school graduates head to university to answer the question, “Where do I belong in all of this,” I was doing the same thing while sitting in a bar in Austria. I was trying to compete in the Freeride World Tour; it was just a shame I was two years under the age limit and an unknown. However, that particular competition day turned out to be one of the best powder days of the trip, so it didn’t bother me too much. I was free to check out the mountain and found that it was true that the Europeans never go off piste. The rule of thumb is that anything not groomed is out of bounds – works well for us Kiwis, not having to go searching for the powder. My trip had started in Munich, Germany where we had attended one of the biggest trade shows in the world, ISPO. It’s a bit like science project day at school, where everyone presents their work at their own stations. The difference was that this was being done on a huge scale and the work in question might be a half-million-dollar ski machine. Even better, they served free beer and local food, so we were very happy to hang out. The thing with these trade shows is that they are very exclusive, but the parties are awesome. Volkl ran a free bar throughout the whole event and also had a shindig at the Four Seasons Hotel in the city centre. Very cool. Having done Germany and Austria, next were Switzerland and Italy. An unexpected turn of events meant that Team Kiwi (Sam Smoothy, Janina Kuzma and I) made it on the invitation list to the Stimorol Engadin snow competition in St Moritz. It was all expenses paid, and in a place like that it needs to be. St Moritz is known mostly for two things: good skiing and being beyond the budget of the average backpacker. On competition day, we had to abseil down from a cable car and walk up a ridge to get to the start position. There, I got a feel for how tense it was, with
all the skiers focused on their run. When it came to my start number, I stood at the top and pushed off. I skied the run exactly how I wanted, and met up with Sam at the bottom. I’d completed my first overseas event. I immediately skied to the café and spent my food voucher on the best beer I could find and went to watch the rest of the competitors. I was just about to finish my vessel when the announcers called out the people in the heli-final (the top three skiers and snowboarders), and I was one of them. The conditions meant that we didn’t have the final, but initially I was shocked. I was in the top three. It was even more of a shock when they called out the results. Team Kiwi all made the podium. Sam in 3rd place, and Janina and I in 1st; it was pretty good to know that the rookie made it to the top. Italy was next. If there was anything I learnt about the Italians, it’s that they aren’t as safety conscious as most people. We stayed at this crazy hotel called the Moderno that made the best pizzas. The competition was held at Monte Rosa resort in Gressoney in pretty mediocre conditions, but it was this event that I had travelled so far to compete in. I didn’t gain a placing, but was 0.05 points off getting in to the finals. It was great nonetheless and I got a taste of what the Tour is about. What I learnt about competing in Europe is that you have to stick your foot in the door and make as many contacts as you can to get you entry into competitions. It is a fight to gain entry to the big events, and you have to work at it all the time. New Zealand results don’t matter too much in a country where the pros are held in such high esteem. Skiers are celebrities in their hometowns, and get news coverage all over Europe. It is a completely different culture, a place where everyone loves all things skiing, and where the competition is fierce.
PHOTO: ALEX FRUEHSAME
You hear it sometimes, the whispers of people tiring of the same run, of getting bored with skiing, like they have done it all. To be a skier you need to explore all dimensions of the sport, early season, powder, ice, dress-up, pea soup, rain, 80’s hot-dogging and New Zealand’s favourite… tussock skiing.
Tussock Skiing New Zealand offers some of the world’s finest tussock skiing. Found at only a few resorts with the necessary rainfall and soil depth, it’s an often over looked and misunderstood form of skiing. Once one finds the key to skiing tussocks, it will unlock a whole new dimension. In the retreating snow of spring, tussocks will line the ridges leaving snow stranded and creating the need for ‘speed tussock skipping’ and the more technical move of jumping the entire tussock ridge. In the competition form, skiers progress to ‘bouncing’, where one aims to ski the least amount of snow possible down an entire run.
Dress up days Olympus ski area has a dress up box for this exact reason, to enhance your ski day or party night. You can ski the land of the gods in a fairy dress or an Egyptian robe, the funkier the better. Whistler hosts an official ‘gaper’ day which sees the final day of the season skied in outlandish suits all over the mountain in honour of the ‘gaper’. April 1st is now “Saucer Boy Day” in memory of the late Shane McConkey. Look out for saucer and snow blade action across the world.
Ski naked A new movement is spreading throughout the ski world. It first started in the Scandinavian countries and has slowly been moving south. ‘Ski streaking’ is become a hot act for spring skiers, a righteous path if you will. Kiwi skier ‘Kempster’ of Methven has pronounced it as ‘the next big thing’. In this case we would suggest nothing would be big.
PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
Bad weather is good weather Ever wondered how people can still be having fun skiing whilst you are sipping your latte from inside the café and they are out in the bleak and hopeless looking conditions? They aren’t braving the cold, in fact they are probably warm and dry having simply dressed with functional first layers, like merino, and an outer shell that is waterproof.
Hipsters dress for fun, not function It is all complete marketing hype that you need technical ski pants; people of New Zealand harden the orange up! Skiing in jeans or cords is the new GoreTex; beware of impostor outerwear that looks like a suit but is actually some new fandangled fabric. It gives the hardy a bad name. Remember its okay to take an hour to choose which outfit to wear but just don’t make it look like you care, that is so ‘07.
Make it a celebration Take one ski area car park, free of charge. Bring your free fold out chairs, thanks to the veterinary drench company. Wear a homespun jersey, skivvy or tight, stretch, blue ski pants. Bring a wicker basket with thermos’ containing sausages, hot water, soup and condiments, Milo, bread, butter and sauce. Let the kids go back to skiing for the afternoon with mini-moros in their pockets. Sit back, relax and enjoy a whisky or maybe a cup of mountain thunder all warmed up, while you talk about the good old days back in ‘87 or was that ’97... I mean 2007.
Ski solo There is nothing more liberating than leaving behind all others and skiing solo. Be selfish, this is your time, ski fast and for ‘yourself’ only. The singles queue is shorter and there will be no need to wait at the top to democratically decide on which run to ski.
PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN
Mark Von Roy
PHOTO: KENZIE MORRIS
PHOTO: PATRICK FALLON
RECESSION BEATING IDEAS
We have all heard the discussions about the slowing economy and we are all affected, but none of us here want to ski less. So here are a few solutions that we came up with. In short we see this time as an opportunity to ski more. If you are going to go skiing then make it the full experience.
I was recently told a good yarn by a young Argentine lad, about living and working in arguably the ritziest ski resort in the world, St Moritz. He told me of the lack of affordable accommodation, the endless couch surfing, of sleeping on floors and under stairwells that he had done for the first three months of the season. For income he did some cleaning once a month and was also privately ski guiding. One of his clients included a middled aged German businessman who he had instructed the year before through the ski-school.
Make skiing a ‘need’ You know how your partner ‘has’ to go to the gym? They are training, which for some reason makes it a necessity. So as a skier you need to change some terms to make skiing a necessity. Instead of saying ‘I am going skiing’, which sounds fun and means it can be sacrificed, say ‘I am going training’. Automatically it sounds like a chore and you have to do it. You can also add that powder days are more effective training with double the return for your efforts. Happy skiing, I mean training.
M-R-T-A-A-W-J-D-I-A Save dollars and quit the gym program by adding ‘Mountain Resistance Training At Altitude With A Just Do It Attitude’. Which for the uneducated is hiking to the top of the mountain and skiing down, just without the buff gym guys checking you and themselves out.
Skip the resort Simply wait for the weather expert Toni Marsh to call snow to low levels and set chase. Find a farmer with a hill or try for car tows. Overseas you can take this to the next level, with road runs up passes or even skiing downtown…
The client had never really skied off-piste but the young guide introduced him to powder. He originally struggled in the fluffy stuff but after some convincing he tried the guide’s fat skis and went from a struggling middle-aged businessman to a skier falling in love with the sensation of the white room. He now comes to St Moritz skiing nearly every weekend, and it was on one of these love-filled powder skiing days that he heard of the plight that the guide was having with accommodation. The newly loved up skier leased two apartments for himself and his family to use during the holidays and weekends, however one of these wasn’t getting used. In appreciation of his new found love, he offered the second apartment to the guide. The young Argentine lived the rest of the season in a two-bedroom luxury apartment with his friend in the centre of St Moritz, at no cost, thanks to sharing his love of skiing powder.
Escape the rat race It has become apparent that the young aren’t staying around in London to be miserable once they have lost their jobs, they are moving to ski towns. Why be poor in a city when you can be poor and go skiing?
y at Neil had his grounding in skiing with his famil to hikes half a and hour those field, ski bert Mt.Ro any up en tough g the hut and club field style skiin elds young skier. He still chooses to ski at the clubfi r foste they ves belie he as , rbury around cante just freeskiing in its true form, no pistes or parks on mark his make natural terrain. Neil started to at place 6th ssive impre an the scene last year with at comp Chill the of 1 Day on 4th and Freeski open ern Craigieburn. Over Summer Neil went for a north IFSA first his in eted winter in Lake Tahoe. He comp world tour qualifier, roadtripped through Utah, ed the Colorado, Wyoming and Montana and finish lines ous infam y’s Valle w Squa of some g skiin trip day. er powd with Sam Hall, on a blue bird in NZ last season, how You had a couple of great comp results here did you go in the states? to IFSA Qualifier in Ha, did’nt go that well in the US. Scored an entry air and miss the first my Telluride Colorado, but was gutted to crash was the Bridger to it made I comp other only The heli accessed final. s and came a judge the ss impre Gully Freeride in Montana but didnt 19th. g disappointin your roadie in the US? Where was the favourite place you skied on foot of Utah pow at a ski to got I ide Tellur from On the way back Wyoming was sick in Hole on Snowbird, was soooooo good. Jacks . really all it loved Bowl. er Bridg too, as was family? Do you still get a chance to go skiing with your at Arthur’s Pass clan the with nd weeke a spent I For sure. Last year my sister and man old the and scored a 25cm day at Porters, got the top of to flew we that before Year skis. fat big ripping on some rad as pretty is which g tourin ski the Tasman Glacier for 5 days of 60’s. their in both are ts my paren rce Engineering As a bit of a hippy, who’s studying Natural Resou NZ. in try indus ski the on take your whats especially in NZ The ski industry is completely unsustainable, times battle with that some I tain, moun the to drives ne where everyo h, everyone has to thoug that solve morally. There is no easy way to to the mountain, closer live cars, hybrid pool, car can; they do what . more backcountry, it all helps PHOTO: SAM HALL
Name: Neil Williman Age: 23 Sponsors: Gnomes Snowsports, Armada Skis, Surfanic Outerwear Home town: Blenheim ‘Boomtown’
Any Shout outs? the mountains My family; Brin, Jo and Kate for getting me into my ski buddy, being for Lyons ie Charl there. stay me g and helpin Hamish from and Jase fun. mush Si Reeves for making skiing too Surfanic. The club fields from Adam and es Gnom from Ally da, Arma work, true NZ culture, members who keep them going by volunteer been stoked with me ng, hitchi up me picked has that ne everyo and let me sleep on or ift chairl the on yarn a on a powder day, spun their couch.
Careers in Adventure. • Ski/Snowboard Instructor Certiﬁcates (NZSIA/SBINZ Qualiﬁcations) • Avalanche Safety Certiﬁcates Stages 1 and 2 • Diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management (Level 5) Year Two OR
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PHOTO: TOMMY PYATT
do you love about You have grown up as an Ohakune kid what the place? is heaps to do if you want I love that it’s still a small town and that there of time spent with heaps and days to. Summers are fun, its warm, long many of the same so see you round rolls r winte When s. all my friend around, most of the time. faces coming back and it’s a good vibe to be
Name: Tommy Campbell Age: 18 Sponsors: Salomon Top Results: 1st Mt Ruapehu Big Air and Slopestyle 2008, 1st Jib Nationals 2007
r day, spring and in Favorite spots to ski at Ruapehu on a powde white out? r chutes or out west on Definitely trying to get first tracks, in the glacie s slush-time which mean time, Spring n. beate be can’t day r a powde be at home asleep for and try will I out, white a in means park time. And work the next night. Have you skied overseas? it was mind blowing I went to Mammoth for 8 weeks last year and day, California every parks ct having only skied on Ruapehu. Perfe back this year come to had I it. with s come that rest the sunshine and as possible. cheap as lived and could I for 7 weeks, I skied as much as oth family for Mamm my all to s thank big me, aweso was n This seaso putting me up and helping make it happen
gnarliest mountains When you grow up at the base of one of the scene in a big way. snow the in ed ning involv get in NZ, it is hard not to be pretty fun. Do you enjoy the aspect of desig first racing and Driving cats must g; skiin up n grow has une, Ohak of bell, Tom Camp big jumps? into freeskiing. Having it! I love the then naturally progressing into skiing more my first year driving cats last winter and loved lead to a natural Yeah, I had going to be seen a father as head of grooming at Turoa also has building innovative, wow factor jumps that are of idea er driver. ’t built anything big, but my progression of Tom taking to working as a groom in the magazines and movies. So far I haven both are skills time will come. Now it seems Tom’s skiing and jump building starting to come into their own.
If you build it do you then guinea pig it first? I will be guinea pigging I think that’s a pretty fair way to go by. If I know my skiing will have to ise otherw point, it, it means my build has to be on point. be really on
www.wildernessheli.co.nz ph 03 435 1834 email@example.com Professionally guided by Alpine Guides since 1995. Sole rights of access to operate in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Terrain for all abilities and the stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps great peaks. â€˜Nobody else gets you into the big mountains.â€™ Geoff Small, professional skier and undercover heli guide. Image:Rob Lile
PHOTO: TOMMY PYATT
Who do you look up to in skiing? , like Charles Gagnier Anybody who is innovative and motivated really with his prezel air.
Name: Cal Ernst Runnerstrum Age: 17 Sponsors: Orage, Atomic, Halfpast Streetwear
What are your plans for this winter? disappointing and I hope I am moving to Wanaka again which is never with some friends. edits video ays’ Tuesd ‘tight good to put out some
for 3 years, and Cal is a skiing anomaly. He has been skiing is boundless ivity creat his ess, rthel Neve rs. indoo learnt to ski with, and ride to fun r and his skills are mind-blowing. He is supe g with Oozin say. to weird or always has something interesting going is dude this tial, poten ing bang unique steeze and to leave his mark on the skiing world. – Interview by Mark Von Roy
most in Wanaka? And what part of your skiing will you focus on I need to do in skiing. what know I think I man, I just have this vision ing. Kind of just do board skate Just take it in a different direction, like . the unthinkable all those things that Yeah I think I know what you mean. Just doing skis. on doing about think never e peopl knuckle and wrong way Exactly man, wrong way hand drags over the nose butter 270s. Definitely more handplant combos. I’m talking – put your Definitely, I mean you have hands so why not. hill. the down tand hands and hands in your boots you like to see skiing Haha, That would be incredible, so where would progress in general? different and fresh I would like to see everybody doing something the park, the groomed in it’s if r whatever that may be, it doesn’t matte so many tricks that are There y. ountr backc the in or , mellow slopes haven’t been done yet. hts. Share with me some of your enlightened thoug the use of time. For been has Something I’ve been thinking about lately right outside park to try we t marke super the to go we example, when the car park of front the to g drivin the shop, when really the time spent to park there and there trying is ody everyb se becau r longe takes actually just park further back and are less parks. So really it would be faster to like that in perspective. things put you when funny It’s door. the to walk race? a But then again it’s not really
4 RUNS CLASSIC
6 RUNS MAX VERT
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PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN
Name: Tom Brownlee Age: 17 Sponsors: Stickydatepudding.co.nz 4Frnt Skis, Dr Zipe goggles Home Hill: Mt Olympus Playground Of The Gods Top Results: 10th NZ Open Big Mountain a true clubbie Tom Brownlee represents the club fields like an old school ng rocki was he nals should, at the Junior Natio stole from bly proba he that 80’s late the from Olympus jacket usly loves obvio he his dad. His skiing also ozzes club-field life, at home more usly obvio is skiing, while the kid can ski park he which goat tain moun a like s chute g dropping cliffs and skiin is exactly where he is seeing success.
up skiing? Where are you from and where have you grown Rakaia river not far I’m from a farm, we live in Canterbury on the righteous field named a at skiing up grown from the mountains, I’ve Mt Olympus. nutcracker tows? Have you skied much park or has it been all choice of place to ski, my be s alway will ckers nutcra the well Haha much good there I’m say can’t park, of but I have dabbled in a bit I’ve actually just came er! howev ve impro to best my doing h, thoug with some of the NZ back from a park camp in Keystone, Colorado, Jillings! He helped Marty Development Team and the righteous coach ve! impro to g lookin s alway but park me a lot with my skied overseas a bit. You have a mad keen family of skiers, and have rite? favou your been Where has and Dad were brought up Yeah I do, my family has always skied, Mum nce. Dad (Bill Brownlee influe big a been that’s so skiing club fields too, for ski racing himself Team nt or Baz!) was actually in the NZ Developme at Kerystone. over camp g trainin a did also and age when he was my White, Red Big , Horse g Kickin We’ve skied at a few places though, and the Aspen fields. e enridg Breck one, Keyst Hole, on Jacks Mountain, the cake though – those Jackson Hole and Kicking Horse definitely take ! gnarly are fields that? Last season was your first NZ Open how was well and got a good skied I like felt I sick! was Open NZ Last seasons us at the top of nervo pretty was I result from it, which was sweet. big boys but that’s the with comp e intens first my being e the cours to be skiing well, come expected! Just hoping for some good snow and Open. NZ year’s this
With Jossi Wells
PHOTO: TIM PIERCE
SWITCH 270 TO RAIL Spinning switch on to rail is fundamentally the same as on a small jump, pop, spin, look and land. For this trick you will want to have switch on to rails dialed and then it is just a matter of adding some extra pop and spin to make switch 270 to rail.
1. First find a flat bar rail that you are comfortable with ‘switch on’.
2. Next write your name on the jump to claim your territory.
3. As you come to the top of the jump you
are going to think about doing a full 270 with your shoulders to make sure you land all squared up, shoulders first then skis.
4. Now pop and set the 270 with eyes looking to the rail.
5. Landing on the rail absorb with your legs.
6. The whole time you should be looking
right at the end of the rail, this will help you slide right to the end.
7. When you come off the end just turn your
shoulders the rest of the 90º, bend your knees and absorb the landing. The key with landing is to make it look like you never left the snow. Don’t ”Afterbang” but the less you can move your arms around the better! This is a great trick to have in your bag and can be used in a lot of combo’s as you progress your rail trickery. Seeyah on the slopes
Jump on to nzskier.com to see the video of this trick and explanation.
THE ADVENTURES OF THE YELLOW BUS It’s 4.30pm as we roll out of the ski field car park. The crew skiing today obviously had a good time, all with big smiles and a lot of chat. There is a large amount of banter about a crash in the “fields of glory”, which I believe is just skier’s right of the Saddle Chair. The conversation soon turns to tomorrow, thanks to the 20cms that have already fallen, and the estimates of how much there will be by first thing tomorrow. By all accounts, tomorrow will be all time. We pull into town, abruptly stopping outside the ski-tune shop, parking on the yellow line. I must admit I do like a little bit of risk. Skis are dragged out for a repair; they belong to the guy who snagged the rock in the “fields of glory.” You’ve got to love it: hanging out, waiting for the crew, and some girls walk past and fully check me out. Then, totally cutting my lunch, the crew arrives and scares them off. Typical! Dropping them off, discussion turns to morning pick up times; first chairs are the goal, lateness won’t be tolerated. Back at the flat it’s an early night. I love the anticipation before a big powder day. Waking early, the stars are out, and I can hear someone in the kitchen. They have been up for an hour already, smells like bacon and eggs. The distinct sound of a txt message reverberates through the crisp air; I am guessing it’s someone replying to a “get your asses to the house pronto” text. The first of the powder-hungry crew arrive at the house and load their gear, and we’re off to pick up the rest on the way out of town. I love this road, the scenery is amazing and the corners are some of the best I have ever driven.
Leaving the tarmac for the gravel access road, the anticipation grows. This is where I come into my own, two-wheel-drive cars just don’t cut it here. Yeah, they may get up the hill. Try six winters, over 300 000 kms, now that’s what I am talking about. I strain under the load and am promptly slammed into first gear, ah super-slow first gear, one of my unique attributes, my rev counter is now hitting red as I speed up and get clunked into second. Mountain roads can be tough on me in my old age, but I love the workout and camaraderie that goes with it. The road starts to get slippery as we hit the snow line, and inside the cab the feeling is electric. The word is 40cms of fresh with no wind during the night. Suddenly, I am veered to the roadside, time for hubs in, yeah, I know, the new trucks do it with the flick of a switch, but they are like their owners, all shiny and with no character. 4WD time. I love it, yeah, it’s hard on me “dif”, but with a bit of snow it’s a smoother ride. As we round the final bend, the mountain comes into view in all its glory, shafts of light pierce through the cloud, the new snow glistens and a couple of tracks snake down the mountain thanks to patrol. I am suddenly interrupted by the constant changing of songs, till finally the last song is picked and blares through my doors. As we roll into the empty car park, a feeling of pride overwhelms me. My job is done. My crew jam boots on, grab skis, whoop with delight and take off to grab the first chairs, leaving me to talk to a hot-as “Legacy girl” who just pulled up. Damn, let’s make babies!
OUTTA HERE fashion, some never Tricks seem to come in and out of ety of forms or become return, others morph through a vari trick that has stood the the base of something new. One through multiple trick and test of time, since leather boots e for the forward mad s seem It evolutions is the back flip. ys gets massive cheers. facing sport of skiing and it alwa see a skier ripping down a This is especially true when you wonder, â€œWhat will they you run, they turn into a jump and ol-laid out backflip, biga s pop r do?â€?. Then bang, the skie ering. you can be sure the chairlift is holl Long live the backflip.
Matt Johnson, Remarkables PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN
Fraser McDougall NZ Team Rider
Photo: Alex Giesbrecht
Issue 91 of New Zealand Skier from Winter 2009