CHILL FEATURE: CRAIGIEBURN RANGE OPENS. FACE SHOTS A PLENTY.
By Oliver Hunt & Ben Hume.
Ollie and Ben are back writing for Chill in 2018. In this first feature for the season they make the most of a cracker start to the season in the Craigieburns.
Ollie: Broken River’s opening day on the 30th June provided the first day for me on snow. With the Tyndall Tramway still awaiting certification, I prepared myself for the walk. Ordinarily, of course, this would not have been a walk, but as my dear brother had snapped my touring bindings there was no other option.
Hustling up the walking track, breaking no more than a light sweat, we made it onto the field in about 40 mins from the carpark to the access tow, a surprisingly easy walk. When I first started skiing at Broken River this was the daily walk, albeit usually with the gear going half way in the Tyndall Tramway.
Given the fairly decent walk, it was surprising to see almost 200 people taking advantage of the freshies. Within no more than a few hours the typical wind lips and natural hits had formed - leading to some of the boys sending flips:
With some poor weather in sight early on the week of the 2nd, I took advantage of Porters now being on the Chill pass, taking the morning of the 3rd off work and skiing for a couple of hours. Committing the night before, and on the premise that I would be ‘getting my legs back,’ I took some short slalom skis which demand aggressive skiing - to deal to the groomers of course.
Perhaps foolishly - I didn’t check the report. Again because of the grooming it wasn’t until I made it up to Julian’s bowl that I realized there was about 10cm of fresh, but windblown, snow.
Finding Luke Jackson on T3, we went about hitting the cliffs on the leaper, thankfully the 166 cm slalom skis held up well (The top photo is of Luke airing through a rock field on the leaper)
Ben: Following a short holiday skiing park in Wanaka and working in Clyde, I decided to pull the pin and make the pilgrimage back to the kingdom of Ilam, with hopes of scoring a few fresh turns. By Sunday (8th of July) afternoon I had arrived at the flat with the sole purpose of skiing, yet no plans as to where or when I was going to do so. Come Monday morning I was pleasantly surprised to see 30cms waiting for me at Palmer Lodge. Sometimes the best plan is no plan...right?
At the drop of a hat I was out of bed and en route to Broken River with flatmate James for a day of storm shredding. Unfortunately, we only ended up developing a mild case of cabin fever due to adverse weather conditions holding off the much needed avy work to secure the upper reaches of the mountain. On our way down we managed to snag a couple of turns next to access tow, this was more than enough persuasion to get us back for day 2.
Linking up with Nick Pascoe and Ollie after a classic late start we headed west, anticipation building as we jumped in and out of the inversion layer coming through the Porters Pass. After another brief slog up the now infamous BR walkway I was relieved to see the snow we’d failed to ski the day before lay untouched alongside the main tow, 40cms in all its glory. Even with a full car park and school holidays in full swing we managed to score fresh turns all morning and even into the early afternoon.The opening of Upper Allans really put a cherry on top!
Ollie & Ben
Ollie and Ben are regular contributors to Chill and spend the winter making the most of their Chill Season Passes: