END OF SEASON? NAH MATE, NOT YET.
With the season coming to an end Ben and Ollie wrote up their spring skiing adventures, with much more snow than you would've expected at this time of year.
Words by Ollie Hunt and Ben Hume, Pictures by Nick Pascoe and 208 Media
Thanks to all of our loyal readers out there who have enjoyed our blogs, it has been one of the best winters in the last few seasons and we have enjoyed the chance to share it with you!
Ben: After a long glorious winter it seems that it’s time to trade ski boots for bike shoes and the glorious rope tow for long slogs up hill. Well that’s what should be happening anyway!
Turns out there is a boat load of snow left to melt and Ollie and I have no problem being the ones to ski it. Spring is ON!
A couple of weekends ago now my flatmate James Sheehan and I headed up to Olympus in search of some freshly harvested spring corn. Upon arrival we realized the snow hadn’t released yet but we’re pleasantly surprised to see the New Zealand Junior Freeride Tour kicking off its first comp of the season! As the sun worked its magic we watched the groms throw down typical overwhelming Kiwi runs in underwhelming Kiwi conditions.
Once the comp was over and the snow had softened it was all on. What started out as a friendly game of long jump between myself and Taupo shredder Hugo Cameron (2nd overall on the NZJFT 2017, congrats!) turned into a 20+ person silly session.
Even Freeride World Tour athlete Sam “Ibex” Lee joined in on the fun!
Ollie: I took stock of the bruises contracted during the Mount Olympus freeride competition which we wrote about in our previous blog, and decided heading to Wanaka and watch the Jossi Wells Invitational big air, where a few friends of ours were competing, was a good way to let them heal. Unfortunately this meant I missed the Broken River Rider X, which by all accounts was another epic iteration of a consistently epic event.
Leaving Friday evening at a leisurely pace, Kenji Boekholt, Tom Fisher and I made our way down. Arising to an epic Saturday morning we headed up the hill and scored a prime spot on the Tom Campbell rock above the judges. The calibre of the competition was excellent, with numerous X games and Olympic gold medalists on the invite list, meaning we saw some extremely technical and fast tricks, like triple cork 1620’s, (this involves 4 rotations and 3 flips combined). The jump was another fine piece of work from the park crew and many of the athletes were comfortably sending it well past the 100 ft mark.
Back in Christchurch for uni, I was gutted to miss out on what looked like an epic day in the clubbies on Wednesday, with uni commitments. It was all on for Friday though and we made our way up. Unfortunately upon arrival it was clear that what snow had fallen over the preceding 24 hrs had been rather wet, and as a result until the sun baked the snow a little it was extremely sticky. After finding some fun stuff on the limited terrain open, we headed to bottom hut for the night.
Saturday was far better in terms of snow conditions, and Olympus had seen the effects of the sun effectively turn pretty rotten snow into top notch slush. The day saw some improvements on the jumps out in frozen waves and then the inevitable forming of a ratpack.
Naturally a few inverts were sent, though the low level of clothing and thus protection - due to the extreme warmth- meant ice rashes in the common event of a crash.
We finished the evening with a stroll up to the back ridge at Olympus, which looks down into the Harper River. As per usual the view was fantastic and well worth lobbying Marcus, the head of snow safety, to open the tow at 4.30 for us. What a way to round out the day!