The golden brown tussock covered hillsides are once again blanketed in white contrasted with huge schist outcrops. Months of being far far too hot are replaced with shivering cold nights in my little crib (thats a small holiday house for those who don’t speak the southland dialect!) and my days are spent staring off at distant peaks mindsurfing when I should probably be working!
But its been shaping up well for winter down here with two snow events bringing the white stuff down into Queenstown and the ski areas are looking to open with plenty of lifts and trails. That doesn’t really interest me and I’ve once again decided to forgo the lift pass and focus on riding mountains that are less often visited, usually ones with horrible long approaches!
Ive managed to get out a few times, just to the usual haunts but enough talk enjoy some photographs!!
Adam Fleming skinning for another quick lap in Outward Bound
Brad Markey on the “saddle” between Bowen peak and Ben Lomond.
After a couple of dismal snow events we finally got something decent. To be fair, it was better than decent. Even though it turned out to be the only solid powder day of the season for me the conditions were unbelievable. Its not very often that we get a decent snow fall, good stability, and little wind down here but this day sure delivered.
Visiting Canadian Mike “Pow” Wigley got in touch through the magic of the Interwebz and i went and picked him up with the promise of some excellent conditions. We met Todd and Brad in the lower car park and headed up to the Remarkables ski area.
After a quick blast over the top of Curvey basin and on to Jackel col we were sliding down the upper wye creek slopes towards a zone we call The Rifle Range. I had never seen decent snow on the zone i wanted to check out but the Wind direction of the storm suggested possible good snow, the topography wasn’t mellow, but not to steep to worry about slides too much. I had heard it was heli skied when the conditions were good which was always a bonus.
Heading towards the Rifle Range and over into the Doolans
Fellow New Zealander splitboarder Ryan Nicol has spent some time on an epic looking photo essay of his 2014 Winter season in the Canterbury area of New Zealand’s South Island. For those who haven’t met Ryan before he is arguably the biggest contender for being a chamois in a previous life.
As each year passes and we get older, the reasons for doing things change and evolve. The drive behind an idea morphs and the subtle, smaller background things slowly move to the fore taking on more meaning. The time taken to appreciate each moment spent in the mountains becomes as important as the initial reason why we decide to venture there in the first place. The initial purpose of exploring new places with a snowboard slowly evolves into something much more and suddenly only becomes a small part of the reason in which we choose to spend endless weekends and annual leave chasing the never ending snow covered mountain dream. No longer is there just one thing that keeps pulling us back but a thousand little things along the way that when combined, create an unparalleled experience.
The thousand little things that form a mountain experience for one person will…
Decent snow finally arrived towards the end of July. We had a 10-20cm dump which finally made things a bit more user-friendly in the backcountry.
Myself and Todd have been riding together for about 2 years now and we haven’t ever come across another splitboarder in the Remarks BC, not even skiers are that common. Through social media for the blog I made contact with Brad who was keen to also go riding with his own kind and not skiers.
Well it’s winter time but up until a few weeks ago it didn’t really seem like it. Low snow pack everywhere and resorts struggling to stay open. They are lucky they have snow making!
I’ve still managed to get out for a few days on the split in the marginal conditions. We had a really early season dump of snow down to 300m above sea level in May but it was dry and warm after that. Winter has arrived in full force since but more on that later…
I’m a little amped. Ok, I’m completely stoked. I’m not going to lie. I love winter, I’m that weird guy that hates summer, loves snow and would live in the arctic if it meant never being too hot. I mean it’s easier to warm up than to cool down, and wearing lots of coats, are you kidding me?! I LOVE COATS. Hoodies, beanies… Enough of that… It’s that time of year when the mountains turn from dark brown schist and golden tussock into majestic snow-capped peaks. Winter even makes getting up early great. Alpenglow coating the peaks as the sun rises between them, it’s so still, so cold. We have had a bit of snow, But as the local words go “Snow in may never stays”. Hopefully that will all change this weekend, We have our first winter storm, It looks like a good un. Snow down to near sea level, high winds, all the good stuff. But we wont know how much or how good untill it all clears a few days later. Untill then I’m going to sit at home looking at weather forecasts, studying maps. Planning My Attack.
I started a new job promising me less hours but that didn’t work out, after deciding to not work out the remainder of the winter a simple hashtag that I started using on instagram in June became the major motivation for my winter.
Now deep into the summer and getting jealous daily of whitebeard days from friends in Europe, Japan and North America I’m working hard and training harder to get myself in better shape for the coming winter in order to #splitmoreworkless
The only tracks ill be leaving for a while!!
If you are an instagram user and follow us here at Splitboarding New Zealand on Instagram check out the hundreds of pics from the international splitboarding community using the tag #splitmoreworkless