Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spring Surprise

3 days out of the infamous TC closing day, a cheeky wee last powder day was offered up. 10cms of natures finest coated them hills trading spring conditions for awaiting one last winter hurra! I txt my friend to see if he was coming up to play as wee breeched the access road, already on first chair the response. Keen as mustard they are down here. Plenty to go round I told myself as old mate floored it up the road.

Fantastic conditions they were indeed. Hoots and hollers echoed around the main basin, I've always enjoyed hearing people verbalize their enjoyment of skiing, arguably the best sport on the planet... All the usual suspects of spring time were about and quickly all the usual runs were systematically ticked off in a most enjoyable fashion.

The saddle opened silently, no Chinese downhill free for all rat race today, a casual glide across was a relaxing change. Summit hikes began almost immediately, wee local legend Jo Guest, who punches well above her weight was, as per, leading the charge. Her she is airing high into another fresh summit line.

Skiing in ones undies or ever better birthday suit is a must for every self respecting skier as least once. Letting other laugh at your expense a wonderful experience that always brings deep belly laughs and smiles all round. Some kid watching me from the summit was cheering for me to crash, he got his wish right after my glory turn in front of the camera... losing GNAR points while rag dolling near naked not recommended.

Future mayor of Wanaka, Nick Mills, of Rippon fame, in his ubiquitous green jacket was locked and loaded on ever run. After soon gentle coxing and persuasion he made the third hike to the summit, always worth it once ripping the last turn of fresh available.

There's always one... Mike Guest, aka 'Jo's Brother' was the sacrificial lamb on this day. A pain the author and many many other know all to well. Here he captures the moment of a sled ride with TC patroller Roo Stanford at the helm. 

Gus Rowley had the quote of the day "The sheep were wet, couldn't shear em, so I came skiing" a sliver lining to every cloud as they say. Yet another magic day up Treble Cone, definitely the best ski area west of Wanaka.

Words: Simon Guthrie 
Photos: Angus Rowley

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Catch 22- It’s not the easiest but it what makes us the best.

I’ve recently followed a ski trip by Rachel Oaks-ash, aka, Miss-snow-it-all a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald, where she indulged in some of the testingly rural, (for Sydney) and yet comfortingly exclusive destinations of your New Zealand ski scene. I also followed another trip by Molly Barker, a fellow kiwi, it was interesting to hear another point of view of our mountains and iconic scenery, described with such enthusiasm. An important point made in both articles however was that skiing in NZ is by far not an easy task, noted as “a different animal”. Our mountain access is not what you would call ski-in ski-out, our weather is not as predictable as some might like to think, our snow-conditions haven’t reached the Utah standard, nor the size of the resort reached the Europe standard, yet we’re still battling on. We’ve produced some of the best free-skiers in the world, the ski racing teams are catching up to the Euro’s and the mountain resorts keep expanding… us kiwi’s still love to ski.

Nothing brings out the best in New Zealand skiing than spring. I recently made a trip back to my home mountain, (TC) after a lengthy recovery from a shoulder injury and pretty well got the best of the best. The day before we were heli skiing in some not so far off ranges, skiing amongst the tallest peaks of the area, we laid some fresh tracks in some steep and rolling terrain akin to the produce of the Swiss Alps, (lucky as some trips might not be so good). Heading up the winding road in the morning we were amped to ski some similar terrain, later to find TC didn’t disappoint. Being spring the snow was soft down low but up high the quality was still good. We made the hike to the summit rocks and skied the back ridge before hopping back over the front side to and ripping some more turns. The back drop was stunning, after skiing around the world and experiencing some awesome places nothing bets a snow capped scenery matched with the freshness of spring from the colours at the valley floor. Lunch time, and after a quick break for a pie, the sun began to unleash its spring strength. The Matukituki ridge softened to a smooth spring corn and was riding good all day. 4pm and we were happy to call it a day with sore legs and the beckoning of a good local brew down in town. 

 For most mountain resorts the ‘apr├Ęs ski’ might signify the end of the day and for some the start to a big night but in NZ, jack of all trades, it carries on. We made our way to happy hour at the bar and watched the start of the wakeboard boats cruise around then lake then moved on to play some Frisbee golf, something new to me, at Lismore Park until the last of the light disappeared over Black Peak. The next day we skied a half day at TC then rock climbed in the valley below, it was refreshing to get so much in one day, (and the week for that matter). The long days and warm weather offered so much and the mountains, the access, and the size make it all possible to fit everything in… it’s just right. Closing day, not far off now, might signify the end to another short season but for a little island in the middle of the pacific we don’t do too bad.      

We might not be the biggest, the best, or the easiest but it’s the way it should be. Ski-in/ski-out resorts and the bling of Whistler or Saint Moritz can stay where they are; in NZ we do things a little bit different around here.    

Words by Fraser McDougall
Fantastic images by Neil Kerr of

Monday, September 24, 2012

Be prepared for Closing Day

Treble Cone Closing Day is by far one of the most exciting days of the year and for those who have ever attended a closing day before you will understand but for those that haven’t here is what you can look forward to and a list of the essentials required.

First is preparation and this is key. Closing day is all about dressing up and having some fun so the first thing you need to find is a costume. For those with dress up boxes this may be simple for others that don’t get creative or visit the recycle centre and see what you can come up with.

Next on the list is ski’s, blades, monoski or a board. This is one of the few days that its considered strange to be on something with new technology its all about the retro. Straight skis are a must, often difficult to find these days but make the effort and you will be rewarded. Just watch out on the first few turns they don’t quite perform like skis today.

On the day be sure to soak up all that is going on including the pond skim and other festivities that occur around the place.

Essentials to remember and feel free to use this as a check list to make sure you have everything you need to make for a good day.
Straight skis and/or other retro equipment
Chilled beverages
Well those are the basics ill leave the rest to you.

And lastly be sure to catch one of the last lifts of the season to the top of the 6, wait until the lifts close for the mass ski down to finish out the season.

Friday, September 21, 2012


 Its Spring time, in addition to the sweet conditions at Treble Cone there are baby sheep hopping around and people are wearing less clothes than usual.  Some of you may be feeling a little frisky...

Just this week Harvard Scholars have discovered a fragment of papyrus from the 4th Century that suggest Jesus Christ may have had a wife!  Amazing!  If its good enough for that guy, its good enough for us.  Now, how might you catch this dream boat of the opposite sex?  Don't bother trawling the bars looking for drunken reprobates to serenade and send love poems to, just head up Treble Cone!

Not to get Darwinian on it, but in order to pick the choicest humans, head up the summit.  This requires an elite fitness level and TC have cleverly positioned a ski patroller at the summit gates with a stick, (to beat away less good looking snow bunnies of course).  

Its babe scoping time.  Get yourself to a high location on the summit rocks to scout for rock'n babes.  Take a friend to cover your blind spots.  

Now that you've found your babe, its time to reel them in.  The first rule:  ACT COOL.  Don't waste your breath on niceties, flinting* nonchalently will path your way to a fine romance. 

Shows of athleticism are a sure way to impress, the lush spring snow conditions at Treble Cone will make for some dandy turns. 

Take a tip from male Peacocks, fan out your tail with some sunnyside slashes. 

Incorporate grabs where you can...

Be a hero, extra points for bravery! 

Once you've broken the ice with your dazzling shows of ultra radical skills, let the babe know what an exotic international human you are:  Parlez with your prey in a foreign language.  Don't worry about the pronunciation or relevance of your chic phrases, if they look confused, gesticulate wildly. 

Get comfortable with the babe, don't hesitate to undermine your competition, you may have once been friends but now its every (wo)man for themselves.  You've already shown what a spectacularly physical beast you are so now try impress with your wit and intellect.  Heres a handy tip, if you're pushed for time but don't want to look stupid, try and compress a joke, shakespare and the theery of relativity into one sentence.

Seal the deal.  Invite your robo babe back to your lodgings for a soy lattes.  Don't panic if they're acting coy, you can always re-recruit your friends that you walked over and belittled to provide your target with some extra encouragement. 

And there you have it, Summit side pick-ups! 

*Flinting:  Casually leaning whilst impressing EVERYONE. 

Attack of the Mini Shreds!

These days I do a lot of judging throughout August and September as the major competitions roll into town. I just finished a period where I judged a FIS World Cup Halfpipe, the NZ Open Slopestyle & Halfpipe, and then the Big Mountain Freeride World Tour Qualifier at the Remarkables.
The level of competitive skiing is going through a highly progressive period at the moment. It is nothing short of mind-blowing what people are capable of doing on skis these days, and this is no more apparent than at the lowest end of the competitive scale – the juniors. The talent and fearless attitude of the next generation of competitors scares me sometimes!

The Pump Mini Mountain has now quickly become one of my favourite events to judge. So many smiles, so much energy and stoke, fantastic supportive parents and lots and lots of teeny tiny little mini shredders whose skills put us all to shame!
This year was even better than last year. The kids completed 3 runs on 2 different coursed and really got to show their skills.

The day started in the fog down below as the pesky southeasterly flow was blowing cloud onto the lower mountain. Game faces were on though, and the kids were ready to charge!

Eventually the low cloud burnt off and we were able to run both courses, with NZ’s Extreme skiing legend Geoff Small leading the judging team on the lower course.

The level of skiing was nothing short of amazing. Confident turns, airs and lots of tricks! We even had a stomped backflip right in front of us! A little man on the smallest tele setup I have ever seen really impressed me with his telemark technique, which requires a lot of strength and precise balance. And then bottom right was my secret favourite, who had just turned 5 and whose bib went below his knees!

When all was said and done the kids gathered on the patio and waited eagerly for prizegiving. All reacted differently to what was a big day for them. Some needed a well-earned nap on mum’s lap, others a cuddle from the TC cat!

The job of tabulating scores for 70 competitors doing 3 runs each was a massive one, but well done to the crew at TC who got results out in lightening speed, as the masses on the patio started to get restless.
I was a little scared when the kids started throwing gang-signs, consuming sugar in copious amounts, and tearing the place down!

But then Klaus got control of the situation and happy faces eagerly awaited results and bibs were handed back in.

I absolutely loved yesterday, and it’s a pleasure to watch these kids out there doing what they obviously love to do. Even if some of them were a bit shy when the spotlight was on them, I was never short of a smile!

Thanks TC, and all the sponsors who help make this event happen, and check out the Daily Dump Snow Report’s video of the day, which features future rockstar Finn Bilous!!

PUMP Mini Mountain 2012@ Treble Cone 16th Sep, Day 41 from The Daily Dump Snow Report on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Worlds First Ever Schmidt-Sack

Just Another S#*T GoPro Video from on Vimeo.

Mark Von Roy and his final rip around before leaving for a Euro winter. We'll miss his super fun take on TC skiing!

Monday, September 10, 2012

solo ski

MVR out on his lonesome in the white wilderness on Monday. But this is just a teaser....for the goodness he found today!