Back in NZ for just over a month and already it feels like we never left. Scott arrived from Greenland, skied some excellent powder and is now in Wanaka filming the Winter Games for Kinetic Media. He’s seeing some hot shot action on the slopes with many world class athletes training here during the northern summer.
The Broken River freeride team showed good form at the Canterbury primary school champs this past weekend. Young Obie won his first ski race. Unfortunately both Scott and I were working and missed this great moment! Big ups to the Hendersons for hosting Obie over the past several weekends. Their fine ski techniques, enthusiasm and tasty baking are a great influence.
My connection with the multi-mountain pass CHILL has proven super effective this season with four two day snow safety classes and one one dayer under our belts. I also taught a four day backcountry avalanche course from Broken River with some terrific folks – friends old and new. Most exciting this past four-day fine weather spell, was the inaugural Craigieburn Haute route. Similar (yet not) to the Chamonix to Zermatt route, the trip uses the rope tow ski lifts to access the tops and uses the fine accommodation provided by the club fields – Craigieburn, Broken River, Cheese(person)man and Mt Olympus. Our team of five travelled in style with light packs. Stu Waddel of Chill as the tail-end charlie, coordinated hospitality and treated us to a waiata on one amazing day. Conditions couldn’t have been more perfect with powder on the south faces and corn on the northern aspects. We even skied the remote Waterfall basin to access the amazing Ryton basin between the main range and Mt Olympus. This basin was mapped for a ski area by the late avalanche Dave McNulty in the 80’s. Luckily for those of us who love to skin, the plan was never realized. We now have the perfect backcountry bowl.
Stu Waddel and I are excited to offer more Craigieburn Haute Route trips in coming years. There are just so many bowls to ski! I am very very psyched about my patch this year!