Friday, 10 July 2015

Great Start to 2015 New Zealand Ski Season

Well after a pretty terrible ski season last year....we've started with a bang down under here in New Zealand....

Tarn Basin, Craigieburn Range photo by Gordie Lees

 Mr Kingswood - Alex Herbert sends it in the Middle Chutes at Craigieburn Ski Field. Photo Geoff Browne

Mount Olympus with another 25cms top up about to get carved up!

Mount O getting tracked out good & proper

Geoff Browne getting the goods at Craigieburn Ski Field photo by Alex Herbert

Looking towards Mount Cheeseman, Tarn Basin photo by Gordie Lees

The Craigieburn Range scored over 1 meter of snow about 3 weeks ago and with subsequent top-ups of 30cms, 20cms and 25cms we've been scoring great powder and last season is a distant memory!

Marker Kingpin AT Binding ready to go

On the GEAR front I was really trying to lighten up my AT set up as I'm continually finding myself doing more skinning...getting away from it all and skiing new, interesting lines or just getting quality, fresh pow in a bowl with my buddies.

So this season I've added the new Marker KINGPIN AT bindings into the quiver - mounting them on my 189cms SkiLogik Bombsquads. I've had 5 days on the Kingpins and have totally enjoyed the experience...can't fault them really...easy to fit my boots into the pin system, they don't even ice up which I was warned about....Totally bomber on the downhill too and have a few different settings for touring when you're on the up...very easy to use as they have a little rim to aim for when you're putting your toe in - aim for this - line up the pins - and you're in. Done!

The Marker Kingpin 13 has a pin system in the toe like the Dynafit

I've been really enjoying surfing more on my SUP...the past 3 winters and it's been a great way to train your core for upcoming rope tow travel, skinning up and bombing it down when you've got the froth....I've also added the usual MTBiking (gotta have a bike if you live in Christchurch), some hiking, swimming & yoga (for when the busy work life takes hold a bit too much;-).

Surfers enjoying beautiful lines at Sumner Beach, Christchurch. Southern Alps in the background!

Paul skinning up Foggy Peak photo by Marcus Cullen

I was stoked to skin-up FOGGY PEAK (1741m) with my old ski buddy Marco and had the pleasure skinning & skiing directly back to the car at PORTER'S PASS (942m).

It's a good 800m vert, fairly consistent with a couple of false summits just for good measure. After the 1 meter dump it rained (probably what has caused us to have such a great base) and so it was pretty firm, but we managed to find a nice line to skiers left which had been nicely wind buffed and made for some lovely chalky early season turns with superb views over the Canterbury Plains.  Job done & a good early outing under the belt.

Views of the Canterbury Plains plastered in snow June, 2015

Marco on the top of Foggy looking towards Castle Hill Peak - another good AT day trip

Sublime views over the Craigieburn Range

Here's a few parting shots of the stunning MOUNT OLYMPUS...Playground of the Gods

 The Sphinx, Mount Olympus plastered with new snow

 View of Lake Coleridge from Mt. Olympus about to ski 'Parson's dollar' and I even met the infamous Derek Parsons on the day...his friendly face is always up at Mt.O!

 What a beautiful finish to a powder day at Mt. O.....

Well here's to more of the good white stuff and tearing up beautiful lines in epic powder. It's shaping up to be a very phat season with some opportunities to ski some of those dream lines!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Ski Season 2014 - New Zealand

I've been loving the SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) and really starting to smash the surf a bit harder, getting off the lip. I started abut 18 months ago and really felt the benefits of the core training & conditioning it gave me before last year's NZ ski season - a seriously great cross-training sport for skiing.

So now we're in July and after only a couple of dumps it's a waiting game for some decent snow. Craigieburn has had a delay in its opening, still early days but there's been some good snow up high with heli access.

Heli-skiing the Arrowsmith Range Photo Kevin Boekholt.

I'll be getting out some old skis and burning them in a sacrifice to Ula the snow god soon if things don't start happening. Good news there's a southerly coming in tomorrow so as usual the NZ ski season is always at its best August, September and into October/November for spring ski touring.

Watch this space!


Monday, 16 September 2013

2013 New Zealand Ski Season so far (Cheeseman to Mt.Olympus Ski Tour)

2013 has been an interesting season with a big start scoring about 2m of snow in a huge late June storm. We had to wait again until late august to get the goods - but when they arrived it was  one of the lightest dumps we’ve had and I enjoyed some superb days at Craigieburn – starting with a bluebird powder day on the Thursday which was EPIC!

One objective for the season was to ski the Ryton Valley and what better way to do this by touring from Mt.Cheeseman to Mt. Olympus skifields, staying over night and returning the next day. 

We scored a weather window in late July and had clear but windy weather on Saturday making our way south from Cheeseman skifield summiting Mt.Cheeseman and then skiing some nice powder into the Ryton before touring up to the ridge which led us to the summit of Mt. Olympus.  I decided to ski right off the top into a nice 45-48 degree chute which got the heart pumping, negotiating my way through a narrow colouir then opening up the turns above the skifield - a sweet line ticked. 

Then a grand awaiting of beers in the Mt.O hut tub with all 8 of us sharing stories and having a good old laugh - could a days' ski touring end any better!?!? Pity we didn't get a shot of the hot tubbing but we were having too much fun to take pics!

We awoke to a bluebird day and toured back up the ridge to stand again on the Mount Olympus summit.  Dropping into a superb sunny face with lovely soft springy powder - leaving our signatures behind as we peered over dramatic exposure into the Lake Coleridge watershed. 

Returning on the ridge some nice turns were had fanging into tarn basin before gluwein and muffins at the Cheeseman club hut to finish off a superb overnight ski tour in the Cragieburn range!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Gulmarg, Kashmir Ski & Snowboard Season 2013!

Powder doesn't get much more perfect than this.......

Well what a great season in Gulmarg. A very stable snow pack this year meant few avalanche incidents across the whole skiing population, We are proud that Sunstone continues it's 100% safe client record with regards NO fatalities, NO burials and NO injuries to our clients :-)

The usual big snow - ka ching!

Jules gets the weather we'd hoped for topped off with the freshest, deepest Himalayan Pow Pow!

Patty's turn on Monkey Hill...getting a face full.

The start of the season in January saw a massive 150cm dump that crushed some of the faceting and deep hoar frost that is often evident in the January snow pack getting ready for a mid Jan arrival. We skied untracked powder for 14 days with very little people around, before the February enslaught. And when Feb did arrive we scored another 150cms which saw some neck deep, snorkel enabled powder riding which was simply off the hook.

Again groups were very enthusiastic to take on Sunstone's 2 hour avalanche re-fresher/training and always keen to attend Bryan Newman (Gulmarg Ski Patrol Manager / Avalanche Forecaster) weekly Avalanche Night. Always a very informative meeting in which we receive an up-to-date conditions summary from the horse's mouth!

Loose Douche Crew got some.

The Perrys - father & son kiwi team earning their turns.

The Loose Douche Crew getting some!

We had subsequent snow falls right into March and some great touring out to Lenmarg!

The Swedes - Mans & Jeni hiking up Apherwat to access down the Pir Panjal Range to Lenmarg.

and BINGO....

Will charges off a cliff into deep deep powder...hell yeahs!

A powder 'run' in Gulmarg.....with Douche getting some cruisy air!

The Kiwi Docs heading on up!

Alex gets it on the way down to Baba Reshi Temple.

Jules the wrong way up on a Baba's session.

It was a great season - awesome Guys & Gals, smooth logistics and lots of powder smiles!

Marieke heads back to the Gondola!

Thanks for the gear Macpac...the Luggernaut 90L travel bag is the ultimate to lug around (see what I did there) and act as base camp bag:-)

For your smooth ride to Hakuba (Japan), Gulmarg (Kashmir) or Southern Alps (NZ) in 2013/14 contact Paul on:

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