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july 2005 articles

wednesday 6th july

We have some snow! Not a vast amount, but enough to get going - pictured is the first rock-drop of the season found on Cardrona, under the "Captain Cook" chairlift.

There are some other kickers and drops on the mountain, but the snow is rapidly becoming ice, and photoshoots are on hold.

Snow Park freestyle area has become operational - like a giant skatepark, there are halfpipes, a 15-20ft tabletop, about 8 rails of varying shapes and sizes, and some quarterpipes and step-ups - with much more to come as only half of the park is currently open.

A little daunting at first due to the aggressive nature of some of the hits, familiarity brings confidence to try bigger and more complex tricks - within the constraints of the snow conditions...

Just a little further towards Queenstown from the ski area drive, the Cardrona Hotel sits in the small town at the base of the mountain. Cardrona is the home of Speights beer, the "Pride of the South", and the Hotel has been made famous throughout New Zealand by a well-known billboard advert (which I will post if I can find an image of).

A lovely pub, its location and proximity to the ski-area makes it the perfect location for a fireside apres-ski drink to chill with...!

The lifestyle of Andy, (to a degree) myself, and the rest of the crew has turned into a more steady mix of work, snowboarding and socialising - although the snow is not great, its good enough for peeps to get out and about, and the season is now starting to develop a familiar pattern and routine.

On a slightly different note, Peter Schraml (a good friend of mine from Thailand/Australia travels) came to Wanaka to visit me. Although we had briefly hooked up in Christchurch, this time Peter and I were able to get a days snowboarding in - even though he had fractured a rib meditating (eh?!)! Good to see ya mate, roll on Austria!

Will keep you posted on the developments with the weather and the opportunities it brings...keep it real

wednesday 20th july - Jules 28th Birthday issue!

First off - a big Happy Birthday to my brother Jules, who is 28 today! Hey Bro, take it easy!

We were shocked to hear about the bombs detonated in London - hoping that the peeps we know are all OK, a bad time for all...

On a lighter note, our collective attended a dub reggae concert by the Black Seeds, held in Wanaka - nearly 1000 people including a jumpsuited b-boy crew throwing down some serious moves. nice.

I went to the bar for a drink, only to be served by a very good friend of mine from my Queenstown season in '98 - Boozy! Heya mate - should be hooking up with you in the next few weeks...

Our friends 'Ness, Hayley, Kat and Monic held a Hoff party, during which Dave brought out his "fire-poi", and proceeded to surprise us all with his talent for all things incendiary. Not bad mate, only a couple of burn marks...!

Monic left Wanaka for a job in Christchurch soon after - good luck girl, return soon!

Andy and I have been to Dunedin for the last couple of days, to try and visit some other skating locations, get some more filming and photos, and continue the tour...

It started raining 20 minutes before we got there, and only ceased 20 minutes after we left - so no joy on the skating front... @#*&%!!!

Dunedin has a beautiful Victorian(?) train station, and nearby steam train museum, which was unfortunately shut. The skatepark is located behind the station, and is actually quite comprehensive - certainly larger than Wanaka, but constant rain meant no testing.

We visited the Worlds Steepest Street - Baldwin Street - with a 1 : 2.81 gradient, around 33 degrees!

Walked up, then took the car up - had to go up in 1st gear, even with the 4WD!

Turned out that we had pitched up on "Jaffa Race" day of the Chocolate Festival - Dunedin is host to the NZ Cadburys factory! A "jaffa" is a gobstopper-sized chocolate ball, with an orange-flavoured candy shell, a little like a large round smartie.

15,000 numbered jaffas are rolled down from the top of the hill, picking up some serious speed, and the first one to reach the collecting jar at the bottom is the winner!

Tickets were on sale for $2 a pop so we each bought one, as proceeds went to charity.

By some weird twist of fate, neither Andy nor I won...

So we returned empty-handed - vowing not to be offput by the conspiricy of fate against us, and venture boldly forth another day for more skating action!

We will return...