friday 7th july
Cj & I have settled down into life back in Wanaka and were glad to find many old friends from last year are still here: Slave Dave & Fern Lodge Rachel, Grant, Tomu, Red Rock Nick & Ivy, B, Irish Rachel (Collins), Ness, Hayley, Kat, Maria & Janina and skater James "the Eagle".
My old skater friends from Wanaka '05, the Tassie crew are back - Ben & Liz, Tim & Lil, Brian and Johnny, however unfortunately Alex has not returned this year as he has smashed his ankle just before coming over. Looking forward to many more good times to come this season :o)
Cardrona ski field opened on my birthday (which was a lovely present!) so I spent the day there, followed by a trip to the new Indian restaurant in town (the "curry cafe"); passed a pleasant evening then drifted to bed early, in order to get up for riding the next day.
Days are filled alternately with streetboarding and snowboarding - any days not snowboarding up Cardona or Treble Cone, or injured, are spent streetboarding in the skatepark - sometimes both...
This is part of the beauty of Wanaka that you can snowboard in the daytime then come back and skate in the afternoon - the ability to ride both snow and concrete in the same day. The town is often fine if the slopes have poor weather, and vice-versa.
I have spent many days with Slave Dave and friends Matt, Alec and Tom building kicker jumps out in Cardrona backcountry on the backside of Captains Bowl, near where Matts legendary double-backflip was attempted last year. Big kickers, big fun... ;o)
CJ is starting to ride the kickers in Cardrona backcountry. Having got into freestyle now, shes looking to attend park training weekly if she can. She has 2 days off a week plus ride breaks, and is riding whatever come her way, be it box or kicker.
There is much snow about, although it falls short of European standards here. Christchurch and the outlying areas have a huge amount however, and we are thinking of doing a streetboarding/snowboarding trip up there; skating our way to the Christchurch Club Fields and back - watch this space!
A big shout out to skatepark location website www.018.co.nz, which is a really web produced, useable website we were told about when planning this trip.
I have added Highland Streetboards Mercury trucks to my board, which necessitated getting my AS1 kingpins shortened by 3 threads, but the resulting setup is probably the best so far. The Magnum bar has also had 8 holes drilled into non-load-bearing areas to reduce weight, resulting in a little more flex.
These changes should produce my strongest and most advanced board yet, but with less weight penalty than previously encountered with the unbreakable Magnum bar. I will be riding it further after my calf muscle heals, a recent injury courtesy of Wanaka skatepark!
Snow is falling as we speak! And on that note, catch you later...
friday 28th july
Wanakas recent snow dumps have meant less focus on streetboarding but more opportunities to get out, ride, and capture snowboarding footage. Been riding mainly at Cardrona, both building kickers out in the backcountry but also using the natural terrain and the rails in the Heavy Metal park.
Farmer, Matt & I took some time out to ride the Cardrona rock - a favorite location for snowboard mags everywhere - building some hits up it and shooting some great images while riding under a hot, sunny sky until the light gave out.
Matt, Tom & Alec built a few hits out in the backcountry, making the most of the new snow, before the wind turned the powder into hard crust, constructing some drop-downs over rocks and larger kickers. The blue skys seemed to have deserted us however and many of the images taken were compromised by poor contrast - a great shame considering the size of the hits...
The cold fronts bringing snow to New Zealand have been replaced by highs bringing beautiful, clear bluebird days - great for visibility, but the snow has packed down and become more solid and icy. Treble Cone retained its powder for longer, Hidden Valley delivering powder runs through the next week for the price of a short hike.
The loss of soft snow means more time spent on the rails at Cardrona and Snow Park, which is double the size this year, and still growing! Hiking the various boxes, practising new tricks and developing some park style...
There is a lot of talent around here, with many riders from the U.S. and Canada - Snow Park is a great place to go and just observe - techniques and tips can be learnt from some of the best riders in the world - including Olympic athelete Shaun White.
Wanaka itself is also benefitting from this great weather; the town is vibrant and buzzing with life, and the weather feels more like an english spring day. Walking up to Wanakas monument on a such a day enabled me to capture the valley panorama over the lake towards Mt.phpiring in the distance:
There are a number of events being planned for the next couple of months, including a snowboarding trip to Ohau ski field, an night-time rail-jam party and a streetboarding tour of skate spots on the way to Christchurch... plans are being hatched, details to be posted as soon as confirmed..!