|Thomas going 720 over the 40 foot jump at The Remarks|
With all the time in the world, well at least all the time in the season, we were set to ride hard and make the most of a good snow year at the Southern Lakes. We pretty much just rode as much as we could handle, until we either were too sore, too tired to wake up or occasionally too hung over. I (Thomas) spent a good 30 days on the various mountains and Amy over 20 days out. Lots of those days, up with John and Kel, various friends- like Henric and Mary, or Andrew, who came down from Christchurch. Quite often I would just end up taking a run or riding a whole day with new friends I had made on the chair lift.
|Andrew, Thomas and Amy on a great spring powder day.|
When it had been snowing, we were the fiercest powder hounds on the mountain. We would be racing to get on the first chair lift of the day. We would be methodically knocking off runs to ensure we rode the most powder possible and got the most fresh turns. Quickly I worked out that the best way to shred fresh powder turns was to hike up to the top of the various ridge-lines surrounding the ski area basin. There were plenty of open faces, bowls, chutes and cliffs all laying practically untouched, due to the steep nature and substantial effort required to hike to these runs. This is where we had the best turns, deepest powder, biggest drops, scariest moments and enjoyed the best scenery. You can see from the photo above, the area to the left dropping off behind the large ridge-line - my playground.
|Amy at the top of Outward bound, good girl for skiing outside the ski area boundary with us!|
John was a good sport following me up most the terrain. But I was so proud of Amy and her progression. She started coming everywhere with us. Learning lessons along the way, mainly that she should not follow my tracks directly. As I tend to aim for the gnarly terrain, she would often end up getting stuck about rocks or cliffs. But she skied the big runs with us, making dope turns and not too many complaints along the way.
|Ski down, hike up.|
Unfortunately it didn't snow every night and after a few days the powder would pack and freeze firm. So on these days we would head over the the terrain park. A lot of good fun in there, but at least a bit scarier for me because it hurts to fall on packed snow and rails etc. This didn't slow us down too much though. I quickly progressed to the big park, with 30 to 40+ feet jumps, down rails and boxes and even a gap jump over a container. Progressing from 360s to 540s and even the occasional attempt at a 720! I never made the landing on that one, nor did it look steezy doing it, but I tried my best. This was probably the most terrifying thing about snowboarding for Amy though, more so than any of the back country riding she did. I did put her through a few unerving moments. A few times over the big 45 footer my feet would get away from me and from the top of the park where Amy would be watching she would just see me diapering beyond the horizon with my feet above my head. Somehow though, due to the steep grade of the landing and some panicked flailing mid-air, I would recover to just land very heavily on my hip instead of my head. Amy herself started hitting the jumps in the beginner park and even some rail boxes too. It wasn't a bad way to spend a sunny day with amazing scenery all round and a good dose of adrenalin.
One mild spring day, John called me out. I was talking up a storm about how I wanted to snowboard naked.
|Going el'natural down our favourite Homeward Run.|