Monday, May 25, 2009

The Perfect Fold-

Heres a short clip on how to get  the perfectly folded skin every time. I think its pretty self explanatory, but I do explain it as I go. I was shown this tip from a mate, Steve, while on my one and only trip up the Tasman Glacier.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mt Bruce

Despite waking up to another day of wind and rain, Jane and I really wanted to get out for a ski today. The strong southerly meant that our best bet for some OK weather would be to head west and we figured that Bealey Spur or Mt Bruce could be a good bet. The Kelly Range is also worth a look during a southerly storm for fine weather, but they only get up to the 1300m range, so we figured the snow line would be to high still for that mission.
Mt Bruce's North Face, with line up and down.
Welcome! Jane at the start of the track.
We started out at the Cora Lynn end of the Cass/Lagoon Track and made it out of the bush in around 45mins. We were able to start skinning here, albeit on a thin covering of wet snow.
Jane skinning up.
The snow was very wet and pretty thin at first, before getting more supportive around 1350m. It was the first time we had been up Mt Bruce and were pretty impressed with the nice rolling terrain of the North Face, as well as the steep, couloir ridden South Face.
Jane on the "summit" (west) ridge.
We made it to Mt Bruce's 1630m high summit amid rain and wind. We had a quick look around, scouting out lines for a return when weather and snow conditions would be more favorable.
Jane and I on the top of Mt Bruce
Jane skiing down, with Bealey Spur and the Waimakariri River in the background.
Our first few turns off the top were pretty good, but we soon found ourselves doing survival turns down heavy, wet snow and tussock.
The skiing was a bit of a disappointment after skiing some nice powder mid week, but I am certainly not complaining- ITS STILL MAY! We are pretty lucky really to be skiing at all and at the end of the day I was just stoked to get out and ski somewhere that I have never been before. Exploring a new area and standing on a peak that I have looked at many times.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NZ Skier Mag- out now!

The latest issue of NZ Skier is now on the shelves. It's the biggest issue of the magazine that I can remember seeing and is crammed full of all kinds of wonderful stuff, including an article by yours truly on skiing the Craigieburn Range.
While publishing an article by a kid from a farm in Riverton (its kind of near Gore), that got around 30% in school C English could be seen as a low point for Hamish and Neil at NZ Skier, don't let that hold you back from rushing out to your nearest news stand and picking one up. '09 Buyers Guide, Scott Schmidt article and a "How Kiwis ski the world" feature all make for a great read.
Also worth a look is the new web site!
What are you waiting for?? Click the damm link and go buy a copy of the magazine...........

"The Road to Castle Hill" is paved with taxpayer's money...

I just finished reading "The Road to Castle Hill" is paved with taxpayer's money... , by Graeme Kates. 
It outlines the ongoing saga of Castle Hill Station and access to public land. Its well worth a read and can be found HERE

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Routeburn Classic Mountain Run

Jane and I raced in the Routeburn Classic, a 32.6km mountain run, this past Saturday. the Classic follows the Routeburn track, starting at the divide near Homer Tunnel on the Milford Road and finishes 32km later near Glenorchy.
Just after the Harris Saddle and just before Dan (in front) unfortunately twisted his ankle. Photo from Magic Memories
After we both had all of February out with injury we had struggled a little with motivation and I especial had trouble getting back into a good training routine.
Leading into the race I wasn't sure what to expect- I hadn't run 32km in almost 8 weeks. The longest ran I had done in a while was about 3 weeks earlier, 2h45m and I was preparing myself to be out for a hour more than that as confidence wasn't high. But I did manage to rest and eat well in the week before and was ready to get out and have some fun with the event, rather than get caught up in the "race".
It started to lightly snow as we got ready to start the race and I purposely started out slower than what I normally would, think I was in the 20-30s. As soon as the track steepened the folks in front of me went to a walking place and I knew it was time to move on. I quickly passed about 8 people and caught 2 more just after 3km. I then latched onto 2 runners, one, Dan, whom I knew from when I lived in St Arnuad 5 years earlier, and there I stayed for the next 15km. I managed to twist my ankle and hit the deck twice during this time as well as pick off another racer and we were also told we were in the top 10! 
At this stage I was both really surprised and stoked. All I was thinking was "top 10", but in a 32km mountain run a little luck always helps. Now this was defiantly not my luck, but when Dan unfortunately twisted his ankle and the other runner I had been with had the stitch, I took my chances and made my move. I of course check that Dan was not seriously injury and even offered another runner to pass me. I spent the next 11 or so km looking over my shoulder and throwing in surges (after the Coke I drank kicked in). I'd never been on the Routeburn track so it was hard going on the final few km not knowing when the finish would be. I finally rounded a bend to see the the finish line, crossing the line in 6th place, in 3hr 12min, less than 1min behind the 2007 winner and under 10mins off 3rd. 
Pretty happy and surprised to say the least!
Jane had a similar race, finishing in 54th over all! She was the 5th female in a time of 4hr15min.
Now we will be resting little before upping the training for the winter and the upcoming ski mountaineering races.
A race report can be seen HERE and results HERE

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Craigieburns- Looking Good!

The Craigieburn Range (L-R Cloudsley, Izard, Cheeseman), 730am, 5th May '09- looking pretty good for this time of the year and going off the forecast for the next few days, its set to get a lot better!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More Early Season Turns

I am both surprised and stoked to say it is the 2nd of May and I have already gotten out on 3 ski tours and winter is yet to officially arrive, although looking out the bed room window first thing this morning it sure looked like it had! A week out from the Routeburn Classic mountain run, Jane and I could have probably benefited form a easy run this morning, but with the Craigieburns looking so inviting we decided a mellow ski tour couldn't hurt. It was hard to say if there was more snow than when we skied at Easter, as it wasn't as low, but it had stormed for a few days longer. It was a late start as I organised my gear between making breakfast and consuming all important coffee and we got to Middle Hut around 1015.
Jane starting out at Middle Hut
There wasn't as much snow at Middle Hut last time and we started on foot, but after around 5-10mins were skinning. As we climbed the snow quickly got deeper and by the time we reached the top of Cheesemans main tow there was as much snow as Easter time, but this time it was more consolidated.

Skinning towards the ridge, Mt Cockayne in the background

We made it to the top of the ridge and skied into Tarn Basin, were we discovered some great snow and were surprised to not hit any rocks. This convinced us to do another 2 laps in the upper bowl of Tarn.

Jane skinning back up for lap number 3

After this we skinned to the top of Mt Cockayne and then skied back to the car at Middle Hut.

Jane and our turns off Cockayne

All up about 875m of ascent/descent. Below is a little video of the 2nd lap in Tarn

"The skier who forsakes the lifts to climb under his own power to a mountain summit is a very different person from the downhill only piste basher and is often regarded by the latter as something of a curiosity.
But he was the creator of the sport; and possibly with him lies the future"
-Robin Fedden, The book of Europen Skiing, 1966
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