Saturday, August 29, 2009


If your looking for a little training motivation (like I am!) on a windy Saturday afternoon, check out the Ultra Trail Mt Blanc, a 150-160 km running race, with a total elevation gain of around 8500m!
You can follow along via Salomon Runnings Twiter site-
Salomon Running is the sponsor of pre race favourite, record holder and ski mountaineering super start Kilian Jornet.
Start of the 2009 UTMB
Well, I'm off for a run!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Avalanche Peak

Javi and Jane with the ski's on and Mt Rolleston in the background
Skiing one of the Avalanche Peaks SE Couloir's
Climbing onto Mt Lyells Summit, with Low Peak behind me
Javi skiing another one of Avalanche Peaks coulior's on our 2nd lap
Had a great day skiing Avalanche Peak and Lyell Peak in APNP on Saturday. Glad we made the most of it before this big wet spell hit us.....

Craigieburn Traverse

Got out for a CVSC to Porters traverse last week. The day was nice, but snow conditions were not as good as what they were last winter when Jane, Kath, Duncan and I did the same trip.
The traverse was 2425 vertical meters and took us 4hrs51mins from the CVSC ticket office to the bottom of T1 at Porters.
Javi and Lorenzo starting out at CVSC.
Javi and Lorenzo at the top of the Hamilton Peak, first climb.
Some tricking skinning just before the top of Yukon Bowl
Lorenzo and I on top of Mt Izard. Notice the thin snow coverage.
Javi and I boot packing to the top of Mt Cloudesley.
Pretty happy with a great day in the Craigieburns. Pretty sure a sub 4hr30mins trip is doable in better conditions as the thin snow meant a lot of extra boot packing as well as slow skinning and skiing.
We were all out on the new Dy.N.A race/light weight boot from Dynafit, as well as the newly improved RC20 race pack. Javi and I also had the new Dy.N.A World Cup race ski. Glad to say all work very well, apart from the standard sore feet/blisters that is expected from new boots and big days.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tips for The Tour #2- Never Stop Moving

Weather its going out for a day's ski touring, a tramping trip, or at The Tour, one of the easiest ways of traveling fast is never standing still.
Some of the easiest and simplest ways to keep on the go is to keep a steady pace, use a drinking bladder, carry food in your pockets and stuff your skins down your top (so you never have to stop and take your pack off).
You could go the whole 9 yards and use super slick ski mountaineering race transitions also. These include 15sec or less skin off transitions, under 45sec skins on and the always impressive ski's on the pack with out stopping.
Check out the below video of Javi demonstrating how to quickly go from skinning to boot packing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tips for The Tour

With The Tour now only less than 6 weeks away I figured it might be nice to give a few tips to aspiring competitors.
This week's tip is a pretty obvious one. I can't remember were I heard/read it now but is a goodieand one I heard a few years ago when preparing for my first ski mountaineering race.
TIP # 1- Back country ski your ass off.
Like I said its a pretty obvious one, but it's surprising how few people really do it. Rock up early this weekend to your local ski hill and start skinning pre-opening (check with patrol first!). Do a lap (or 3) either in-bounds, or if the avalanche hazard is suitable (you can check HERE) head into the back country. Get familiar with your gear, the techniques and systems that you'll use.
Once you're done skinning then hit the lifts!
If you can't get to the snow, play around with your gear in the living room, getting familiar with it all. And go for a few runs, bike rides or hikes in the hill for your endurance.
Above all, make it fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Avalanche.Net.Nz E-Newsletter

"Most people casually access the backcountry through ski areas. Often they have no safety equipment and think that because of their proximity to the Ski Field they are somehow safe. This is wrong! The moment you set foot over the ski area boundary you are on your own, and you need to be prepared and equipped for the dangers you may encounter. One of these is the Avalanche danger. The backcountry snow pack is uncontrolled meaning it has not had explosive charges used to bring down avalanches before you go out there. Weak layers within the snow pack can persist for many weeks, and can remain sensitive enough to release under the weight of one person.

You are just as likely to get caught in an avalanche 10 meters from the ski area boundary as you are being deep in the Southern Alps. It is all uncontrolled."

-Gorden Smith

Read all of the Synopsis for week ending 4 August 2009 HERE

or go one better and sign up for the weekly e-mail newsletter HERE

Sunday, August 2, 2009

2009 'Burner

The 2008 CraigieBurner winner and organizer of the 2008 Ohau Backcountry Blast, Duncan Sherratt, will be organizing the '09 Burner.
The word from Duncan-
"The Scarpa Craigieburner ski mountaineering race will be taking place this year on the 5th of September at Craigieburn Valley Ski Area. As the oldest race of it’s kind in New Zealand it is certainly unique. Competitors will have the chance to use the lifts or their own steam to race around the mountain. It is essentially a day’s ski touring or club field skiing condensed into
about 1-2 hours. The event has a really good vibe as only you could get at a club ski field in New Zealand.
Gary Mac getting his Burn on
We’re again lucky to have awesome support from Scarpa, Marmot and Craigieburn Valley. Scarpa have generously offered two pairs of Scarpa ski boots for prizes. As they say you have to be into win so we hope to see you all there on the 5th of September. The ski boots will be given away as spot prizes. So all the more reason to turn up and ski quite quickly (up and down).
The scene at the finish line of the '08 Burner
The race will be kicking off at 10am. We’ll be up there from 8.30am taking registrations. We’ll have a few beers and laugh about the day later on in Koroheke Lodge.If you have any questions about the event check the blog, The blog will be updated with information, course details and entry information closer to the event."
Cheers Duncan

Saturday, August 1, 2009

THE TOUR- entry open!

Entry for The Tour Backcountry Ski Race is now open!
Click HERE for the entry form.
Expect the young fellow in the white & red suit in the photo above to be near the front of the pack at The Tour
"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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