“Shred the Gnar!” USA 2011

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I finally got around to sorting through the USA photos! Sorry there are rather a lot, but you know me – I like to shoot the crap out of everything! These 2 albums include my selection of Justin’s photos, & the photos roughly in chronological order. Enjoy!Ps. Video coming soon!

Pps. Read the photo descriptions – I put in my thoughts on each mountain amongst other stuff.

Pps. Thanks to Owen & Kim for inspiring me to pop over at the 11th hour, Thanks to Ullr for providing such consistent snowfalls, & most of all thanks to Justin for putting up with me for 2 weeks!

“Shred the Gnar!” Snowboarding 2011 – Part 1

“Shred the Gnar!” Snowboarding 2011 – Part 2

A few of the best photos >


Owen’s Queenstown Report for 26/08 to 02/09/2006

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OK… OK… we should’ve been here last week – stop rubbing our bloody noses in it ya kiwi bastards. At least that’s what I felt like saying to every git on the lift who kept talking about the foot of fresh they’d scored 3 days before we got to Queenstown. Freshies or no freshies, it was still a good chance to do a good scout around the area.

First up, the costs and logistics of getting there were cheaper and easier than any trip to the Australian mountains. We sourced a standard package deal that cost about $1500 pp that included direct flights from sydney to Queenstown, 7 days car hire and accomm and a 5 day pass that could be redeemed at any mountain and most of the other activities in the area if the weather closed in (jet boats, bungy etc.). We were even able to throw some credit card loyalty points at the bill to bring it down to around $1200 each. Bargain!

Flying direct was a doozie – a comfortable 8am flight (chauffeur driven to the airport by Mr Ferguson), 3 hrs in the air with a spectacular route over Fiordland and the main range, and on the ground around in time for a late lunch after grabbing the car and finding the hotel.

Queenstown itself is a proper alpine village to rival anything in Europe with loads of good restaurants, bars and shops and plenty to do if you’re not up the mountain. The crowd there’s also much more international than I would’ve expected, and you were just as likely to be on a lift with a german, irish or japanese as you were some bogan farkin ozzie.

Our hotel was a 10 minute buzz up the hill to Coronet Peak on a road that didn’t make you feel like you were going to drop of the edge at every corner. I’d always pictured Coronet as being the lamest of all the mountains in the area, so thought it’d be a good place to warm up on the first day. It was pure bluebird skies when we got there, and had been cold enough to keep the snow from a few days ago crisp and fluffy (although no fresh lines to be had). Being a Sunday we expected the worst crowd-wise, but the high speed quad and six seater chairs accessing the summit meant no more than a few minutes wait at any time. Although the peak’s only 1600m and base 1100m, the groomers are well spaced and there’s plenty of high speed thigh burners to have a good play on. There’s also plenty of good beginner’s runs and it’d be a perfect place to take the kiddies or anyone else just starting out. On a powder day the back bowls look like they’d be fun too, with a number of steep chutes to drop and a couple of spots you could ride out to the road at the end of the day. As far as terrain parks go, Coronet is definitely the least developed but still had a couple of decent kickers and a few rails.

The next day we did the drive around to Cardrona, which takes about an hour from Queenstown, up the road towards Wanaka. The first view you get of the mountain as you pull into the car park is of a perfectly manicured park running the entire length of the front valley, serviced by a high speed quad. This is complemented by two beautifully cut half pipes accessed by another lift (not high speed) that can be ridden one after the other. The park quality was definitely on-par with anything I’d seen in Europe or North America, with the riders to do it justice too. A cat track takes you around to the other side of the mountain serviced by another older quad. The groomed terrain is awesome – super wide runs and a number of big, open bowls to fang down at high speed – but I couldn’t see much in the way of off-piste terrain that didn’t require a big traverse for a few short turns down a couple of chutes. The north westerly wind started to pick up while we were there, which slowed the older chairs way down and meant there was a big choke on the only high speed quad. On the opposite side of the valley to Cardrona is SnowPark – a dedicated terrain park only mountain – so if you like big booters, this is definitely the area to check out.

Day 3 took us to The Remarkables, only 15kms or so from Queenstown, 11kms of which is up a vertigo inducing dirt road. The mountain is north-facing, so was copping a good whack from the north westerly wind, but there’s two big basins that are quite well sheltered. The snow was a bit worse for wear here, as it’s more susceptible to a daily melting in the sun and overnight re-freeze. The main downside to the Remarkables is all the lifts are older quads, but this is balanced by the off-piste terrain that can be accessed. If it was a big powder day, I’d be heading straight here for the big chutes and steeps that you can get to with a quick traverse or hike over the back. The classic run is “Homeward Bound” which drops a couple of kms straight down to the road where you get picked up by a regular shuttle bus and back to the base station. Even without new snow, it was still quite fun in the afternoon as the snow softened up. The terrain park here was also quite good, but the half pipe wasn’t serviced by a lift which meant loads of trudging if that’s your thing.

The wind still hadn’t abated by day 4, but it was still sunny so we did the 1 1/2hr drive up to Treble Cone from Queenstown only to find they had one of their two main lifts on wind hold and a mega queue cramming the one still open. The thought of standing in line all day was too much, so we zipped back down the hill and kept driving up the valley into Mt Aspiring national park and hiked up to a glacier instead (without boards) through an awesome hobbit forest underneath constantly avalanching peaks. TC is apparently the pick for off-piste, and they’re likely to approve a new $20m gondola in the next few months that goes right from the valley floor. Wanaka’s a cool town too – much like a bigger version of Jindabyne and definitely the hang for all the cool kids (BYO studded belt and do-rag).

We didn’t want to get stung by wind hold on day 5, so did the quick zip back up to Coronet Peak to see what was happening. The lifts were open, so we went up for a couple of runs before the gusts started hitting 100kmh and they shut the whole mountain. So – back in the rental car to burn some more unlimited kms to a national park near Te Anau (Fiordland) for another hobbit hunt through an ancient beech forest. It’s only when you go into these original forests that you realise how much the Kiwis have flattened the original forests right up to the snow line in most cases. A few trees left on some ski runs might actually mean they can keep lifts open on the windy days! The clouds were rolling in over Fiordland, and there was a glimmer of hope for a dump on our final day…

Of course it wasn’t to be, so we headed back up to Coronet for a final day’s sliding. Amazingly, when I went to the ticket window and asked if they were offering any rebate for the previous day’s wind-hold, they gave us totally FREE replacement tickets for that day. Being so used to Australian mountains bleeding you dry at every opportunity, this was almost the highlight of the trip, but this is actually a normal experience in NZ. Skiing and boarding is still an accessible holiday you don’t need to re-mortgage the house for and the mountain managers seem to have this weird policy of keeping customers happy so they consider coming back again.

And so, on our final morning, the rain rolled in behind the hot north westerlies and shut down every mountain in the area. The big dump never came, the helis never took off, but we left already thinking about the next trip there…


Mt Aspiring

The Remarkables

Remarkables Panorama


Coronet Peak

NZ Alps

Decent dump makes up for r**n

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All resorts did suprisingly well from the snowfalls following the r**n on Thursday. Thredbo & Charlottes Pass both reported 25cm, Perisher Blue 15cm. Unfortunately for the Mexicans, the Victorian hills all received a bit less.

Perisher Blue


The forecast for around the 2-3rd is improving, so cross all your appendages that we will see some more typical weather patterns for the rest of winter, & those stupid blocking high pressure systems will finally weaken!

This is the best I have seen the Unisys MRF look all season – check the big finger of blue reaching up to the mainland on the 2nd, that’s what we like to see :)

Some snow after the r**n

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After a horrible amount of r**n yesterday, the forecast snow has arrived, & apparently it’s snowing a lot lower than expected – in fact I just heard it’s snowing in Jindabyne!

So it’s good news for those heading to the alps this weekend! It’ll be interesting to see how much snow actually falls today.

Thredbo 8am

Thredbo 12pm

Thredbo report 31/7-3/8 by Al Ferg

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The lodge now has broadband & a wireless router, so i can do on-site snow reports – sweet! We have also had the place to ourselves all week, which has been luxurious – like staying at a rich uncles huge house :)

This weeks LPL crew consists of me – al ferg – & my 3 brothers, andrew, douglas, & graeme, plus andrew’s mates alex & mick. Rob, Pat & Clare also joined us for a couple of nights at the start. I’m pretty excited to be snowboarding with all my brothers for the first time, as we all love our boarding, so it’s a great excuse to have a holiday together.

It’s been a suprisingly impressive week on the mountain, considering how little snow has fallen this season. On Sunday night it snowed 10-15cm, & Monday was blizzards/windy, so Thredbo was fairly quiet, allowing us to bag all the best fresh tracks all day long. Once the in-bounds powder was mostly tracked out, we braved the blizzard & headed high to the Golf Course Bowl (GCB), & were amazed to only find a couple of tracks & all the upper glades full of powder! The snow depth started to run out 1/2 way down, with heaps of bushes still poking through, so there was a 10 minute walk through the bush to the Funnelweb run, but that was a small price to pay for being amongst the first people to ride the GCB this season!

Tuesday the sun was out & suddenly the place was packed! It seemed like all the locals & 1/2 of Canberra had the day off, & were making the most of the best conditions yet this season. We still managed to find plenty of untracked snow, & checked out the terrain parks.

All week the temps have stayed very low, so the snow has remained cold, dry & soft, which is pretty unusual for Oz. This afternoon, it snowed huge fat flakes for about 2 hrs, falling straight down in zero wind, producing around 3-5cm of fluff on top – nice! A couple of laps of on the GCB produced more lovely freshies, & even the cornice of far skiers right of the upper GCB is nicely formed now.

Hopefully there will be more snow tonight – friday freshies would be a superb way to end an awesome week :)

Al Ferg.

Monday – fresh tracks at 9am on the Supertrail

Monday – Graeme bashing the Bluff

Monday – Graeme in the lower GCB

Monday – Douglas contemplating the bushy hike-out in the lower GCB, while Graeme digs himself out of a hole

Tuesday – the lads at the top of GCB

Tuesday – back-lit vapour trails in the tracked out glades of the lower CGB

Wednesday – Douglas flicking a 180 off the funbox at High Noon

Thursday – snow depth indicator at the exit from GCB

Thursday – dumping on the Funnelweb

Thursday night – Michaels crevasse… (sorry ladies, this was just too funny, I had to put it in!)

Remarkable Remarkables!

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From snow.co.nz:

Neil Burgess wading through 40cm of freshies at The Remarkable yesterday. The is bigger than any single storm last winter!!

Looking good – shot on the way up to Whakapapa this morning. Roll on June 16th!!!!

Boarding at Mt Baw Baw today!

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It looks like Mt Baw Baw, which is only 2.5hrs from Melbourne, has copped the full force of the recent snowfalls! Judging by the photos, there’s at least 10cm – pretty good for April!

Pics & video borrowed from Kahanamoku & Alex C on this ski.com.au forum thread – follow the link for more details.

Kahanamoku at Mt Baw Baw – “…a Frontside 180 indy on todays tank hill kicker.”

Telemark skiier at Mt Baw Baw – “…was pretty firm and almost felt groomed.”

Even the picnic table was happy about the pre-season snow

More early snow

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A few snow-showers across the alps today. Perisher Blue cams show the best view of the results.

From the Perisher Blue site:

It’s snowing again. Snow started falling around 7.30 this morning and is getting heavier as the day goes on.
It feels like the middle of winter with wind chill down to -2.5°C at the bottom of Smiggin Holes and -6.7 at the botom of the Summit Chair. More snow is predicted over the weekend, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

View from Perisher Blue tube station

Perisher Blue – Front Valley, 9am

Perisher Blue – Front Valley, 1pm

Autumn Snow

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The cold arctic wind over the last few days brought a suprising 15cm+ to the mountains! A significant fall for this early in the year, although it’s very unlikely to stick, but hey – any snow is good snow! It will at least help cool the ground for when the real snow comes. & remember – dont believe the ski resort hype – they will all be claiming its a sign of a “bumper season” but there is no way of knowing that, only time will tell…

If you want to get the best value sliding this season, dont forget to buy yourself a Thredbo Card. $42 joining fee gets you $12 off a daily lift ticket & every 8 days you get a free day, so it’s perfect for the “weekend warrior”. Details on the Thredbo site.

Front Valley, Perisher Blue, looking almost good enough for a slide!

View from Perisher Blue tube station

Photos by Principal Douglas, borrowed from ski.com.au Moosh forum

Nagano, Japan – gallery 1

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Here’s my first go at organising all the photos into a “best of” collection. I still have to collect everyone else pics… & then there’s the videos… so much media! Click the Nozawa Onsen’s icon, the skiing pickle, to see the gallery.

Japan 2006 Gallery

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