3rd Place at the NZ Freeski Open

The big mountain contest for the NZ Freeski Open was held today in the Motatapu Chutes at Treble Cone. Conditions turned out to be better than expected, with firm yet grippy snow. Shutting down after any bigger drop was very challenging today, so most skiers opted for more technical lines in steep and rocky terrain which is actually very suited to the chutes. I decided to ski the venue on my Kästle FX84 (84mm under the binding) which I usually use for groomers and firm snow conditions. I was able to come in third after a fast run with good technique. New Zealand Olympian Mitchey Greig came in 2nd with Janina Kuzma taking first place for the 6th time in a row. Yeah girls!

Womens podium NZ Freeski Open Big Mountain

The next contest in the NZ Freeride Series is the K2 Big Mountain Chill Series, a 2-star event from 25 to 29 August in Craigieburn and Mt. Olympus, followed by the Export Gold Extreme, a 3-star event in Mt. Ruapehu, which I will hopefully be starting at!

Training and Playing in Wanaka, NZ

I decided to spend 2 months in Wanaka, New Zealand, again this year. I felt fantastic after 3 months training and competing here last year, and was skiing stronger than ever. There was a down-side though: after back-to-back winters of skiing and not enough time in the gym, I’ve started developing tendinitis in my patella on my operated knee. Wake up call! So it’s back to the gym to do some strengthening work. Luckily for me, I’m under the very competent care of Ginny Bush from Wanaka Physio, chief physiotherapist for New Zealand’s Winter Olympics team.

Strength training in the gym

Lots of strengthening work can be done outside the gym too

As a skier, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to train than Wanaka. Freeriding at Treble Cone ski resort, park skiing at Snow Park and Cardrona resort, mountains for hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing, 2 fully equipped gyms, Wanaka skate park, olympic sized trampolines, Yoga, Pilates, you name it!

Hiking up Mt. Roy

It's never too late to learn something new!

After a week off skis, I was able to head up to Treble Cone again today on a perfect, blue-bird day. Conditions have improved after a substantial dump of fresh snow of 20cm on 7th August. Temps have been low since then so the snow is still dry. The knee is feeling good.

View from the Summit at Treble Cone. Notice Mt. Aspiring in the background, top right.

The New Zealand Freeski Open Big Mountain, which I’m prequalified for, is on 16th August. Other comps here include the K2 Big Mountain Chill Series and the Export 33 Extreme in Mt. Ruapehu. I’ve decided to compete if I’m feeling fit and strong enough, so stay tuned to see how I go!

Ohau I love to ski!

It snowed last week. We decided to avoid battling it out with the powder-crazed skiers and snowboarders in Treble Cone and to head to Ohau instead, a small ski area with 1 double chair which takes you to the top of a beautiful bowl of off-piste terrain. I was going there with Camilla Stoddart, up and coming photographer here and overseas, as well as a crew of boys from NZ Skier magazine.  We left at 7 am sharp to be up at the Ohau ski area 2 hours later.

Ohau excited I was to ski the fresh pow pow!

Ohau excited I was to ski the fresh pow pow!

Ohau ski patrol was spooked. Some serious slab avalanches had covered the road in debris in two places and had taken out the shed, where the dynamite safe as well as the tools were stored. We had to wait for the roads to clear, the powder frenzy was thick in the air.

The tool shed was destroyed by an avalanche

The tool shed was destroyed by an avalanche

1 hour later, we had made it up! There were still freshies to be had, and since the light for shooting wasn’t great yet, we could indulge in a couple of warm-up runs. The powder was great and people were hooting, having a ball!

Small but heaps of fun

Small but heaps of fun

The boys put on a great show throwing massive back and front flips over a decent sized cliff. All 3 of them stomped the landing first go, and all 3 of them crashed and burned the 2nd time. The snow had become quite firm during the course of the day, a regular occurance here due to the mild temperatures.

Pete Oswald sending it

Pete Oswald sending it

Camilla took this photo of me at the end of the day.

Ohau I love that spray!

Ohau I love that spray!

Back to the snow: Wanaka, NZ

After having spent 3 weeks in Wanaka last year, I decided right then and there to do a whole season in this awesome lakeside town located on the South Island of New Zealand. Only a 30 minute drive to Treble Cone, arguably NZ’s best ski resort, Wanaka is to be my home for the next 3 months.


Here I will ski and compete in the New Zealand Freeride Series, consisting of: the NZ Freeski Open Big Mountain at Treble Cone, the K2 Big Mountain Chill Series at Craigieburn and Mt. Olympus, and the Export Gold Xtreme at Whakapapa, Mt Ruapehu. This is the first ever Southern Hemisphere Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) Event and I’m stoked to be part of it!

I’m pre-qualified for the big mountain finals for the NZ Freeski Open because I podiumed last year. The finals are on the 14th August, wish me luck!

NZ Freeski Open_Logo