I got back from an incredible trip to the Club Fields! The riding was the best I have experienced yet in New Zealand and whole environment there is pretty cool. We had a long drive back to Wanaka along the west coast of the south island, which was stunningly beautiful!
Yesterday, I met the rest of the U.S. Olympic Boardercross Team in Queenstown and we headed straight to Wanaka… after a few meat pies and a quick bungee jump session! I wasn’t going to do it at first, but after everyone decided to, I went for it! It was 10 times more scary than skydiving. The lead-up gets you pretty nervous while you watch everyone jump of this bridge, but the most nerve racking moment is standing on the jump platform. But immediately after you go for it, its nothing but fun! I wanted to go again.
Today we went up to Cardrona, a ski resort about 30 minutes outside of Wanaka. The snow was nice and slushy, the sun came out and shone through most of the day… it was about as good as it gets, other than a powder day. In the next few days the World Junior World Championship is happening in Cardrona and the skeleton for the Boardercross course was being built today. It looks like its shaping up to be a nice one! We will be running it all through the week.
It’s weird to have a Junior Worlds happening that I am not competing in… just a little while ago I was there. The last Junior Worlds I was at was in Italy and I got 2nd place. I have a little redemption to get… maybe I’ll hop into the race and claim the win anyway. ; )
Silver Medal World Junior Champs
Day 1 – Freestyle http://nzskier.com/videos/314/whc_-_day_1
Day 2 – Extremehttp://nzskier.com/videos/322/world_heli_challenge_2010
Callan was along for the adventure…
Pro Blog – Janina Kusma (click on link)
Bright and early this morning I headed out with two European girls I met down here, also competing in the World Heli Challenge, and we went to a place called the Club Fields. People have been talking about this mystical place the entire time I have been down here, every local says its the best place to be. So 6am this morning we began the 5 hour drive to the north of Wanaka. It went pretty smoothly then about a mile away from the destination one car ran out of gas… this is after we passed a million gas stations along the way and even fueled up the other car. Someone didn’t pay much attention and we ended up having to shuttle some gas. Little hiccup but our journey went on.
The Club Fields are on the northern area of the south island. They are a bunch of rustic “ski areas” that you have to hike up to and stay for cheap. They don’t have chairlifts, instead some really steep hard core tow ropes called nutcrackers that go up to places where you can hike to some pretty gnarly backcountry spots. You put all of your gear in a little tiny open faced tram at the bottom of the mountain, that looks like its from the 70’s. Then you hike an hour to the lodge about half way up the mountain. Its kind of like communal living up here, the price of staying here and skiing here is cheap so to offset it you have to do a few chores around the lodge… not a bad trade off.
I can’t wait to see what this place has to offer tomorrow. The snow is great and I’m super stoked!
The run Callan took. This is Travis. Photos Tony Harrington/World Heli Challenge
The venue from the bottom. Callan’s run is looker’s left/skier’s far right.
Yesterday was filled with the excitement of deer mustering and sheep-shearing (an ugly experience for the sheep).
She’s got a few days before the rest of the team arrives. Once they arrive, vacation is over…
I am going to the Club Fields with Aline and Ane this morning and we will be there until Thursday. [Aline Bock (rider, Austria) and Ane Enderud (skier, Norway) won the Challenge and ranked #1 on the World Freeride Tour.]
It sounds incredible, everyone says its the best place for backcountry and that the snow is really good right now. I guess it’s a little in the middle of nowwhere and you have to hike up to the lodge where you sleep, use sleeping bags and help out with chores for a discounted room and board.
Then you hike where ever you want and use tow ropes that are set up all over the mountains. I’m excited! We will be back to Wanaka on Thursday.
What a day!
The snow conditions were horrible, icy and hard so everybody took relatively conservative lines. I had in mind to do a run farthest to the right but wasn’t sure if the snow was good enough.
Once I got up to the top of the mountain, I followed a boot track all the way across to the farthest spot on the right and just one other person had in mind to do the same line… it happened to be the very famous and talented Travis Rice.
I got up there and took a look at the run, saw Travis drop into it but he took a slightly different one. The snow was absolutely horrible but I thought I would give her hell because everything else was so average and I wanted to make an impression.
So I dropped into it and successfully navigated my way down an incredibly steep and icy face. I did end up sliding a little on my butt at the last part but it couldn’t be helped due to the extremity of the run.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how it went. Whoo hoo!
WANAKA, NEW ZEALAND – AUGUST 05: Travis Rice of the USA competes during the Extreme Day of the World Heli Challlenge at Mount Aspiring National Park on August 5, 2010 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Content © 2010 Getty Images All rights reserved.