Winter buzz | The annual TC slog.

There is a constant layer of frost in my backyard that continues to remind me winter is here to stay. The mountains start opening this weekend and there are plenty of excited people in town anticipating a great season ahead!

7am:
Tom & I hit the road bound for Treble Cone’s access road. Maybe we should’ve ridden from town but our coffees would spill.

Ready to roll
Ready to roll

7:30:
With a very short warm-up, we ride from the TC arch and start shedding layers…

Continue reading Winter buzz | The annual TC slog.

Contact Epic | The most EPIC ride

Fitness aside, food preparation for a ride like this is critical. After experiencing the early stages of being hangry two years ago, I had to ensure the perfect snacks and lunch was packed for the 125km ride. Wrap ingredients from Fedeli were ideal!

Ready to roll the night before...
Ready to roll the night before…

The EPIC ride clockwise day ride around Lake Hawea was my first so it was important to pace myself and spread out my energy. As we jostled for position, staying with a pack of riders with similar cadence seemed to work well. Cheers of support from the friendly farmers and locals made all the difference, especially those at Hunter Valley station!

Continue reading Contact Epic | The most EPIC ride

A great stroll| The Routeburn, Fiordland

Saying we walked the Routeburn sounds so boring… We Strolled the Routeburn and soaked in all her glory! With the size of our packs, we really had no choice … 

  

It’s been 18 years since I last had the fortune to spend time on this track, well worth the return and the company I had made it that much better. Ashley, Erin and I spent 2 nights and almost 3 days on the track staying in the DOC huts along the way.


  

The biggest difference I noticed this time was the massive decrease in bird life. The introduced Stoat aka the incredibly well adapted native bird killer were prolific and were the main cause behind the dramatic drop in bird life. Once teaming with a frenzy of bird calls and vibrant bush, we were left with a green paradise left in silence, with only the sound of a booming waterfall in the distance.


  
To say the DOC staff were oozing with passion for nature was an understatement. Each night they would present a conservation speech to the happy campers.
Each night we rested our legs and reflected on the day of strolling through paradise.  Even without the Kiwi, Tui, Kakapo and other natives we were still treated to a gizillion waterfalls, streams, lush bush and springs we could drink from along the way.



Cruising Milford was the cherry on top… We marveled at 140km gusts and what they did to the water over the narrow Fiord. Trickles turned into Gushers and Waterfalls turned into Water-ups! 

 

I hope in another 18 years we can return to the area with the new generation of nature lovers and cherish the native birds once again while we stroll through paradise.

Sting Ray is delicious… | Biking Queen Charlotte Sounds

After spending much of my Summer guiding multi day cycle trips down the West Coast of the South Island, it was time to hit the trails – at my own pace! Tommy Parker, Keith Stubbs and I packed up my truck with the necessities, including a decent rain jacket, snacks & headed toward the Alps. From Wanaka, it was going to take 3.5 hours to get to Frans Josef where there is a 4km loop track, just north of the township. After hearing of the recent deluge there, we were happy to know the track was intact, due to a passionate few local shredders.

Camping with the fellas
Camping with the fellas

It begins at Ship Cove | Queen Charlotte Track
It begins at Ship Cove | Queen Charlotte Track

KBS_Queen-Charlote-Sounds_160322_117
Richie Johnston – Queen Charlotte Sounds | Image: Keith Stubbs
It gets me stoked to know the local councils and government is pumping cash into creating and extending trails. The West Coast Wilderness trail is over 120km of track that will keep riders with a range of abilities happy. The section from Ross to Hokitika starts off super flat, however the bush near Mahinapua makes for great bush riding with small gradients.

Continue reading Sting Ray is delicious… | Biking Queen Charlotte Sounds

Coaching | Now online with BK PRO

It’s an exciting time to be a coach. Especially when technology mixed with a dream lines up to create something unique and engaging.

I will be part of a team coach Bud Keene has put together to initiate coaching through his new online application BKPRO.

If you are training towards an Instructors exam or need some feedback on your carving, freestyle or bumps this will be an invaluable resource.

Look for my free & paid rider tip videos throughout the season ahead. If you have any questions about how you can get involved, just ask!

 

Select your coach

Continue reading Coaching | Now online with BK PRO

Japanuary | Snorkles optional 

All up in the nostrils | shot Keith Stubbs

How can it be so much fun riding through deep snow? The anticipation of a powder day creates a universal energy in a town filled with powder-hounds. The common interest to score that night (night-riding in Niseko is very good) or early the next day is priority, people even leave bars early! Well, the clever ones do anyway.

Ultimate Snow Search Japan guide and shred buddy… Keith Stubbs.

It’s not often shredders here have the privilege of seeing Mt Yōtie, so when she appears, out of respect, we take the time to enjoy the view. I have yet to climb her, but she’s on the list of things-to-do during my trip here. 

I have the pleasure of saying Mum & I are going snowboarding, in Japan! How many of us can say that?!

Niseko Academy road trip – Powder Detours
Ready to shred.
She tears it up. Powder, groomers & park you name it. She’s a legend. Niskeo Academy have a more senior Powder Detour product which gives here the opportunity to shred at a variety of mountains in the area with other people her own ability. Happy days. I joined her on a couple of days earlier in the week which were fun checking out spots in Anapouri Niskeko & a local mountain called Kiroro.  The plan is to ride as much pow as possible within the 3 weeks we have here. A road-trip with Keith Stubbs & friends to Asahidake along with checking out the Sapporo Ice festival. Mean-while we are super stoked to be here and are fortunate to have the opportunity to ride here. Snorkles optional. 

Stubbsy sending it

  

Walk through a fridge door and anything can happen…
 

Hot or cold … 24/7

Westland | Shades of Green

I feel privileged to spend so much time exploring my home country. To some it is an insect sucking, wet & simple part of the world but to me it provides infinite opportunities to explore. The people who I am fortunate to travel with, value a sense of adventure much like me, it is contagious and I love it.

With the wind and sun (sometimes) on me I ride the VBT bike with up to 20 guests down some of the most beautiful highway in the world. I hear the waterfalls, see the tree canopy above me and feel so much more on a bike. Being on tour allows me to balance the food indulgence and physical activity perfectly!

With up to 6 tours a Summer, the time away from Wanaka can be tough. When driving & riding toward Central Otago I see the shades of green fade and the tones of brown remind me of home. It’s great to be back.

I am currently in Hokitika during the 3rd tour of the season and we were just treated to another epic sun-set. Enjoy the shots from the tours so far along with a favorite quote.

Look deep into nature and you will understand ~ Albert Einstein

 

Keen as for Summer!

It was a fun afternoon charging around the Millennium track with Dom Channon, bikes and cameras. The awesome crew at Icebreaker needed some photos of their new Corespun merino so we found a cool beach and went to work. A huge thanks to Dom for his time & creativity along with Icebreaker for the continued support!

The summer ahead seems like a great balance between sun & snow… There are a couple of bike trips lined up with VBT which will mean plenty of exploring on the West coast of the South Island. We stay in Hokitika, Frans Joesef, Moeraki, Queenstown & Christchurch.

If you happen to be in Japan late Janurary & early Feb, hit me up! I’ll be shredding pow with my Mum (who also rides) in the Niseko area.

 

 

Road Trip | 2382km through Chile

Our truck skids toward a barrier, we narrowly miss an oncoming 4×4 with trailer in tow. The dust settles and we almost shit ourselves. In contrast to the locals chilled out lifestyle and ‘Chilean Time’ they can be hectic drivers! Fortunately my co-pilots Sam & Keith were above average back-seat drivers and kept us safe while driving our late model Nissan truck.

Sam Smith, Keith Stubbs and I had just finished a super busy time representing SBINZ in Ushuaia, Argentina and it was time to enjoy some more of what South America had to offer. We said our goodbyes to the rest of the team in Santiago and checked into somewhere central city.
Chilean flags were everywhere as they celebrated their national day. We jumped at our first opportunity to buy one from a guy at a toll gate and strap it to the hood of our Wicked Camper 4×4. It almost helped us blend in although we were mistaken for Gringos most of the time until we said All Blacks or New Zealand when questioned. How instant their attitude changed, two islands off the coast of Chile we would say and it was all good from there.
Check this epic snap-shot of the trip by Keith Stubbs:
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/140530575″>Chile Time</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/keithstubbs”>Keith Stubbs</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>
The snow in La Plava was average, firm and fast however the friendly locals – some of which the boys and I had met during Interski made up for it! The start of each day there would consist of packing up our camper, hanging out with the snow school and sampling their traditional BBQ. We met up the infamous Diaz family, all of which are somehow connected to the snow industry through instruction, professional riding/skiing and accommodation.  We shared stories from where each of us had traveled to while we sampled the local beer.
From here we set off south of Santiago, deep into the hills of Chillån and rode Farrilones, Nevados de Chillan, and Corralco. Classic spring conditions for the most part with a couple of powder days in the Nevados area.  There is plenty of terrain to choose from and super friendly local instructors to show us around which was great for us! Pretty much all our lift passes were taken care of in exchange for a couple of photos to help boost their social media. Corralco Resort was one of the finest we visited. Perched on the side of a volcano we had the pleasure of enjoying sun filled days as we build a kicker in one of the natural pipes.
After chatting with the locals, we learned of a locals hot pool 15km off the road down a winding gravel road. Nestled in the trees and bush – very similar to NZ was a wooden hut and natural springs. We soon realised we were the only foreigners there and it was not long until we chatted with each other, sharing an insight of where we had come from and where our path was to lead us.
After spending all this time in the mountains and sunshine, we figured a night on the coast was the perfect way to finish up our trip. Pichilemu was our beach town of choice on the way home. We packed away our snowboards after riding some of Chile’s finest mountains and decided to enjoy the coast. Expecting a bustling surf beach town with bikinis, boardshorts and BBQ, we turned up to find much of the town very sleepy! It did not phase us too much in the end because our bodies needed a break from the late nights and socialising. We used the 4×4 to drive along the beach until we found a spot to enjoy the sunset. Campfire, dinner and cervezas on the beach was definitely a highlight. Our accommodation that night – a million billion star rating. It was so refreshing to enjoy a complete contrast to the last few weeks and spend time reflecting on the trip in South America.

What a privilage to see such a beautiful country. Even though we were a huge ocean apart, because of the similar latitude many times it felt like home. The simple life, qualities of Chile & South America we can all admire.

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