Category Archives: Richie Johnston, Wanaka, Richie, Johnston, Kidney, Snowboard, Whistler, Treble Cone, Wanaka

Peak 2 Peak

A much anticipated event to link the two ski mountains in Queenstown took place over the weekend…

Individuals and teams of two to five people race by ski/ snowboard, mountain bike, kayak, foot and road bike from the top of the Remarkables Ski Area to Coronet Peak. Team RISKY BISCUITS entered during the last week of registration with an select few semi-pro athletes from Wanaka & Hawea. With the help of an amazing support crew we had an amazing time racing.

The courses encompasses snow covered mountains, steep gravelled and tarmac ski field access roads, State Highways and tarmac rural roads, public reserve, public walking / cycling tracks, and Lakes Wakatipu and Hayes.

The Race
Stage 1: Ski/Board 2km – Colin Boyd
High on the Remarkables Ski Area. A mass start – run down to skis. Actual start determined by snow cover

Stage 2: Mtn Bike 17km – Richie Johnston
Down Remarkables road to Frankton Beach

Stage 3: Paddle 7km – Bob McLachlan
Frankton Beach to Queenstown Bay

Stage 4: Run 9km – Emily Wilson
From Queenstown Beach, through town and out to Coronet Alpine Hotel

Stage 5: Bike 9km – Mark Williams
From Coronet Alpine Hotel to the finish at the Coronet Peak Ski Area base

Approximately 73 teams entered. We came 4th over all – even with a mixed-team which we were quite proud about! We won the mixed teams category which was awesome. A fantastic result that kept us buzzed well into the evening. A huge Thanks goes out to parents, friends and the fun excited supporters along the way that kept the day run smoothly. Looking forward to next year already!

Photo: GPS Results of the DH Bike ride:

GPS results from my leg
GPS results from my leg

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Treble Cone Opening Day

We were fortunate to enjoy some of the best opening conditions in ten years. Treble Cone put on a great day with lines stretching as far as the Motatapu Shutes. Enjoy the video below made by Jase at Basket Productions.

Treble Cone Opening Day.

Somewhere near Whistler

Fortune shone upon us again one snowy day not long ago… A very cool group of guests (Bob & Cole) decided to take on a Private Charter with Powder Mountain Heli and another instructor (Sean) and I were invited along. We spent the day darting around the Brandywine Valley in an A-Star Heli scoring fresh snow and epic views. With the GoPro light flashing we dropped into some of the best snow and interesting lines I have ridden in a long time. The following video is an edit SnowPro made for us with the footage we shot from the day.

One year Transplant Anniversary

A year ago today my Dad and I were able to go through an operation that has changed our lives forever. What the surgeons and their team were able to do is quite extraordinary and has since given my Dad a new lease on life, in every sense. The new found energy, fitness and general well-being has helped him be more resourceful, healthier and ultimately happier. Mum and Dad are able to go on bike rides and enjoy their active lifestyle again like they used too.

Last week we designed and constructed a 6m long retaining wall which required a lot of digging and general grunt lifting everything into place. It makes me feel very proud and honored to have helped him feel the way he does now. It blows me away the improvements I have seen and I feel humbled to have made a difference.

As there is always a chance Rob’s immune system will reject the new Kidney, he will continue to take his medication every day for the rest of his life. It is also quite important to avoid periods of sun exposure as it can counter the usefulness of the drugs. The awareness and quality of our diets has always been pretty good and we continue to avoid foods which are loaded with preservatives and additives. Too much sodium in anyones diet cannot be a good thing and it is important that we give our Kidneys an easy work load to prolong their longevity.

It is pleasing to know that I have not noticed any physical limitations due to the operation. I continue to wear a helmet and spine jacket while snowboarding and do cross training, balancing exercises which give me a little piece of mind when I ride. The support from my Sister, Mum and those close to me means a great deal to me … bring on the next year!

Here is a photo of my most amazing and supportive parents!

10 months & 30 years

It was a little surreal attaching a Snow Park lift pass to my Mum’s snowboard jacket. Myself along with some of the Rookies were getting ready for a day of riding park, along with many pro riders warming up for a competition. Brook rode with the Rookie crew and it was really nice to shred with Mum for a day. How many can say that!?
30 years ago Mum and Dad celebrated bring me into the world! A little over 10 months Dad and I went through successful operations and recoveries from a Kidney transplant. So far so good! Below is a short video I made to say thanks to my Mum (and Dad) for everything they’ve done and said to bring me where I am today.

Thanks Mum! from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

15th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom

My heart beats faster and butterflies flap furiously. I strap my feet into my bindings and feel the board glide towards the start gate, this wax was a good choice. A blend of Rolling Stones and the announcers voice prepare me for my first run. Breathe!

This event is in memory of Neil Edgeworth, an influential Canadian snowboarder who passed away in 1997 in an avalanche in Chamonix, France while filming a photo shoot with friends.  The first banked slalom was in 1987 and was reintroduced in 1997 with an average of  245 people per year. A record 259 this year!

Once again, the Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom was a huge success. Riders young as 9 and old as 67 who love snowboarding come to Big White, BC and enjoy the spirit of competition. Keen riders, mostly from the Okanhagan and BC area ride down a natural gully full of ruts, berms and rollers. Crashes and fast runs are equally cheered with support even coming from the Ridge Rocket chairlift which passes overhead.

Flynn Seddon, Director of Terrain Park at Big White Ski Resort “The Neil Edgeworth banked slalom has defined itself as an epic true spirit gathering for the sport of snowboarding.  The gathering represents what snowboarding is all about and that is friends having fun.  The industry sponsors who support the banked slalom showed just how much it means to be a part of the weekend by donating over $25,000 worth of prizing and $5000 dollars in cash.”

My best time was done on day one, 1:18:98 placing me 1st place from 54 riders in the Male 25-34 category. During the presentation Flynn shared to everyone about my Kidney donation at the beginning of the season. I think it is awesome for people to know that donors can recover quickly and get on with their passions in life, with one of mine being snowboarding with friends.

2012 Neil Edgeworth Memorial results:

Thanks to all the Events & Terrain Park crew, Cathy from BC Snowboard Association, competitors, spectators, families and friends who made all this possible.

Photo credit: Jonnie Millan

It’s been 10 weeks!

Ten weeks ago my Dad and I underwent surgery in Christchurch Hospital. My procedure was an Open Nephrectomy, to give him a new lease on life by donating my left Kidney. 2011 presented some unprecedented challenges for both family and myself that I could never have anticipated. Although tough and stressful at times, I reflect on my journey and see it as more learning and appreciation for this life I lead.

An already strong bond within our family grew even though we live, at times a great distance apart. Our holistic approach to life helped us acknowledge the negatives and encourage the positives. The Initially I was afraid. The “What ifs” consumed my thoughts and I was scared for my Dad and my personal health. The more I researched the donation process and reading/listening to stories of success the more I wanted to go through with it. When I found out my blood and tissue type was a match with my Dad, I was overwhelmed with excitement.

Since the operation the 20cm scar is a reminder of my Dad, support of friends & family and general love for life. With the help of incredible surgery and hospital facilities, the donation has evolved to become a privilege for me. The bond between my Dad and I has reached a new level and as I read back on previous blog posts, all our goals have come true. He has the energy and freedom to do the things to better fulfil his life and share those experiences with Mum. Dialysis was super helpful and kept him alive and it was great to see his diligence with diet, routine and responsibility.

It has now become a new responsibility to look after his new gift, which his immune system could reject at any time. The assortment of drugs he takes will encourage his body to accept the new organ and this can last up to ten years functioning well. With his two redundant kidneys still left (which now probably resemble raisins) and my new one, he can return to a life full of enjoyment weather its dancing with Mum, biking, skiing and volunteering at local events.

Below is are some highlights from the weekend. After teaching a guest in Whistler, he and his mother shouted myself and Kenrae on a Cat trip into the hills just South of Whistler. Deep powder and large grins every run, every turn. It’s been a true test of my patience waiting until my body was ready for riding again,  an awesome way to remember 10 weeks on and celebrate it with waist deep freshies.

Thanks for reading and watching!

Cat Boarding from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

Another inspiring talk from TED

You know that stuff that can be hard to talk about? Brene Brown presents a TED talk which walks us through some research that helps define how we deal with our emotions. Nobody is perfect, interpret this how you will, at the end of the day being honest with ourselves and others is paramount.

Cycling around some Alps

One of the reasons for taking on a trip like this was to get myself in the best shape possible prior to donating one of my Kidneys to Dad. Anyone can get in a car and enjoy this part of the world, however the experience becomes so much richer on many different levels using a bike. As I edit this trip together I am counting down the days before I can snowboard again. I’m in Whistler, Canada and it’s been almost 5 weeks since the transplant and I feel pretty good to ride next week!

The video below is a documented video of Christina & I cycling around part of the Southern Alps of New Zealand. We enjoyed surprisingly nice weather considering the coast’s damp reputation, that was until the last day arriving home in Wanaka.

Powered by copious amounts of snacks including One Square Meals, Whittakers Chocolate and assorted nuts we claimed 1026km over 8 1/2 days.

Wanaka – Makarora – Lake Paringa – Fox – Hokitika – Arthurs Pass – Methven – Farlie – Omarama – Wanaka

Thank you to all our friends and family who met at the Federal Diner in Wanaka and supported us. Enjoy the 6 minute and 30 second to showcase the awesome trip we did.

Alps Loop from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

Sister, Rose and her husband Jackson

My sister Rose her husband Jackson are not your typical couple who enjoy their mountain biking… Check out this little video I made of them enjoying some downhill tracks in Victoria Park, Christchurch two weeks ago.

Tandem Mountain Biking – Rose & Jackson Green from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.