After a week of very changeable weather, a high parked itself over the country and the sun fiercely came out and the wind finally dropped. Last Monday and Tuesday I headed out west at Whakapapa and rode my butt off, eeking out every possible minute of the day. There were minimal or no queues - this is what week day riding is all about! The snow was firm in the morning, but at about 10.30 or 11am it was as if someone flicked a switch and it softened... everywhere - spring riding goes off!
bluebirds - for 4 days straight!
Black Magic bowls - no one here
On the Wednesday and Thursday Ruapehu hosted the Export Extreme in the Pinnicles at Whakapapa. The top guys and girls were in town and heaps of locals had entered. I played support crew for Jordan Decker, our friendly ski patroller from Tukino. Back to defend his top placing in men's snowboard from last year, and he won again! Competitors had a precarious ascent up cut steps and ropes through the Elevator shaft above Broken Leg Gully, and then a high traverse across to the start line.
Both days were held on Policeman's, making the Schuss House at Hut Flat the place to be to take in all the action. As spectators, there was really no escaping the sun down here. And there was the constant reminder to slip slop slap from the MC's on the mic. It was down to T shirts as the pasty guns came out, mismatched from the grubby goggle tans we now all had. It really was the perfect spot to hang out and catch all the action in the afternoon between runs.
Jordan taking a drop at Policeman's
Dazza from K2 and I - in the spectator area
(Photo Credit - Dodge)
Highlight videos of the event can be found as SnowTV - day one and day two. Check it out. (You can see Jordan and I skate past behind Lorraine at 5mins 54 of the second clip, all 2 seconds of it)
I reckon the best sunsets are the ones you see while driving in your car when it is impossible to take a picture! On Mon/Tues/Wed, while driving back to Ohakune, Taranaki was hugely magnified on the horizon under burning red skies. On Thursday night Taranaki left us and there was a hint in the sky of the cloud, drizzle and wind that was promised to arrive the next day. Sunday afternoon it cleared and early this week looks like ditto conditions on the hill. I only wish I was there and not back at work, gazing across the harbour at boats and the Sky Tower.... I think a "working lunch" at the beach might be in order today!