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    haven’t found any snow yet, but the waves at raglan are pretty nice! gonna be climbing this saturday by wharepapa south and then heading to taranaki probably on sunday if any one happens to be in those areas. i’ll try to summit taranaki if the snow permits and i can find someone to go with…

    rare moment of no rain this morning at manu bay

    some surfer far more skilled than myself

    wainui beach


    Jealous dude, beautiful country down there…

    Have you been to Queenstown yet? Trust me dude, make sure you go to Arrow town for meat pies :thumpsup:

    Not one of my better performances, but what an incredible trip:

    ^^Can’t embed this for the life of me, lil’ help?


    @sdmarkus wrote:

    Jealous dude, beautiful country down there…

    Have you been to Queenstown yet? Trust me dude, make sure you go to Arrow town for meat pies :thumpsup:

    Not one of my better performances, but what an incredible trip:

    ^^Can’t embed this for the life of me, lil’ help?



    ben turned up at mt ruapehu, went for a fun skin up the southern side of the mountain..scored some nice conditions for early season…good to meet another splitter and talk/ share some concepts… :thumbsup:

    shot of ben on the sentury split


    awesome shot, nick! thanks! here’s a few of my photos….

    after abandoning my plans to summit mt taranaki due to persistent fog and rain most of the way up the mountain, i headed east in search of snow.

    while waiting for the weather to clear, i climbed part of the tongariro crossing, and celebrated my first snowy footprints in the southern hemisphere with the last of my jack daniels.

    i also found some rather uninviting hot springs.

    fortunately, the weather cleared the next day, so i headed up mt ruapehu to the closest resort–whakapapa. they were only running one lift, with less than 100ft of gain, so i opted to splitboard. trying to decide how discreet i needed to be in my approach, i went to the ski patrol office, where they practically encouraged me to climb through their resort and even called up their snow safety guy to brief me on the snow conditions. damn it’s nice to get away from american tort law!!!

    the coverage was pretty poor down low, so i had to do a bit of scrambling before i got to try out my new board for the first time.

    but soon i was above the level of the resort and into some decent snow. i hiked along this edge looking for a good spot to start my run, and made a mental note of the gnar in the background… bet that’ll be ready to go by midwinter.

    my first tracks in new zealand were also my first tracks on my new sentury dimension board.

    the next day i met up with a local splitter, nick (ghaniman), and we headed up the southwest side of ruapehu above his local ski field, turoa (none of the 3 resorts on this mountain go anywhere near the summit, where all the good early season snow is).

    as we neared the summit, heavy cloud cover started to roll quickly up the mountain, so we decided to turn around and ride while we could still see.

    nick led the way into some fast high density powder and took off shredding before i could get a proper photo…

    then he shot that sweet photo of me when i finally caught up near the bottom of the run.

    i was contemplating taking off to head south, but this one line that nick pointed out to me yesterday kept haunting my thoughts…. and in the end i could not bear to leave without hiking back up to check it out.

    but first, a stop at the summit to see the ominously steaming lake in the ruapehu crater.

    and then on to the goods… i don’t think i would have been able to leave the north island satisfied without bagging this line.

    if you ever find yourself in the town of ohakune near the turoa resort, make sure you look up nick. he’s a fun guy and a great rider and knows his mountain well… and his cabins have the only good shower i’ve found anywhere in the country. make sure you ask to watch the old snowboard videos he shot and edited!

    now, time to head south…


    You have got to stop talking about NZ, the drool is wrecking my keyboard.
    I’ll be in Wanaka in 8 weeks, cant wait.
    Our first ozzie BC trip is in 4 weeks, just waiting to get the wire out of my foot from a broken toe while surfing.
    If you are game check out the photos :thumbsdown:
    Pin out on Wed and in the Hills on Friday.
    Then look out NZ here we come!!

    Adam West


    when i arrived on the south island, i found that my weather mojo was fading… the precipitation had stopped following me. so i took a couple weeks to explore and visit friends while i awaited the return of the snow-clouds.

    hiking in paparoa national park. it’s important to be prepared!

    jules stopped by and we did some climbing outside christchurch.

    there wasn’t much snow yet at arthur’s pass, so we climbed some rock there too.

    it took a full day of hiking to get to the welcome flat hot spring…

    but it was worth it! after 2 prior failed attempts on the north island, i finally get to soak in an epic new zealand hot spring.

    then i arrived in wanaka and my weather luck returned. the first snow in 4 weeks fell that night! time to find a mountain…

    the snow line in NZ is a couple thousand feet above any civilization, so most backcountry access is via the “resorts” and their incredibly long and steep dirt access roads that wind far up from the valleys to the snow. and the best part is that the resorts realize this and the practice is basically supported by ski patrol! the main chairlift at the treble cone resort is visible near the center of the photo above. it takes 20 minutes to drive to the parking lot from the road in perfect conditions.

    after a frustrating skin up a crowded groomer, i reached the gate.

    i didn’t have anyone to tour with, so i stuck somewhat near the resort, but there was still plenty of pow.

    the next day i went to explore cardrona, the other nearby resort providing a convenient sketchy dirt road up to the snow. i spotted this little line within a short skin from the summit.

    i was soon followed down by a trio of skiers, one of whom was an off duty patroller who invited me to join them on their tour. which ended up being pretty sick.

    then i met a house full of avid climbers and backcountry skiers who quickly proved that they met my well established high standards of maturity and responsibility.

    with a group of appropriately equipped touring partners, it was time to head a little farther from the resort.

    dropping in…

    skinning back towards treble cone we spotted this spire, fully bolted for sport climbing! damn i love this country!

    and then today… skinned up cardrona in sub 50 meter visibility, and the cloud cleared just in time for me to find this little chute i spotted last time. (my track is on the left).

    and lastly, a panorama of wanaka lake, shot from the treble cone access road.


    Awesome. I am so jealous right now. Summer can suck it!

    Nice round of Edward 40hands there too. :thumpsup:


    Damn! I’ve been sanding the paint off my house for the past two weeks :scratch: – I’m Jealous.


    looks like you are finding some excellent riding over there, good going mon! those surf shots are sweet too.

    Rico in AZ

    The fruits of your unemploy…, uh I mean funemployment, look quite obvious!

    So jealous!!!!!!!!


    @HikeforTurns wrote:

    Nice round of Edward 40hands there too.

    sadly, NZ has no 40s of malt liquor. the substitute is far more gut-wrenching and unpalatable–1.25 liter plastic bottles of “scrumpy’s hard cider”. thus this little parlor game was known as “edward scrumpy-hands”, which has kind of an amusing ring to it, i think…

    but new zealand isn’t all silly drinking games–i’ve gotten in some pretty decent touring, too. i met up with mike, a skier who contacted me after seeing this thread, and did a couple days of touring. the lines from the first day are shown above; the second day we checked out some terrain accessed through treble cone.

    when we first skinned to the top of the mountain, the access gates were closed due to some control work being done near the boundary, so we killed a few minutes building kickers off some rocks near the summit.

    this area is an easy 20 minute hike from the top of the lifts, but no one was hitting these sweet rocks… so i figured i might as well go big since the landing was fresh.

    then we went to talk to ski patrol, who gave us permission to duck the rope as long as we promised to stay away from the drainage where they were blasting. have i mentioned how much i love this country and the sense of trust and personal responsibility that people have here?

    we headed far from the resort and the sound of avalanche bombs, and of course found some pretty sweet lines to ride.

    the next day it was so nice out that i decided to take the day off and check out some of the kick ass sport climbing that wanaka is surrounded by.

    sitting around the dinner table that night, we couldn’t help but notice the nearly full moon rising in a cloudless sky. so we loaded up my van and headed to the mountain for a moonlight tour.

    it’s hard to describe the amazing experience of watching powder sparkle in the moonlight, so i’ll just say that it was even more amazing than i always imagined it would be.

    i’m going to head down to queenstown tomorrow and plan to do some touring near the remarkables next week, then head up to arthur’s pass. drop me a note if you are in the area!


    “the remarkables” lives up to its name!

    maggie finds good snow high above the lifts when most of the resort snow had been washed away by rain.

    i finally realized my lifelong goal of snowboarding on my august birthday!

    carsten, a splitter i ran into on a previous tour, shows off his creative saw work–a burton johan custom tapered swallowtail splitboard.

    yes i did hit that rock kicker in the first photo

    another great rock feature ready to go with a bit of shoveling

    arthur’s pass is going to get a couple feet this weekend (which is rather a lot by local standards); i’m on my way…


    Epic Ben! Keep it up!


    Great TR, Ben! I enjoy it a lot!
    Have been to NZ last year, not for snowboarding, just for travelling. But I would like to go there again …


    in the last few weeks, i’ve discovered how crucial it is to be mobile when looking for good snow in this country. when it’s raining on one mountain, another will be getting snow, and when one gets 2cm another will get 20. fortunately, living in my van has afforded me the opportunity to make my home wherever the conditions are best!

    and a couple weeks ago, that happened to be mt olympus. never has my home had such a sketchy and difficult driveway!

    killing time at the olympus “bottom hut” while we wait for the rest of the road to open.

    one of the other hut guests demonstrates the proper manner in which to dispense beer from a keg with a ski pole.

    my first day of lift (er, rope tow) served riding in NZ turned out to be a good one to finally get on that rockered powder board i’ve been hauling around!

    the snow was so good (and the drive so arduous) that we decided to stay for another day… so we spent a second night at the bottom hut.

    with no gate to jump over, we found other ways to pass the time that evening.

    jules preferred to hike than use the rope tow, so we spent the next day lapping sidecountry pow.

    i’m sure you can guess what i did next…

    jules wanted to go heli boarding before she left for australia, and who was i not to oblige?

    yes, there was powder…

    …into which jules jumped off some rocks.

    i do enjoy skinning, but at this moment i must admit i was pretty stoked to get a lift straight back to my van!

    after jules left, i met up with clay (snowwayjose on tgr) to spend a few days exploring the mountains around lake tekapo. the avy conditions were pretty intense…

    but with a bit of testing, we were able to identify some safe lines.

    like this one behind round hill.

    and this rock somewhere between ohao club field and dumbbell lake…

    off which clay showed me up with a huge 360.

    i hit it once more, but stuck with a trick i knew i could land… same ‘ol frontside grab.

    breakfast at camp, watching the sun rise over lake ohau

    transitioning with mt cook in the background

    riding a rocky line near roundhill

    clay airs a rock near mt dobson

    tonight’s dinner menu: whatever’s left in the van, mixed up in a pot!

    i almost skinned by this little chute without seeing it, but fortunately clay was more astute…

    …so i let him have his choice of the lines. but i still got the one i wanted…

    the rocky descent necessitated a little field repair.

    if only every tour could end with a skin out this aesthetic….


    sadly, during the last tour depicted in this thread, my splitboard developed a crack in the topsheet. it was still ridable, but i was afraid that one of the skis would crack while i was skinning and leave me stranded; so with great sadness, i put aside snowboarding as the purpose of my life for a few weeks while i tried to sort that situation out.

    i’ll skip all the photos of rock climbing, beer drinking, hiking, whiskey drinking, camping, keg parties, and other miscellaneous activities that i used to pass the time. i lost contact with some cool potential touring partners, but made some good “non touring” friends. and i even managed to get out and ride a little on my solid board…

    bought my second lift ticket of the season for a pow day at the cragieburn club field, but still spent more time hiking than riding the icy rope tow.

    spent a couple of days at a resort that doesn’t check for tickets at a lift which can be hiked to in an hour… fun riding with a bunch of my friends that didn’t have touring gear, one of whom shot this photo (thanks kristen!).

    some will tell you that there are no tree runs in NZ… i hoped against hope this wasn’t entirely true, and after a particularly low snowfall i did some hard bushwhacking to hike in and out of this line through the beech trees near broken river. many would say the run was not worth it…. but they don’t like riding trees as much as me!

    fortunately, before i lost my mind, sentury came through and saved me by sending me over one of their demo splitboards (in fact the same one that i rode in the liberty chute back in may, and perhaps also used by one of the filmers of “deeper”). thanks for saving my winter, guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    after that, it was time to find some new partners and get in a few warm up tours in preparation for the season-concluding grand finale tour. (stay tuned for the TR!)


    Great stuff bs! You got your money’s worth out of that rock. 🙂

    Send me the large version for the cover! :thumbsup:

    ps. Let me know if you’ll be at Sierra on storm days and we can shred


    @bcrider wrote:

    Send me the large version for the cover! :thumbsup:

    sick! stoked to get a cover shot! the photo is a link to my flickr page where you can get the full-res version… or it’s here:


    AMAZING trip report (and great riding/jumping!) — I’d love to be there too…

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