Monday, 16 September 2013

2013 New Zealand Ski Season so far (Cheeseman to Mt.Olympus Ski Tour)

2013 has been an interesting season with a big start scoring about 2m of snow in a huge late June storm. We had to wait again until late august to get the goods - but when they arrived it was  one of the lightest dumps we’ve had and I enjoyed some superb days at Craigieburn – starting with a bluebird powder day on the Thursday which was EPIC!

One objective for the season was to ski the Ryton Valley and what better way to do this by touring from Mt.Cheeseman to Mt. Olympus skifields, staying over night and returning the next day. 

We scored a weather window in late July and had clear but windy weather on Saturday making our way south from Cheeseman skifield summiting Mt.Cheeseman and then skiing some nice powder into the Ryton before touring up to the ridge which led us to the summit of Mt. Olympus.  I decided to ski right off the top into a nice 45-48 degree chute which got the heart pumping, negotiating my way through a narrow colouir then opening up the turns above the skifield - a sweet line ticked. 

Then a grand awaiting of beers in the Mt.O hut tub with all 8 of us sharing stories and having a good old laugh - could a days' ski touring end any better!?!? Pity we didn't get a shot of the hot tubbing but we were having too much fun to take pics!

We awoke to a bluebird day and toured back up the ridge to stand again on the Mount Olympus summit.  Dropping into a superb sunny face with lovely soft springy powder - leaving our signatures behind as we peered over dramatic exposure into the Lake Coleridge watershed. 

Returning on the ridge some nice turns were had fanging into tarn basin before gluwein and muffins at the Cheeseman club hut to finish off a superb overnight ski tour in the Cragieburn range!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Gulmarg, Kashmir Ski & Snowboard Season 2013!

Powder doesn't get much more perfect than this.......

Well what a great season in Gulmarg. A very stable snow pack this year meant few avalanche incidents across the whole skiing population, We are proud that Sunstone continues it's 100% safe client record with regards NO fatalities, NO burials and NO injuries to our clients :-)

The usual big snow - ka ching!

Jules gets the weather we'd hoped for topped off with the freshest, deepest Himalayan Pow Pow!

Patty's turn on Monkey Hill...getting a face full.

The start of the season in January saw a massive 150cm dump that crushed some of the faceting and deep hoar frost that is often evident in the January snow pack getting ready for a mid Jan arrival. We skied untracked powder for 14 days with very little people around, before the February enslaught. And when Feb did arrive we scored another 150cms which saw some neck deep, snorkel enabled powder riding which was simply off the hook.

Again groups were very enthusiastic to take on Sunstone's 2 hour avalanche re-fresher/training and always keen to attend Bryan Newman (Gulmarg Ski Patrol Manager / Avalanche Forecaster) weekly Avalanche Night. Always a very informative meeting in which we receive an up-to-date conditions summary from the horse's mouth!

Loose Douche Crew got some.

The Perrys - father & son kiwi team earning their turns.

The Loose Douche Crew getting some!

We had subsequent snow falls right into March and some great touring out to Lenmarg!

The Swedes - Mans & Jeni hiking up Apherwat to access down the Pir Panjal Range to Lenmarg.

and BINGO....

Will charges off a cliff into deep deep powder...hell yeahs!

A powder 'run' in Gulmarg.....with Douche getting some cruisy air!

The Kiwi Docs heading on up!

Alex gets it on the way down to Baba Reshi Temple.

Jules the wrong way up on a Baba's session.

It was a great season - awesome Guys & Gals, smooth logistics and lots of powder smiles!

Marieke heads back to the Gondola!

Thanks for the gear Macpac...the Luggernaut 90L travel bag is the ultimate to lug around (see what I did there) and act as base camp bag:-)

For your smooth ride to Hakuba (Japan), Gulmarg (Kashmir) or Southern Alps (NZ) in 2013/14 contact Paul on:

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Monday, 25 February 2013

Hakuba, Japan in January

So how was it!?

Again Japan surprises with the reasonable prices for it's awesome powder, immaculate food and deluxe onsens capped off with efficient, friendly's certainly polar opposites from India....more like Switzerland but cheaper!

And let's just check out a little bit of that quality......

A pint is $7.50NZD so always a good place to start if you're comparing international destinations!

I guess with any mountain town you get international influence - probably one of my favourite characteristics (being a people person) that catches me every time about the ski lifestyle.

Bumping into familiar faces, having great varied nights out with differing food & atmospheres; custom - mountain towns and Hakuba do this well - right I feel like Mexican tonight!

Here's the crew at the 'Sumo Tei' a traditional restaurant run by an ex-Sumo Wrestler specialising in 'Nabe' which you cook up and share. This was Jason's last night and great fun!

Mon Pidgeon is a favourite too - having fed my pizza addiction worldwide this place delivers. Kitschy atmos with cats & dogs playing about - pizza for brunch after 3 days of powder skiing was a well earnt....erm hit!

Pretty good coffee too and lots of great baked goods...oh yeah.

Again the snow monkey tour is just fascinating...

So more snow I really have to go ski powder again? Oh ok....hit me up!

Next stop Gulmarg, Kashmir for more hilarity and catching up with new faces and old mates....

We like to ski pow pow: