NZ National Champs Giant Slalom 2017

The 2017 New Zealand Alpine Ski Racing National Championships & Coronet Cup hosted by Coronet Peak, the official ski area partner of the New Zealand Alpine Ski Team, took place in Queenstown from 7-10 August. On day one of racing Alice Robinson and Willis Feasey were crowned national Giant Slalom (GS) Champions.

Film / Edit:

Ski Tourin’ Aotearoa – Ep 1 Sentinel Peak

A sadistically leg busting, but deliciously rewarding ski tour in a rarely skied area of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea.

After a steaming cup of coffee with Ross Mackay who bounded up the Sawyer Burn way last year, I was convinced to approach Sentinel Peak from the West instead. This was made possible by gaining permission from Hunter Valley Station to use their farm track.

Setting off at 6am I was joined by the Canadian carpenter Ian Colvil. We pushed bikes to the snow line. Before trotting, skinning and plodding along rocky ridge lines to the West Peak. From here we had a delightful pitch of skiing, before skins were back on, followed by crampons.

An hour or so later, we were 30m or so below the top. We decided to stop here, due to potentially dangerous conditions on the thinly covered and rather exposed solar aspect. Bit of a niggle, but we skied from where we would have skied from anyway and oh my giddy aunt did we get the goods! Nice velvety snow, in a short and sexy lil’ couloir. One more up on the skins and then a long and n’ swooshy descent back to the bikes. Brake pads toasted, we were back at the cars after a meaty 12 hour round trip.

Wicked day.

Thanks to Hunter Valley Station for the access track.

TGR’s Rogue Elements Trailer

Since the dawn of time, everything that has lived and breathed on this planet has been subject to the whims of Mother Nature. The nature of an adventurer is inherently rogue; typically wild in character, subject to the fancy of their imagination. We are unequivocally drawn to nature’s rawest fury and deepest mysteries. These are the irreverent souls who pursue the edge.

In the winter of 2017, the magnitude of winter’s force was on full display. Telephone poll-snapping storms pounded the Wyoming landscape. Regions to the west, recently left arid and forgotten, were gifted with unprecedented accumulation. Blizzards in Europe buried towns in an instant before disappearing just as fast, leaving the lucky few who were there to wonder if it even happened. A Bolivian expedition found grace above 18,000 feet before the elements went rogue and the humans reluctantly heeded warnings from above.

Join the TGR team as they embark on an adventure filled with fury and glory, and witness the unimaginable.

Presented by REI.

“Free Animal” by Foreign Air

Link to more info on the film:…

Willis Feasey and Alice Robinson crowned National GS Champs

The New Zealand Alpine National Championships & Coronet Cup hosted by Coronet Peak, the official ski area partner of the New Zealand Alpine Ski Team, got underway in Queenstown today with the Giant Slalom (GS) first on the agenda.

A large international field of 60 women and 84 men tackled the course set on the Outwide Run in the Rocky Gully Race Arena. Alice Robinson and Willis Feasey were crowned national champions.

The women were the first on course and Alice Robinson one of the last to start, wearing bib 54. Her first year competing in the FIS (International Ski Federation) open women’s field, the fifteen-year-old Queenstown local was excited to be racing in her first national championships and enjoying “competing with more intensity.” Describing her first run as “pretty wild” she was the fastest of the NZ women in run one, flying through the course and into third place overall, 0.49s behind the USA’s Storm Klomhaus in first place.

Defending national champion Piera Hudson (Havelock North/Wanaka) knew she had her work cut out for her after a frustrating first run, looking for a smoother second run to bump her up from fifth place overall. Georgia Willinger was the third fastest Kiwi woman on run one, sitting thirteenth overall and determined to “go for it on run two” with a more aggressive approach.

In the men’s field, defending champion Willis Feasey (Twizel) made a solid start, skiing into second place overall, 0.43s behind Slovakia’s Andreas Zampa and feeling confident that he would be able to pick up the pace in run two.

“I know I can be faster. I’m in a good position for the second run, I just need to send it.”

Team mate Adam Barwood (Queenstown) had a clean first run, skiing to third overall and ready to “take more risks” on run two. Jackson Rich (Porirua) was the third fastest of the NZ men after the first run, skiing from bib 55 into 36th place.

After a course reset run two got underway but competitors were challenged by rapidly softening snow and flat light.  With the top thirty racers running in reverse order, Robinson was the last of the NZ women in podium contention to race. Keeping a calm head and ticking off all the technical cues she attacked the course and pushed through, not only to secure the national title, but to claim the overall win.

“I’m really happy,” says Robinson. “I came here today really wanting to claim the title so it’s awesome.

“Third position is a good place to attack from on run two and I’ve been skiing well on the second runs so I was feeling pretty good.”

Robinson finished 0.14s ahead of Storm Klomhaus, with Bettina Schneeberger (SUI) third.

Piera Hudson was the second fastest of the NZ women, finishing fourth overall. Georgia Willinger finished in ninth place to round out the national podium.

Willis Feasey had a bitter sweet end to his day, claiming the national GS title for the fourth year in a row but not quite ticking off his goal of winning overall. A small slip at the top of the course lost him valuable time and saw him finish in second place 0.98s behind Zampa.

“I’m happy to take the title but I really wanted the win,” he said.

Third place went to Czech racer Krystof Kryzl while NZ’s Adam Barwood felt the frustration of his fourth place finish, albeit enough for second spot on the national podium. Jackson Rich was pleased to finish third amongst NZ racers in his first national championships, placing him 30th overall.

Full results can be found here

Racing continues at Coronet Peak tomorrow with the Coronet Cup Giant Slalom. The National Slalom Championship title will be contested on Wednesday followed by the Coronet Cup Slalom on Thursday.

Janina Kuzma: The Process

In a life of chasing snow, training and skiing through an endless winter, Janina Kuzma maintains focus through goal setting centred around competition. She trains to compete. She competes to develop. She freerides to find balance. She lives to ski. This is her process.

Treble Cone Named as Resort Partner to New NZ Freeride Team

Snow Sports New Zealand and Treble Cone have signed a Partnership Agreement which will see Treble Cone become the official resort partner of the NZ Freeride Team. In developing a partnership, Treble Cone and Snow Sports NZ aim to provide support to the New Zealand Freeride Team that enhances their competitive success both at home and overseas.

New Zealand freeride athletes have a long and proud history of winning on the world stage. Hamish Acland (Wanaka), Sam Smoothy (Wanaka), Charlie Lyons (Christchurch) and Janina and Maria Kuzma (Wanaka) all achieved major international event podiums and Sam Lee (Wanaka) and Craig Murray (Wanaka) are now following closely in their tracks. Sam Lee finished sixth overall in his first season on the Freeride World Tour (FWT) earlier this year, while Craig Murray has taken a fast track to qualifying for the 2018 FWT after earning the Junior Ski European Championship title in 2016 and winning the 2017 Freeride Qualifying Tour.

A strong contingent of junior freeride athletes is also making its mark on the international circuit with Finn Duffy (Queenstown) crowned Junior Snowboard Champion on the 2017 Junior Freeride World Tour and Alistair Garland (Wanaka), Matt Sweet (Hamilton) and Hugo Cameron (Taupo) also posting strong results in the northern hemisphere earlier this year.

Snow Sports NZ’s newly appointed Park, Pipe and Freeride Manager, Luke Hetzel says, “We are incredibly excited to announce the 2017 New Zealand Freeride Team. Freeride is growing at a rapid rate, and is quickly becoming a prominent aspect of competitive snow sports.

“The mountains of New Zealand have a way of producing athletic, creative and aggressive freeride athletes, and our team is an excellent representation of that.  “The level of talent is impressive, to say the least. We are really excited to have Treble Cone as the official resort partner for our team as it contains world-class freeride terrain for our athletes to train on.”

“With Treble Cone having some of the most incredible terrain in New Zealand it’s no surprise that excellent skiers and snowboarders are produced in this area,” says Jackie van der Voort, CEO, Treble Cone Ski Area. “We are thrilled to be part of this new partnership with Snow Sports NZ, and to be the Official Resort Partner of the New Zealand Freeride Team. It is an opportunity to support those athletes who are already competing on the world stage as well as the junior athletes starting their careers.”

Snow Sports NZ is pleased to name the following athletes to the New Zealand Freeride Team:

Freeride World Tour Team

Craig Murray (Wanaka)
Sam Lee (Wanaka)

Freeride World Qualifier Team

Hank Bilous (Wanaka)
Anna Smoothy (Wanaka)

Freeride Junior Team

Alistair Garland (Wanaka)
Finn Duffy (Queenstown)
Matt Sweet (Hamilton)
Manu Barnard (Wanaka)
Hugo Cameron (Taupo)
Isabella Thomsson (Wanaka)

New qualifications for the alpine and avalanche industry

New snow qualifications hit the slopes

New snow qualifications hit the slopes

New qualifications for the alpine and avalanche industry hit the production line today, ready to deliver an agile, on-job learning experience for mountain professionals this winter.

At the Southern Hemisphere Alpine Conference in Christchurch today, Skills Active, the industry training organisation for outdoor recreation and snowsport, officially launched the new NZ Certificate in Outdoor Leadership with Alpine strand (Levels 5 and 6), and the NZ Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (Levels 5 and 6).

The Alpine qualifications cover a range of skills including managing, instructing and leading mountaineering trips, managing dynamic risks, and working in multi-hazard environments. The Level 6 programme also equips graduates to educate alpine instructors, and instruct/guide in more technical alpine terrain.

The Avalanche qualifications cover avalanche search and rescue skills, risk mitigation, and identifying avalanche hazards through knowledge of snowpack, weather, terrain and avalanche phenomena.

A limited credit programme, Avalanche Risk Management (Level 5) Backcountry, is also available. For learners developing alpine skills, this short award delivers an understanding of avalanche mechanisms and strategies to avoid avalanche-prone terrain. It offers ski fields, and other organisations working in snow environments, the ability to train staff in safe work and recreational practices in backcountry areas.

“The new qualifications could not have been developed without the significant input and deep expertise of our key industry partners, including the Mountain Safety Council (MSC), NZ Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA), and NZ Mountain Guides Association (NZMGA),” says Skills Active CEO Grant Davidson.

Davidson notes that graduates of the NZOIA Alpine 1 qualification will earn equivalency with the NZ Certificate in Alpine Level 5, and NZOIA Alpine 2 graduates will have equivalency with the NZ Certificate in Alpine Level 6.

NZOIA chair Gill Wratt says it is pleasing to see the NZ Certificate qualification closely aligned with the existing NZOIA awards that have been developed by outdoor instructors working in the sector over a period of more than 30 years. The suite of qualifications now available offers a high standard of professionalism, as well as the opportunity for trainees to now earn a New Zealand Certificate.

MSC chief executive Mike Daisley says the inclusion of the Alpine qualification in the Skills Active framework is a positive step for the sector.

“We were pleased to be part of the discussion with Skills Active about this qualification. We added our insights and overall perspective to alpine safety, which is especially pertinent for the Southern Hemisphere Alpine Conference today.

“It’s great to see this come to fruition and I’m sure the qualification will be well received by the community,” Daisley says.

Along with NZOIA and MSC, the Alpine qualifications also have the endorsement of NZMGA, and offer a ‘feeder pathway’ to those wanting to train towards the high guiding qualifications offered by NZMGA, Davidson says.

“All of the new qualifications have evolved through in-depth collaboration, meaning they have strong buy-in from the industry, and offer relevant, work-ready upskilling,” he says. “We are excited to be able to introduce these essential qualifications in time for the industry’s key event of 2017.”

A new home for avalanche credentials

Davidson adds that Skills Active is also using the conference to share information about NZRRP, its free online professional register for the sport and recreation industry, including avalanche practitioners and instructors.

“With NZRRP, avalanche staff can ensure their skills are current, and promote their credentials to the public. The public can use this tool and be assured they are placing themselves in the hands of highly-qualified mountain professionals.”

Cardrona’s new Chondola is go

Cardrona Alpine Resort has opened with a bang for Winter 2017, with more than 1000 skiers, snowboarders and sightseers riding the new McDougall’s Chondola for the very first time. The McDougall’s Chondola is New Zealand’s first cabin-style lift on a ski area, with a combination of six-seater chairs and 8-seater gondola cabins on the same lift.

The official Chondola Opening Ceremony began at 8.45am, with a karakia from Kaumatua Bubba Thompson, followed by a haka by the Mount Aspiring College kapa haka group. QLDC Mayor Jim Boult and X Games gold medallist Jossi Wells opened the cabins & chairs respectively in a ribbon cutting ceremony, and early guests were greeted with a glass of Mumm champagne.

The first chondola cabin ride was donated to the Tawaki Project, a scientific research project to learn more about the Tawaki (Fiordland Crested) Penguin – the third rarest penguin in the world. Scientist Thomas Mattern and his family joined Cardrona mascot Pengi, Real Journeys CEO Richard Lauder, and Jim Boult in the first cabin.

First chair rights were won by a group of local Wanaka youngsters, including Cardrona Grom Team members Finley Melville-Ives, Campbell Melville-Ives and Rocco Jamieson. The five keen skiers and snowboarders, who queued from 5.30am this morning, joined Jossi Wells for the first ride up the chair.

“We’re so excited to get going for Winter 2017, and especially to welcome the new McDougall’s Chondola to our mountain,” says Cardrona General Manager Bridget Legnavsky.

“Seeing so many people so stoked to ride the new lift – it’s already worth its weight in gold.”


The resort opened with mostly man-made snow, with two runs down McDougall’s, the Learner Conveyors and five terrain park features in the Beginners’ Area. There is more snow in the forecast this week, which should see the rest of the mountain open progressively.

The 2017 Cardrona season is packed with events like the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ and the Jossi Wells Invitational.

“The Chondola and the Vista Bar at the top are going to be great spots to watch all the action this winter – come up, grab a drink and check out the best in the world up at Cardrona this winter,” says Legnavsky.

Hokkaido Calling

“Is it possible to stand where no one has before?.”
In search for the less obvious, Sam Smoothy Jeremie Heitz and Dane Tudor set out to explore Hokkaido, an island with over 15 metres of annual snowfall. And in looking for something different, they found something else.

We are excited to release our latest collaboration with Audi Canada.
More info can be found here:

Sam Smoothy – The (North) Korean Chronicle



Check out this bizarre insight into a country that few will get to experience from the eyes and mind of Sam Smoothy and Colab Creative.

Sam goes to North Korea on a ski trip like no other. This piece is not political. There is no real agenda other than to see what goes on in a country who is recently learning about the sport of skiing.




NZJFT 2016 – Mt Olympus Edit


The second stop of the GoPro New Zealand Junior Freeride Tour went down at Mt Olympus. The sun was out and snow was hard and fast! Again another great event with no injuries and smart skiing from the all of the kids! Wanna say a massive thanks to GoPro for stepping up as title sponsors and helping us show these kids amazing talents to the world. Also a huge thank you to our supporting sponsors Smith, Volkl, K2 Snowboards, Groovstar, Snowsports NZ and the Freeride Junior Tour. Big thank you to all the kids for putting on a such a great show in the challenging conditions and to their parents for making the trip to Mt Olympus and all their help on comp day. Last but not least a big shout out to Mt Olympus for doing such an amazing job hosting this event and sending out the great vibes that only Mt Olympus and their incredible crew could provide.

Mt Olympus Freeride Open


The Mt Olympus Freeride Open 2016 presented by Marmot rocked the Sphinx at Mt Olympus just one week after The North Face Frontier opened the NZ FWQ season at the Remarkables. This was the inaugural year of the 2* MOFO FWQ event, which was put together by Dion Newport and his crew of merry warriors from the New Zealand Junior Freeride Tour. They were blessed with 46 riders from 14 different nations. The snow pack was working against them and subsequently a nice mellow venue was chosen. Everyone rode intelligently with no injuries and the fun factor was set very high to make this an annual event on FWQ calendar. Special thanks to Marmot for making the event happen and all of the supporting sponsors: Sherpa Coffee for keeping us wired, Moa for the delicious refreshments, Snowsports NZ and FWQ for their support, and of course Mt Olympus and the amazing crew of staff for all the good times and good vibes.

Full Results:





Supervention II – Trailer

Field Productions presents Supervention 2 in association with Audi AG, Head, Norwegian Film Institute and SF Studios.

Supervention 2 is an inspiring documentary that explores the world of action sports through skiing and snowboarding. Experience the willpower and motivation it takes to conquer risk, fear and injuries. From the young and ambitious to the legends of back then, meet the athletes at the top of their sport who choose to risk everything. Supervention 2 takes you through all walks of life to experience what it’s like to leave behind normality of work and family life for the thrill of a lifetime. Filmed in unique locations with high-end 4K cinematography and Dolby Atmos sound design, Supervention 2 is a feel-good adventure about those who live outside the box.

In Norwegian cinemas from October 28th. International dates to be released.

Featuring: Aksel Lund Svindal, Jesper Tjäder, Terje Håkonsen, Marcus Kleveland, Anders Backe, Fredrik Evensen, Eirik Finseth, Asbjørn Eggebø Næss, Anja Alme Gardli, Åsmund Thorsen, Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen, PK Hunder, Linn Cecilie Mæhlum, Aleksander Aurdal, Ståle Sandbech, Karl Kristian Muggerud, Even Sigstad, Tor Olav Naalsund, Øystein Bråten, Aleksander Østreng

Sweet Protection, VG, Norrøna, Infinitum, Peak Performance, GoPro, Bergans, Dynafit, Fri Flyt, Haglöfs

The North Face Frontier – 2 Star Edit

The 2016 The North Face Frontier Freeride World Qualifier 2* competition saw a heavy hitting field of 80 skiers and snowboarders battle for top scores at Queenstown’s The Remarkables Ski field in New Zealand. The riding was next level as competitors made the most of the stunning natural terrain of the Shadow Basin to attempt their most daring tricks and technical lines.

The North Face Frontier 2016 Teaser

The host venue for this year’s event will be Queenstown’s The Remarkables ski area, home to some of the best big mountain terrain in the Southern Hemisphere.

Day one will see some of the top rookies and pros from around the world compete in a two-star Freeride World Qualifier, held in the Shadow Basin. Day two will be the main four-star Qualifier event held in the Alta Chutes, as competitors push themselves to the limit to impress the judges.

The Mystery of the Mingha

Blake getting the season started.

Blake getting the season started.

I don’t need to spell out a skier’s perspective of this winter. May brought some good pow days that whetted the appetite. June was mostly rain, but that’s ok, it’s sort of expected. However when July didn’t get any better we all started to get worried.


And with such a grim start to the winter, Blake Lepper and I weren’t expecting much when we set out for the mountains in the middle of July.

Words and Photos: Tom Beaumont


The walk up to Temple basin gets the legs going and has great views to the peaks around Arthurs Pass.

The walk up to Temple basin gets the legs going and has great views to the peaks around Arthurs Pass.

Driving west past the Craigieburns, Blake recounted a sporting rain crust that had attempted to destroy everyone’s knees the day before. So we carried on to Arthurs Pass in search of greener pastures.

Pulling into the Temple Basin car park, things were looking slightly more optimistic. The surrounding peaks were coated up high and the sky was blue. Although the walk up to Temple was punctuated with line scoping on a very skiable Mt Rolleston, the ski field itself was better suited to a tussock­ enthusiasts field trip. So it was with much surprise that we reached Temple Col and looked into a loaded Mingha Valley. Stability was good as a result of being under the facet layer that sat above 1800m, we were above the rain­crusts of doom that existed below 1600m, and the sou’wester had put down some great wind deposit the night before. Although Blake and I claimed we had anticipated these conditions, the Mingha had exceeded expectations in an almost mythical way.


Round 1 - Blake and Tom win.

Round 1 – Blake and Tom win.

Looking down the Mingha towards Mt Oats and the Mingha­ Deception route.

Looking down the Mingha towards Mt Oats and the Mingha­ Deception route.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. With probably 20­-30cm of light, wind-deposited pow on top of a grippy base, the skiing was sublime. There had been some real stability issues around the region ­ so we took our time and did plenty of snow and slope tests before getting into it.


Little Phipps in the foreground. At Temple Basin you can ski full on ski mountaineering lines like these before breakfast.

Little Phipps in the foreground. At Temple Basin you can ski full on ski mountaineering lines like these before breakfast.

With storm clouds brewing just to the west of the divide we squeezed in a last lap before calling it quits and heading back the way we came; Downhill Basin to Temple Tow and out to the lodge. To top off an epic day, the snow on the route home had been baked into perfect corn, making for fun tussock dodging turns until the snow ran out.

See you out there and make safe decisions ­ there’s always another day.