The opening day at Treble Cone is always a big deal, it seems to have an atmosphere unlike most other ski areas I've been to. It lacks that corporate/commercial feel like most European resorts, it still feels like a locals area and although I haven't been to a 'clubby' yet….it has that same aura that everyone uses to describe the clubbies.
This was the best start to TC in a long time, the whole area was open which was something that didn't happen the whole of last winter. There was a thick layer of inversion so while it was cold and gloomy in town, it was sunny and warm about the cloud. The car made it up the access road with no problems(Subaru's are the best, when they are working) and we parked right at the base building which was just above the inversion, so we were greeted by the most spectacular seas of clouds over Lake Wanaka.
The saddle opened up as soon as we arrived so we headed straight there as thats where most of the best terrain is. Its a smorgasbord of natural gullies, drops and steep skiing. There were local rippers sending big drops already, the standard of skiing here is so good.
The snow was a bit heavy in places but was so much fun, its like a playground in there. After a few hot laps of getting fresh tracks, we hiked up to the summit and took in the incredible views over Lake Wanaka and towards Black Peak and Mount Aspiring. The backcountry potential here is endless and so accessible with touring. The freshies off the summit were sweet, it was so good to get first tracks in good snow on opening day.
To say my legs were burning is an understatement. No matter how fit you feel, there is no training for spending a whole day riding on your back leg!
Free champagne and live music at the bar was a nice treat, and after a few more runs in the saddle we called it a day.
Perfect start to what hopefully is going to be a winter to remember.
For some its a case of taking a year out from the 'Real World'…...whatever that is nowadays. But for a lot of us its a way of life, its how we make a living and its what we want to do.
I hate the term seasonaire, it conjures up images of working in the French Alps for a chalet company when your 18 and just drinking away the winter, although I think its how a majority of people fell for the winter life (I know thats how I did). The people that chase snow around the globe are a special breed I feel. That one week of 'summer' between seasons is enough, the cold accomodation(NZ), the struggle to make ends meet and that ever increasing season lift pass price are all met with a determination and passion that its pretty rare in the modern world.
I read an article about why 'Ski Bums' make the best entrepreneurs, and it does seem to be true. 'Ski Bums' are willing to push themselves out of their comfort zone, to live rough, to meet new people and go exciting places on a daily basis and these are all qualities that mean they can deal with the 'real world' more then people that actually live in the 'real world'.
A person who epitomises this up is Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the clothing brand Patagonia and the now named Black Diamond. He was a surfer and climbing bum who helped the climbing world with his inventions, now his company is a multi-million pound organisation who offer the best environment for their workers and put profits into helping the world in which Yvon has been a part of al his life.
He's also famous for being the most reluctant million pound business owner.......he still hates it.
If you have a spare half an hour then read about Patagonia.
The people I meet share the same desire and passion for the mountains, and the fact that they choose to go through these hardships in order to find that perfect powder day is inspiring to me, I guess it helps that I share the same thoughts but being around people like this is only a good thing!
A good example of this is Travis Rice. Pro Snowboarder, business man, adventurer and all round gnarly dude.
He is always good for a sweet quote and this is a ripper from his film 'The Art of Flight'
“ Its funny, whats happening to us. Our lives have become digital. Our friends, now virtual. And anything you could ever want to know is just a click away. Experiencing the world through second hand information isn't enough. If we want authenticity we have to iniciate it. We will never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it. Its this self-discovery that inevitably takes us to the wildest places on earth”
He's right, the only way we can find our potential is to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, otherwise we are just putting a ceiling on our lives.
If ever you are doubting if its worth chasing the snow, then just read some of his interviews, he has an ability to get you so stoked on life with just a few words…...a pretty good quality to have.
In a world where everything is so fast paced and about making money and being a success, its refreshing to come back to the mountains and meet people who have their minds in the right place, who value the experience. Obviously there are some exceptions in people like Richard Branson, who are equally as inspiring to me…….but then he is all about living his life to the fullest.