Chuting for Kiwi Spring Slayage @ The Remarkables, NZ September 8th – 12th, 2013

Casey Cane |

Oh September…the perfect time to sleep on a plane and wake up in New Zealand!

Its hard not to love the South Island of New Zealand. Good coffee, friendly people, crystal clear lakes, stunning vistas and of course, the Remarkables.

Kawarau River and the Remarkables Range

You see, not only does this ski field cater to families but it has some seriously addicting ‘hike to’ terrain that challenges even the most veteran skier. The Alta Chutes zone is a short 10 minute hike from the Shadow Basin lift and is southern aspect mecca full of nooks and crannies that usually holds great wintery snow deep into the season. I truly love skiing this zone. Beyond the boundaries, you can hike up above Elevator chute and traverse across massive cliffs (Paul Ahern’s old record 224.5ft cliff) and find your way into Telex, Intimadator, and Exterminator to name a few. Highlights in this video include laps down Pipeline, Elevator, Diagonalator, Telex, East Face (nobis), and the Nose.

Lake Wakatipu from the Remarkables

With local photographer Miles Holden as my guide for the week, about a foot of new snow, and case of blueberry Red Bull, we explored every inch off the Shadow Basin chair. We encountered early powder runs down Mid Station bowl, Valley Floor as well as Homeward and Outward Bound. As luck would have it, gusty conditions continued to hit the daily ‘refresh’ button by blowing in beautiful wind blown snow. Timing is everything on a ski trip and thankfully, it looks like that I ventured up to Remarks at an ideal time.

First lap off the plane – Diagonalator

The wind was definitely working its magic in the Alta Chutes…

Skier666 finds a pocket in Festival (photo: @milesholden)

Rowdy lines are rampant down the front face of the Remarkables. Most people will ski a few hundred feet below and hike back up. However, the avalanche hazards in here are pretty extreme as there are no safe zones on the way down.

Hairball down the front face

What would a ski trip be without a night of rain followed by a cool morning?

Day of The Firm

Luckily, the bottom half of Shadow Basin corned up nicely by 2pm.

Corn laps to the parking lot

By the next evening, snow levels fell to just above Queenstown…

On the way up with new snow

You know its going to be decent when they require chains on the access road…

Kiwi Chain Monkeys

Things are starting to look a bit more like Christmas around here…

Back to winter in Alta Chutes

Double cone is a bit of a ski mountaineering jaunt but well worth it you have the time. Geoff Small took me up there after travelling from SFO many years ago. It gets a fair bit of sun, so bring your whippet and crampons. If you are into ice climbing, there are some frozen waterfalls in the area as well.

Double Cone looking grand

Glen Legget is a old friend from Queenstown. He took a bad speed flying crash a few years back and lost a lot of feeling in both his legs, but as a true kiwi, he’s still boarding and still speed flying.

Glen Legget getting freshies

September 12th was a ripping day around the mountain and the chutes had the goods.

Miles Holden coming out with speed

No NZ trip is complete without getting a visit from a KEA…

Kea looking for scraps

And with that I need a nice frosty beverage with a view…

warm and toasty

For the longer and more detailed report…

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