Category Archives: NZ Snowboarding

Temple Basin Mountain Scape

Landscape photos from the trip.  Its so easy to take beautiful pictures when nature puts on a show every moment of the day.  Its has also sculpted some pretty cool rock piles as well.  Enjoi!

Big Peak

Big Peak

Forever Mountains

Forever Mountains

Down Hill Backside

Down Hill Backside

Good Morning Mountain

Good Morning Mountain

Reflect

Reflect

WoW

WoW

The Bridge

The Bridge

No Words To Describe

No Words To Describe

Fluffy Gully

Fluffy Gully

Purple Mountain

Purple Mountain

Bouncing Light

Bouncing Light

Temple Reflect

Temple Reflect

Rolling Sunset

Rolling Sunset

Nature's Park

Nature's Park

Falling Into Shadow

Falling Into Shadow

Colored Snow

Colored Snow

Ice Dune

Ice Dune

Temple Colors

Temple Colors

Temple Peak

Temple Peak

Razors at Temple

Razors at Temple

Writing on the Wall

Writing on the Wall

Light Pockets

Light Pockets

Tow

Tow

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The Temple Basin Trip, The Mountain Riding Part

Welcome to Temple Basin!

Welcome to Temple Basin!

This is basically a photo essay of the trip.  My previous entry was all about Temple Basin as a place.  This entry is all about my trip there.

Got the van 3 days ago.  First trip is a biggy, hope she stays in tact and keeps runnin'

Got the van 3 days ago. First trip is a big one, hope she stays in tact and keeps runnin'

After purchasing the van, I quickly made a few modifications (put up curtains, dropped in a plywood floor (that isn’t at all fitted) and got her ready to go on a 6 hour drive, loaded with snowboard/ski gear and 4 guys.  There are 3 mountain passes to go over to get to Temple basin, and with the 1800 cc petrol engine, I was more than apprehensive about how the pope mobile would preform and endure.

All Packed Up

All Packed Up

One of the many amazing views on the road to Temple

One of the many amazing views on the road to Temple

After 6 hours in the van, getting stopped at the entrance to Aurthur’s Pass to chain up because it was puking snow in the upper mountains, we finally pulled up to the goods lift at Temple basin right around sunset.

Load her up.  This is the other car load of guys that is in our groups gear.

Load her up.

Too much weight, take some of that beer out of there, we can send up a seperate beer load. Ahh that sounds nice.

Too much weight, take some of that gear out, what leave the beer for another load!?! No, leave the gear eh!

Goods Lift Shack

Goods Lift Shack

Kea On Shack Roof

Kea On Shack Roof

The Bird on the roof is called a Kea.  They look a lot like a dull colored parrot.  They are real cheeky little bastards.  They will gnaw on anything shinny. This includes sports equipment and car emblems.  A lot of the tourist vans and cars are all scratched up from the birds chewing on the chrome around windows and on the front grill.

Once we got our gear loaded into the lift, we drove the van back to the parking lot along the pass road about 1k away.  We threw our packs on and began the 800 M (2600 ft) climb to the lodge.  It was getting dark fast so we needed to high tail it.  Luckily the moon was out and was very bright.  We had a surreal snow covered, moon lite hike up to the lodge.

Couldn't figure out my flash on this photo, but it still gets the point across.

Couldn't figure out my flash on this photo, but it still gets the point across.

The Long Walk In

The Long Walk In

Once off the steep goat path, you start to see the lights of the lodge.  A sigh of relief that where almost there.  That feeling is shattered about 10 min in when I realized that we are walking on a ridge with knee deep snow and are at least 45 min away.  As we got closer, we could see people skiing.  The main run had 2 flood lights on it, but at the top of the lift there was no light.  All we saw where small beams of light jittering down the hill.  I shit you not, people where skiing with head lamps on!  I guess powder is powder and you ride it when ever you can, day or night.  I knew at that moment this place was unique.

Foot Bridge Over A Riven On the Way to the Lodge

Foot Bridge Over A Riven On the Way to the Lodge

Once we got up to the lodge, we had to grab all our gear out of the goods lift shed and carry them up another 300 meters of deep snow to the lodge.  I was completely exhausted.  We had a quick dinner, unpacked, got our bearings around the lodge, and I passed out.  This whole time I had a wicked chest cold.  Hiking long distances was not very enjoyable.

The next morning the weather was crap.  It was cloudy and completely socked in.  On the plus side it was snowing….always a good thing.  So we decided to do a little avalanche transceiver training. Most of the guys in our group had one, but only a few of us where trained on them.  I had rented one from a ski shop in Queenstown, and had no idea how to work one.  Luckily one of the guys had a friend that was up at Temple and had just taken a 3 day avalanche course.

Find the Pack Buried in the Snow.  Use Those Probes (glorified tent poles)

Find the Pack Buried in the Snow. Use Those Probes (glorified tent poles)

Break in the Clouds Monday

Break in the Clouds Monday

Monday afternoon there was a short break in the clouds, and we began to see the potential of the mountain!

First pow runs on Monday

First pow runs on Monday

They opened the lifts in the afternoon for about 2 hours, and I got about 8 full on fresh track pow runs in.  They where short but sweet.

Looking back at Ski Patrol, the goods lift shed, and the valley from the lodge.

Looking back at Ski Patrol, the goods lift shed, and the valley from the lodge.

There are all these cool low lying roofs and wind lips surrounding the lodge and buildings.  Even though the weather was pretty bad for the first 3 days there was plenty of objects to play on and build things off of.

Icicles make the perfect drink stir

Icicles make the perfect drink stir

After a day of waiting for the weather to break and some jump building, we settled in for some dinner and drinks.  I did a little design work.  Nothing like designing snowboard equipment when your held up on top of a mountain someplace near the bottom of the world.

The next 2 days where pretty similar. Bad weather, mixed with pockets of quick clearing.  On the 4th day (Thursday) however the sky opened to reveal heaven.

Mountain Sunrise

Mountain Sunrise

Today was the day, bluebird and about a foot of powder waiting for us.  The third lift at the mountain is off the main lift and around a steep mountain side.  It is located on the north facing basin wall of Temple Mountain.  I hadn’t been over there yet, and was chomping at the bit to check it out.  We knew that a walk path needed to be dug, and heard that if we helped they would close the path once made while they where getting the lift operating and they allow the diggers to get about an hour to themselves on the run.

We waited by the start of the walk path with shovels in hand, waiting for the ski patrol that open the lift.

Digging to The Downhill Lift

Digging to The Downhill Lift

Still Digging, Faaa, this is a long walking path

Still Digging, Faaa, this is a long walking path

We finally dug the walking path, and got down to the lift.  They would have closed it off for us, but since pretty much everyone at the mountain was helping to dig (or at least acting like they where) we just all waited for the patrol to get the lift operating and started making runs down the steep.

Mark, the skier in our group had some heart, and was in it to drop some big terrain.  He didn’t have to go far to find it.  This is just to the lookers right of the lift.

Mark Sizing it Up

Mark Sizing it Up

Mark Dropping It

Mark Dropping It

Some of the terrain to the left of the lift.  This is the lower section.  Above are several wide, very steep chutes

Some of the terrain to the left of the lift. This is the lower section. Above are several wide, very steep chutes

The Boys Chillin

The Boys Chillin'

Probably one of the best parts of the New Zealand club fields is that there just aren’t that many people up there skiing with you.  We were there with 85 people, and 25 of those where there for an avalanche course and not riding.  85  –  25 = 60.  We where riding a mountain the size of a medium western US ski resort with 60 people!  No need to race to get fresh lines.  Relax, rehydrate, have a smoke (although I don’t recommend that) no rush here.  Only thing that will track out the snow is the weather.  Awesome!

Thursday was possibly one of the best days on a board I have ever had.  Just incredible!


Thursday Mountain Sunset

Thursday Mountain Sunset

Mother nature didn’t let me down and put a show on all day.  She didn’t even let up as the day ended, it just got better and better.

I was shooting the mountain from outside the lodge.  I had my tripod out and camera bag open.  Guess who showed up, those cheeky little bastards, attracted by my shiny expensive gear.

Kea Birds

Kea Birds

Kea In Flight

Kea In Flight

Friday was due to be another epic day.  They where to open Bills Run.  This is part of the mountain that faces west and is protected from the morning sun.  To access this area you have to go up the main lift, walk the path that we dug out, strap up and ride down to downhill lift.  Take that up, traverse across the temple basin and hop to  the ridge separating the two areas.

Bills is amazing.  Big open semi steep powder fields, wind lipped heavenly gullies, big vertical rock cliff faces and rollers all over the place.  the snow was waist deep and lighter than anywhere else due to the shade the face has most of the day.  After slashing the pow for half the day, the boys decided to build a gap jump over one of the gullies.  It ended up being about a 30 foot gap with a solid 40-50 foot air to a slightly flat landing, but with 3 feet of powder to land in no one was complaining!

Ash celebrating his good build work and scoping the jump

Ash celebrating his good build work and scoping the jump

Riley's Air

Riley's Air

This was my first real attempt to correctly shoot action, and particularly snowboarding.  I have been around snow photography a bit in the past at Windell’s but never really dove into the technical side to learn.  I need a lot more practice.  I missed a lot, and my timing needs to get better.  Picking angles is difficult too.  You pro photogs out there, I have always admired you guys, but I now have a new deeper respect for the skills you have.

Phil D. Spinning it Out

Phil D. Spinning it Out

Ohh ya, there where 2 of us named Phil up there.  This is Phil Dominick.  They call him Philthy….funny as that name became my nickname while I was at Reef.  Interesting coincidence.

Riley Again.  Apparently I was ok shooting him

Riley Again. Apparently I was ok shooting him

I haven’t really been on snow for a season in a long time, almost 6 years.  In that time I really got away from snow sports as I was in Southern California and took the time to learn to surf.  I learned that after that much time away, a lot of the technical riding I used to be able to do has left me. I also learned a lot about myself, and how age and the experience of past injuries effects my decision process.  I slowly accepted that I can’t do the big, risky things like I used to.  After a week of being annoyed that I wouldn’t push myself, I finally excepted, and then started to appreciate the fact that I really just enjoy riding fast, making turns and picking out lines I want to hit.  But I had to go for broke one last time, and decided to hit the powder jump and spin one last big 3.

Backside 3.  On my 167 Cadillac powder board, with a powder stance.  Not the smartest thing I have ever done.

Backside 3. On my 167 Cadillac powder board, with a powder stance. Not the smartest thing I have ever done.

I didn’t land it cleanly, and I have to admit it felt good.  With a head full of steam and blood boiling with adrenaline I stormed back up to hit it again and land it.  I strapped on my helmet cam and dropped in.  This time I stupidly speed checked and slipped off the runway about 15 feet before for the lip.  At nearly full speed I got bucked.  All I remember in the air was “ohhhh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” I just wanted to clear the gully.  So I tucked my knees up and put the board perpendicular to the landing area in front of me.  I cleared the other death side of the gully by a few feet and landed to an abrupt stop.  My face slammed into my knee, and the whiplash action had enough force to break the mounting points on my helmet cam.  It seems that I can’t get away with anything without getting hurt or breaking equipment, which in effect ends up costing me lots of money.

As I was sitting icing my eye, a local Kiwi skier slid up and scoped out a drop.

Yep, That's a Big Drop

Yep, That's a Big Drop

Wow....I'd Say 50-60 Ft.

Wow....I'd Say 50-60 Ft.

Get on the Bus, eh!

Get on the Bus, eh!

This was my favorite line of the trip.  I found this nice little bit of frsh light untouched steep power and dropped the line twice.

This was my favorite line of the trip. I found this nice little bit of fresh, light untouched steep powder and dropped the line twice.

I wanted to hit the cliff just to the lookers right of this, but sometimes is so damn hard to know exactly where to drop looking from the top.  how do those crazy big mountain riders know where to go?

Couple of guys showing the scale of the line. Thanks fellas!

Couple of guys showing the scale of the line. Thanks fellas!

One of the guys in our group, Jesse (his blog on temple:http://jessesimons.blogspot.com/2009/08/temple-basin.html) is going to Otago University for photography.  He had his camera out more than I did.  It was nice having someone that knew what he was doing up there.  He is shooting Phil D here.  If Phil was an animal he would be a mole.  He seriously averaged building 3 jumps a day.  At any given time you could find him digging by himself someplace on the mountain.  He is dedicated, you have to give him that.

Jesse and Phil D. Shoot

Jesse and Phil D. Shoot

Another Epic Sunset, Friday

Another Fantastic Sunset, Friday

Rope Tow Sunset

Rope Tow Sunset

Another all time day coming to an end…..and another amazing sunset.

The boys heading back to the lodge after a long day of riding

The boys heading back to the lodge after a long day of riding

One of My Happy Places

One of My Happy Places

The Next Morning, Saturday, we had to pack up and prepare to head down and back.  We where going to try and get a half day of riding in since we heard they where opening the top of the mountain.  We got most of our gear rounded up and got it to the goods lift to be carried down early in the morning.

Mark with gear ready to head down

Mark with gear ready to head down

Stuff comes up, unload, reload, stuff goes down

Stuff comes up, unload, reload, stuff goes down

Grizzled, sore hiking legs, sore entire body for that matter, goggle tan, stinky, black eye, and completely euphoric.  Happy!

Grizzled, sore hiking legs, sore entire body for that matter, goggle tan, stinky, black eye, and completely euphoric. Ahh.

Where not done yet.  One last day of hiking and riding.  Today we head to the top!

Temple Mountain.  Over the downhill lift. from top of a knife ridge at the top of the mountain.

Temple Mountain. Over the downhill lift. from top of a knife ridge at the top of the mountain.

Upper Bills Basin

Upper Bills Basin

The ride-able terrain at Temple seems to never end.  This is a whole other mountain to ride above Bills.  Unfortunately the sun baked the hell out of the snow the day before, and the cold morning froze the top layer making the face an icy crusty mess.  Not good riding at all but incredible views!

Everyone else was traversing across the open face, but I decided to try and walk the ridge line.  I had to climb a chute that turned into a vertical wind lip the last 20 feet before the ridge, it was hairy to climb, but I made it with just frayed nerves.  I was rewarded with some amazing views.

View From the Ridge

View From the Ridge

Backside of Downhill. Looking down from the ridge

Backside of Downhill. Looking down from the ridge

I started to walk the ridge, and found that is was not an easy hike.  It was very steep on either side and not much of an even path to walk.  At one point I was straddling the ride, with my board sunk in as an anchor, and my hands painfully clenched around the heel loops of my bindings.  On one side my leg was hanging over a 100 ft sheer vertical cliff wall, and on the other side was a pepper rock chute that was impossible to exit through.  I could have tried to continue on, but it would have been one foot in front of the other, and no fall zones on either side.  Plus there was a semi gusty breeze that pretty much frightened me back.  I wish I had the “where with all” to take out my camera and get a picture of that scene as it must have looked ridiculous, but I was a little nervous at the time.  Probably the most precarious position I have been in on a mountain.

I headed down an easier exit point and hiked across the basin to meet up with the rest of the crew.  We made one final hike up to the peak and had a snack.  The ride down was icy and a good indication it was time to head out.

On the way home, driving back through Aurthur’s Pass, I snapped a picture of a mountain that just hangs over the valley below.

Arthur's Pass Mountain

Arthur's Pass Mountain

I’ll be back in this area come spring.  Its an amazing mountain land, and I can’t wait to return.

I took the boys back to Dunedin and crashed there for a night.  I got home, unpacked, did laundry immediately and showered and shaved.  My black eye was really coming in now, and goggle tans always look ridiculous.  Just souvenirs of a remarkable trip!

Boohya!

Boohya!

Temple Basin. The Club Ski Field, A Kiwi Original

Welcome

Welcome

I arrived back in Queenstown about a week ago from possibly the best experience I have ever had on snow and a board.  I have been processing all the photos, video and trying to figure out just how to describe and explain what and where I was for the past magical week.  I’m struggling with it.  I think I will start it this way…….

I have experienced some pretty rare, unique and amazing situations through snowboarding over the past 10 years.  Apart from Heli skiing, and deep back country sled trips, I have been part of many snowboarding milestones that most casual riders, and even some professional riders don’t get to experience.  Working at a Snowboard camp for 3 summers, riding a glacier with some of the best and most dedicated riders in the world…..spending multiple seasons on a mountain just to ride.  Designing equipment for the sport that I love, and working with the biggest most innovative company it the snow industry.  All amazingly cool things that each day I revel in and have to pinch myself realizing that I somehow get to do these things.  I tell you this, because I may have found something that trumps them all!

The New Zealand Club Ski Field.

There is something about the way the Kiwi’s have set up this unique way to stay at and experience the mountains, back country, and sliding on snow that just hits every part of my Phil-osophy.  I will do my best to describe what it is, the facts and technical specs of the place, and the brilliance that it is.  It’s going to be a long one, so if your at work, or have limited time, bookmark this one and read it just before you go off to bed, I promise it will make you happy!

What is it?

Throughout the southern alps of the south island of New Zealand there are small club ski fields scattered in the mountains.  I’ve been told that the bulk of them, 10-15 are located in the Cantenbury region, a few hours west of Christchurch.  back in the 20’s and 30’s, and possibly earlier than that for some fields, ski clubs where formed in New Zealand, and they decided to build small ski areas to practice there craft.  They built small lodges (shacks really) and rope toes in open bowls and basins in the alps.  To understand what kind of challenge this was, you have to understand the mountains here in NZ.  They are crazy vertical, snow covering only the top 3rd most of the time.  To get to the snow line on most mountains you need to climb a switch back goat path about 1200 meters (4,000 ft) straight up.  Now imagine lugging 8 tons of building material up that.  At Temple, I read that they tried to use pack mules but they failed, so all the material had to be hand carried up.  Today most club fields have a goods lift, but humans still need to hike in…1200M (4,000 ft) up.

Goods Lift

Goods Lift

Hiking 1200 Meters Straight Up a Goat Path

Hiking 1200 Meters Straight Up a Goat Path

Approaching The Lodge

Approaching The Lodge

The Coolness of the field really comes from the fact that it is a club.  Some people are members, but its not necessary, but they are able to regulate who and how many can be at the lodge and on the mountain.  We where there with 85 people, and that was quite a lot for Temple (although 25 where in an intense avalanche training course and where not skiing).  It ends up basically being a communal living/skiing situation.  Each room, or group had chores to do each day to help the club run smooth.  With only 6-8 employees full time, help is needed to keep the place running smoothly.

Dining Room / Communal Hang Out Area

Dining Room / Communal Hang Out Area

Everyone ends up hanging out and eating together.  We would interact with the other groups and look at photos from the day.  There was a group of Pro Photogs and international riders there the same time we where.  There must have been about 15 mac computers spread across the common room at night.

Temple Kitchen

Temple Kitchen

We got 3 meals a day….I mean MEALS.  I could not believe the quality of the food.  It was so good.  The head chef was a Irish girl named Joe.  She made curries, lamb stews, veggies….so much good stuff I can’t recall half of it.  But The culmination of all the meals was a corned beef feast!  Cooked by and Irish chef, on top of a mountain in the middle of no where New Zealand!

We all had to pitch in in some way.  Somehow my room kept getting dinner prep duty.  This involved cleaning the massive pots and mixing bowls used for food prep, wiping down cooking surfaces and general kitchen cleanup, and some food prep as well.  One night I ended up peeling about 150 potatoes.  I felt like I was being reprimanded in the army.

Drying Room

Drying Room

This is the room to take all riding / skiing gear to dry after a day of shredding.  I have to say this must be one of the stinkiest non-commercial rooms in the world.

Dorm Room

Dorm Room

5 to a room….this also may be one of the stinkiest rooms in the world.

Mud / Snow Melt Room

Mud / Snow Melt Room

Ski / Board Storage

Ski / Board Storage

Lodge Entrance / Exit

Lodge Entrance / Exit

The Riding

1930 Skiing At Temple

1930 Skiing At Temple

Most club fields run rope tows, and Temple is no exception.  The lifts are 60 year old technology that for the most part run beautifully due to there simplicity.  I talked with Hugo, the operations manager at Temple Basin about how they put up and take down the lifts, and what is permanent on the field.  He informed me that it takes about a weekend to assemble the tow, and splice the rope each season.  They bolt wooden post to permanently anchored metal stakes in the bed rock on each lift line.  They then bolt on pulleys to each post (tower) and get the electrical power motors going.  2 days and about 15 laborers later you got yourself 3 working lifts deep in the mountains of NZ.

To attach yourself to the rope, you use what they call a nut cracker.  They call it this because the system (or simple metal hinged grip device) resembles a walnut cracker (not the Christmas statue soldier guy ones…although that would be hilarious)  This metal grip is attached by a thin rope to a waist harness that you clip around yourself like a belt.  They give you a suede sleeve with thumb hole to put over you glove to protect from abrasion.  The process for getting up the rope tow is as follows: Grab rope with glove protector covered glove and slowly grip so that you are brought up to speed with the rope and it begins to take you up the hill.  Before the first pulley (about 50 ft) swing the nut cracker around the rope, catching the top section with same hand and squeeze together so that it locks around the rope. Always be mindful to watch where your going and stay in line with the pulleys so that you don’t pull the rope off. ( this is difficult since you are on a slope and need to keep and edge in, and almost all fall off first time…..for me twice) Now put tension on the harness by leaning back.  Take your hand that is on the rope off as you go over each pulley, as you don’t want to crush your fingers as the rope runs through he pulley.  Each time the nut cracker rides over a pulley it makes a distinct “ping” sound.  At top let go of the top half of the nut cracker which then pops off the rope releasing you. (watch the pop….metal to the face, arm or wrist is stingy and painful).  The harness stays around you all day as you ride, and the nut cracker slides through a loop in the harness for storage.  So you are basically riding with a belt and a 12″ piece of metal hanging from your waist all day, frighteningly close to ones crotch….hence the 2nd reason its called a nut cracker.

Rope Tow Shack and Line

Rope Tow Shack and Line

The Mountain

Not much to say here….words can’t really describe it.  Even the photos can’t capture how steep, rugged, and big everything is…I mean everything!

Temple Basin Trail Map

Temple Basin Trail Map

Good Morning! Looking across the valley at the surrounding mountains.

Good Morning! Looking across the valley at the surrounding mountains.

A Small Sliver Of Terrain

A Small Sliver Of Terrain

The Lodge, Surrounded By Mountain Guardians

The Lodge, Surrounded By Mountain Guardians

This is Temple Basin

This is Temple Basin

Upper Bills Basin, Adjacent to Temple Basin

Upper Bills Basin, Adjacent to Temple Basin

Back'er Country

Back'er Country

Rope Tow Anchor and Mountains All Around

Rope Tow Anchor and Mountains All Around

One of the many deep fun powder filled gullies

One of the many deep fun powder filled gullies

Check out Temple Basin’s site if you get a chance.

My Next Post will be a detailed description of the riding that we did here on this playground.  Stay tuned!  Thanks for reading!

The Stash at Remarks

The Stash Concrete Sign

The Stash Concrete Sign

Stash Shack

Stash Shack

Burton has sponsored this really cool concept for a snowboard park at the Remarkables.  I have been told it is one of 3 in the world.  The idea is that the features are incorporated in to the natural terrain of the mountain.  Its does not totally stay true to this idea, but its a cool set up none the less.

Entrance

Entrance

Penguin Sentinel

Penguin Sentinel

Stash Penguin

Stash Penguin

Stash Penguin

Stash Penguin

Flat Log

Flat Log

Small Wall Ride

Small Wall Ride

Up Log

Up Log

Up Log

Up Log

A Log and 2 Large Wall Ride Set Up

A Log and 2 Large Wall Ride Set Up

Looking Back

Looking Back

Main Wall Ride

Main Wall Ride

Lower Stash Park. Tables

Lower Stash Park. Tables

A Table

A Table

Concrete Close Up

Concrete Close Up

Stash Shack

Stash Shack

Stash Shack Left

Stash Shack Left

Shack Ledge

Shack Ledge

Shack Again

Shack Again

Shack Staircase Entry

Shack Staircase Entry

Shack Closeup

Shack Closeup

Yup

Yup

Helmet Camera Mount

Before I set out on this trip, I picked up a few different media recording devices.  This one is a mini camcorder.  Its about the size of a medium cellphone and records high definition video.  Its a super cool little camera.  The only complaint I have about it is that there is no shake compensation.  Its called the Flip Mino HD.flip_mino_hdOnce I arrived in Queenstown and I moved into my flat, I unpacked all my snowboard gear.  As I pulled out my very old snowboard helmet a thought came to me.  It would be rad to get some point of view (POV) video of the snowboarding I’m going to do here in NZ.  I thought about follow cam stuff, following riders down shoots and off jumps, all filmed from my mini video camera attached to my helmet. (this type of filming a has been done a lot before, this is just rigging up my own helmet mount)

I went through a few different ideas on how to mount it.  One idea was to use my camping head torch head band, and wrap the camera with that.  It didn’t work too well because there wasn’t enough support and the camera wobbled with every jolt.  I tried attaching bungy cords to the camera and around my head to secure the mount more, but after almost loosing an eye when one bungy released, I though better of it.

I then tried to attach the camera to my helmet with bungy cords, but again the same problem arose as the head band mount.  Friends suggested tape, but I didn’t want to go that way because the camera would be difficult to dismount after a day of riding, and hard to mount again when I was ready to shoot in subsequent days.

After tinkering for a few days, this solution dawned on me….and surprisingly it really worked out.  I had all the parts except for the bolts and washers, and 2 quick stops at the hardware store and I was all set.  I even found a screw with the same thread as the camera mount and thumb nut….never thought I would find that at a local hardware store!

Helmet Camera Mounting System

Helmet Camera Mounting System

Helmet Camera Mounting System

Helmet Camera Mounting System

The nut and bolt attachment point on the helmet allows the L bracket to pivot when loosened for a quick pitch adjustment of the camera.

The nut and bolt attachment point on the helmet allows the L bracket to pivot when loosened for quick pitch adjustment of the camera.

Unfortunately Flip doesn’t make a water housing for this model. (they do for there older model) I made a small protection bag out of a zip lock bag and tape.  Any place that I need exposed on the camera, I cut the bag away and layered tape over the hole, and then cut away entry holes.  The tape creates a water tight seal.  It ain’t pretty, but effective….I hope.

Camera Water Bag with Water Seal (tape)

Camera Water Bag with Water Seal (tape)

Looking at back of camera.  I'm going to have to take off the helmet and a glove to turn on/off, and start/stop, but at least it will work.

Looking at the back of the camera. I'm going to have to take off the helmet and a glove to turn on/off, and start/stop, but at least it will work.

Camera Screw Mount

Camera Screw Mount

Mount

Mount

Helmet Cam and Me!

Helmet Cam and Me!

View from the Remarks Road

I went up to Remarks the very next day, after my inaugural introduction with the mountain.  On the way down, the sunset made for some “remarkable” landscapes…..paahh.

Looking back in the direction of Queenstown from the top of Remarks

Looking back in the direction of Queenstown from the top of Remarks

Top of the Remarks Road.  The car park view.

Top of the Remarks Road. The car park view.

Afternoon Sun on the Southern Alps. From the remarks road.

Afternoon Sun on the Southern Alps. From the remarks road.

Afternoon Sun on the Southern Alps

Afternoon Sun on the Southern Alps

Cloud Sea and Snow Covered Islands.

Cloud Sea and Snow Covered Islands.

Surreal Mountains

Surreal Mountains

Queenstown through the clouds, guarded by peaks

Queenstown through the clouds, guarded by peaks

River Bed

River Bed

Thru Clouds to Valley and Peaks

Thru Clouds to Valley and Peaks

Thru Clouds to Valley and Peaks 2

Thru Clouds to Valley and Peaks 2

Kiwi Mountain Majesty

Kiwi Mountain Majesty

First Day at the Remarkables

One of the 5 main Remarkable bowls....that's 2 days of tracks!

One of the 5 main Remarkable bowls....that's 2 days of tracks!

First day at the Remarkables!  Finally on snow, it feels like it took forever.  After looking for a job with no success, stressing about money, missing friends and family back home, a good snowboarding day was truly needed.

The road up to the ski field is dirt, rutted, steep as hell, and long.  My van is rear wheel drive, has nearly bald tires on the back, and an undersized engine.  Its not exactly a winter, mountain vehicle, but it makes it up the hill.  I got up pretty late, around 11:30 am, but I knew there hadn’t been snow fall in a week, so no real reason to get up early.

Wider view of the lookers left bowls

Wider view of the lookers left bowls

There are only 3 lifts at Remarks!  That’s it.  NZ skiing is much different than other regions of the world.  It’s small operations, but the terrain is big and rocky!  Most of the steep shoots have to be accessed by foot, and lay above the lifts.  This is perfect because most skiers/riders here won’t make the effort, keeping fresh tracks available for days after a snow.  These pics where taken 2 days after the mountain opened, and that is all the tracks on the two big open steep bowls!

After a 40 minute hike almost straight up to a ridge line.  I am sitting on a rock cropping over the chute I dropped.  This is looking back at the lifts, parking lot, and lodge.  The southern alps are in

After a 40 minute hike almost straight up to a ridge line. I am sitting on a rock cropping over the chute I dropped. This is looking back at the lifts, parking lot, and lodge. The southern alps are in the back ground.

As I road down, looking at all the possible lines, I got filled with strong emotion, and it hit me again that this is why I am here.  In that moment I was as close to true happiness.  Then frustration set is as I remembered that I haven’t ridden seriously in 6 years, and my legs and body weren’t acting the way they where suppose to….but that is another story.

The lodge from the 2 tiny car parks

The lodge from the 2 tiny car parks

I think this is going to be a fun season!  Hopefully I can stretch my money to cover it.

Lake Alta, and Double Cone.  The peak of Remarkables.  I have no idea how to access this area yet, but there are some lines and chutes that are insane!

Lake Alta, and Double Cone. The peak of Remarkables. I have no idea how to access this area yet, but there are some lines and chutes that are insane!

This is taken from the other side of the mountain, after a 30 min hike.  It is looking down the backside of Remarks, towards Queenstown, into a clouds abyss.

This is taken from the other side of the mountain, after a 30 min hike. It is looking down the backside of Remarks, towards Queenstown, into a clouds abyss.