Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Perisher Freeride Session

words by Ali Deane

Another NSW Chicks weekend, and another epic weekend of snow. Chains were required on the way up on Friday night, but it was truly a winter wonderland.

On Sunday Perisher didn’t know what hit it, as over 60 chicks took over on one of the season’s best days – bluebird and beautifully groomed packed fresh stuff. The event saw a big contingent of boarders, in the program’s only second year of encompassing both disciplines.

Headed up by three coaches Olivia Coates, Laura Williams and Ali Deane, some of the boarders branched off for some freeriding out at Mount P with Liv, and Laura and Ali headed straight for the park with a keen group of girls from all over, Wollongong, Canberra, Cooma, Beechworth, and Queensland.

With the sun shining down, and some perfect park jumps to hit, the girls got straight in, some trying table-top jumps for the first time, and others spinning their first 180, and even stepping up to some cab 180’s and backside too.

On the way back for lunch we couldn’t help but check out the half pipe, Australia’s best, and it was looking good. The pipe walls may have been daunting for some, but everyone gave it a go, starting low, keeping it cruisey, and while most of us took a break for lunch, some of the Chicks couldn’t help but keep taking laps.

I was truly stoked when I heard that it was the best day riding for some of the girls, and was happy to play a part in their progression. Sunshine all day, and smiles on dials, what a day!

The lucky winner of a Roxy board!
Zoe talking to CWS

Morning Session
Torie Hamilton-Wilson

After an epic week of snow fall the Chicks with Stix crew were pretty excited to be shredding in 60cm of fresh pow! Not only was there fresh snow, it was also bluebird and with the session filling up weeks in advanced there were plenty of chicks to make the most of it!

In the morning I had a large group of girls focusing on park progression. We took a few laps there, setting goals along the way and watching everyone progress exceptionally quickly. The jumps were the perfect size for 360s- one of the girls Emma was up to perfecting her style only a week after her first try! We continued shredding through the park after lunch, heading to the front valley to see what we could conquer in the big park. I was stoked to watch 10 year old Abi kill it on the rails and super excited to watch her progression in the future to come.

Chicks hanging out on the chairlift

This was the final session of CwS for 2012 until the throw down at Hotham. Every weekend has bought me so much enjoyment skiing with all the girls. It's so cool watching you all attempt new tricks and progressing so quickly. Working with all the girls who have come to the sessions has been amazing, at the end of every session I can see that you have taken away a new skill to work on. Keep being confident and showing those boys down in the park! 

See you all next year.
Kate Blamey and the chicks!

Afternoon Session
Kate Blamey

In the afternoon some of the skiers and I headed over to Blue Cow to ski some real bumps on the Brumby mogul course. On top of blasting through the bumps, my group of 8 also managed to learn and stomp 180s which was a great achievement- especially since no one seemed to keen on the idea when I mentioned 180s in the morning. They all gave it a go and their hard work definitely paid off! 

The afternoon mogul session wouldn't have been complete without fitting in some synchro skiing. While our formation was to pretty at the start it was a challenge to keep everyone turning rhythmically. By the end of the day everyone felt a little more comfortable in the bumps and on steeper terrain- a great success for Team Bumps.

Prize Giving and wrap up

Thanks everyone for such a great day! If you haven't seen it already check out the Perisher Report with CWS!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blue Skies, Pow and SkierX

Words by Katya Crema

What a few weeks it has been! After an awesome Chicks with Stix weekend in Thredbo, I was pretty excited to show the girls what I do in the ski cross National Championships races at Hotham. This weekend, I've really had the best of both worlds.... 65cm of fresh light powder on Friday and Saturday, then blue skis, firm snow and a great day of ski cross racing on Sunday. I honestly couldn't ask for anything more from a weekend of skiing.

Saturday's race was pushed back to Sunday due to excessive snow (damn... another day of powder skiing!) On Saturday night, the clouds finally cleared and the stars came out, freezing the snow for a great race. Considering the difficult conditions, Hotham managed to build a fast and fun ski cross course overnight. The aim was to hold both races on the Sunday, however we only managed to get one complete race off, and another qualification run (counting for race number two.)

Being the first ski cross race of the season, I was quite nervous to see where I was sitting against the competition (my teammates on the National Team). Back came the good nerves and race butterflies, and I switched my competitive edge back on. I won both qualification runs by over a second, so I was extremely happy with the result. In finals I couldn't quite grab the lead out of the start gate, and finished in second place behind Jenny Owens.

1st Place, Run 2, Australian Skiercross Championships
So all in all, I finished the National Championships with a 1st and a 2nd place. Not a bad start to the World Cup racing season to come! 

Mum and I enjoying the sun at Hotham

Friday, August 17, 2012

CWS Freeride Session Thredbo

Looking over Thredbo Resort
What a weekend!! Whilst a long drive from Melbourne I always love returning to my favourite resort Thredbo, and this visit did not disappoint! As Tori and I corned around the corner from Dead Horse Gap on the road from Victoria the warm glow of the village appeared and with some speckles of snow still suspended from a recently flurry. Now we all know Thredbo has more to offer than just excellent skiing so we quickly popped into a local restaurant to say hi to some of the Thredbo regulars and the rest of the Chicks with Stix crew who had come together to catch up.

Chicks with Stix had the opportunity to connect with local skiers on both Saturday and Sunday in Thredbo and we had a range of coaches and ambassadors there to share their hard earned knowledge and experience.

Zoe introduces everyone to the program
Local snowboarders were able to connect with Ali, Olivia, and guest Roxy rider Biba Turnbull who was fresh off a second place in the Billabong Bro Down in NZ.  Jess Rich, Olivia Coates and Ali Deane took the boarders up for a few leg-warmers, then on to the Merritts park to work on 50-50’s, boardslides, straight airs and 180’s. The snow was perfect – and all the new recruits had a blast picking up a few pointers in technique, park safety and taking the next step.

Ali, Olivia, Biba and Leonie loving the sunshine on the way up for anotherone oo Merritts
Leonie our wakeboarder pops some sweet air
Seeing the girls make small adjustments to their techniques, commit to riding switch, try things for the first time in the park, and conquer goals was really cool, and by the smiles and giggles all day, it was pretty clear they were truly stoked.

Olivia goes over some tips in the park
Tori, Zoe, Katya, Hanna and Karinya led the skiers with local Thredbo ambassador Anna Segal also spending time with the skiers as well as CwS ambassador Jenny Owens.

The conditions were brilliant and we saw a mixed group of seasonal staff, locals and those even from other mountains meet at Friday Flat with one having driven up from Sydney for the day!! There were a couple of familiar faces from last year which was fantastic to see and the progression they had made was incredible! With such a strong line up of CwS coaches and ambassadors both skiers and snowboarders had a variety of skills to develop and experience to learn from. 

Stunning day at Thredbo
Olympians Jenny and Katya shared some skier cross tips through their group on the Saturday and similarly the current Slopestyle World Champion Anna Segal with those keen to learn new tricks in the park on Sunday.  Big mountain skiers Tori and Hanna showed the group how to tear up the Bluff which had a range of natural features and some of the steeper pitch on the mountain. KT mixed it up with a session on how to conquer the moguls below the Basin T-bar which were soft and a great place to progress technique.

Sunday morning saw Zoe and Ali squeeze in interviews for Rush TV and on the mountain they managed to capture some footage of the different groups including some of the girls skiing down huge moguls on the face of the bluff.  This footage will be available on ABC.

Zoe getting down with Rush TV
To cap off an awesome weekend we presented many of the girls with prizes generously provided from our sponsors including Armada skis, Dragon goggles, Shafted ski poles and Roxy which all the girls were super stoked to receive such great incentives. 

Prize giving!
The Chicks weekend at Thredbo could have been any better! We can’t wait for next time, and hope you guys remember the awesome feeling of progression. Keep ripping, and see you guys back on the hill soon, wherever that may be!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nat Segal: Oh hello my dear friend SNOW

Treble Cone celebrating the snow
Reporting live from Wanaka, we have snow. It may have only snowed 10cms last night but it was the first time I saw snow in the Treble Cone resort parking lot, so I was ecstatic!

I've been in NZ for just over a week, I landed on Saturday 28th in Christchurch and made my way down to Wanaka for the start of the 2012 World Heli Challenge. 

The WHC runs over 2 weeks, we fly 2 compete altogether, one day of freestyle and one of big mountain. It's an amazing event to be a part of. When we are not competing, there are heaps of things going on in and around Wanaka. Today the team headed out to the West Coast for a day of surfing- I was planning on going but after checking the pow alert at 6am I got my ski gear ready and headed up to Treble Cone with Janina Kuzma and Lyndon Sheehan.

Janina and Lyndon
Storm riding is a funny thing- you want to be the first people out there getting first tracks but usually you can't see much. I guess it's the nature of the beast and why bluebird pow days are so treasured!

Nevertheless we found some great turns! NZ in general has been a little dry since I've been here, a warm event melted a lot of the early base and the hills are only now recovering. In saying that, the terrain here is next to none, tussocks, steeps and incredible views so I can deal with a week or two of snow drought.

Powder 8s- you can see them if you look closely!

Snow Happy!
We skied all morning in the clouds, I was on standby to compete, so I didn't want to tire my legs out! After a beautiful long run down one of the ridges we were talking about heading home when we spotted a little friend and a very good omen.

As I was turning around to ski off, Janina spotted this little beauty. He or she was hanging out amongst the tussock. These mammals are an introduced species and over the years they have been hunted down as pests or for sport. Those that live in the surrounding mountains are quite rare- it was a special find. I think there is nothing more beautiful than seeing an animal in the wild, especially a mountain goat.

 A rare spotting- Chamois or Kiwi Chamy
With an even bigger smile on my face than before, we headed down the mountain to home for an afternoon of stretching and hot tubs! The World Heli Challenge Freestyle day kicks off tomorrow at 7am- that means helicopters and powder snow. It's gonna be good!! Keep your eyes open on facebook for all the updates!