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!

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