Since 2004 I dreamed to go back to this country called “the long white cloud” Aotearoa. After a few hours of driving my girlfriend and I arrived to Arthur’s Pass. We could see the snow on higher altitude and went there for the next two days to warm up and train before the first competition, the Black Diamond Big Mountain Chill Series, a FWQ event. We hiked a lot this first days to check snow conditions, and it wasn’t soft at all! The snow was hard like stone, almost everywhere, as there was rain till the summits just two days earlier. We still had a good time and enjoyed the mountains and the great surroundings. And also to be back in winter after the 30° celsius from Switzerland!

On the first competition day in Temple Basin I was riding fast and jumped the biggest cliff of the day (in the snowboarder field) and got 4th. Second and last day there was this kind of atmosphere in the air: everybody wants to push the limit and win! My riding was fast and clean, I jumped again the biggest cliff (both cliffs visible in the video (end of video) here: https://vimeo.com/49192492) and got first on that day. So in overall ranking I came second, so podium and some cash 🙂

 

After a cold night in our van on the pass we went to the second comp on the North Island by car. Here thanks to our sleeping bags, we took them with us all this thousands of kilometers from home. By the way we travelled with 84 kilo for 2 persons! (including climbing stuff and wetsuits)

For the Mt. Ruapehu Xtreme Comp 2012 we met all the other kiwi and european riders (incl. some swissfrench and austrian friends) in the cosy village of Whakapapa. What a sweet name, isn’t it? (btw: “wh” becomes “f” in Maori-Language)
First competition day was finally the only one, as the second day got canceled. (why? Second day was supposed to be on another mountain which was steeper and more dangerous… and check the chairlift-picture bilow! you’ll understand 😉
We had each two runs, and the best run counted for the final ranking. Once again I jumped the biggest cliff (of the snowboarders) and landed it clean (riding fast and fluid from top till bottom).Colin Boyd and me been the ONLY of all the 20 snowboarders who got to the finish area WITHOUT crashing or butt-check in a run! So altogether 40 runs and 38 runs with falls.
Then the whole mountain was covered in black ice! No joke! Special Whakapapa riding conditions, a totally new experience for me after 30years riding snow! It was like riding on a very steep icerink! (We had as well to bring iceaxe and crampons with us to the competition, mandatory by the organisation.)
Guess how the podium looked like?  Colin first, Jordan second, me third.
Here the offial video: (in the video Jordan and Colin fell as you can see (you see the takeoff’s but not the landings of their big cliff. My run is not there, a pity! I landed my jumps clean, including the biggest of the day.) Check the podium list and points.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-_cgPAWy0s&list=UUu8D_79xl1sFEhWF4MEyUTw&index=7&feature=plcp

So here last but not least the picture with the chairlift on which we all don’t want to get stuck ;-)….or is there someone?Chairlift in Whakapapa

In all this years of competing I saw many riders (FWT and whatever level) who felt not rightly judged. I guess I now belong to them too. I never saw a clearer situation on a competition day. But hey!, the good price money stays now in NZ and that’s positive.

I’m going to keep working fully motivated. As a professional snowboarder and as a carpenter….
…I touch wood, its good.
Aotearoa was worth the trip, it has a unique character.

And in the next blog update I’m gonna tell you why I left Nendaz and the 4Vallées, where I was freeriding the last 11years.

Published by raphi