On 30 January the Saas-Fee snow park was victim to a female invasion… Optimum teamed up with Surf Affinity for a day of all girl freestyle. Over twenty girls turned up for coaching from the Optimum ladies (Kat and Amy) and Surf Affinity’s Cozza.
From never-ever-park-goers to accomplished-pro-line riders, we were thrilled to see such a great turn out. Armed with enthusiasm, the girls spent the morning tackling flat land tricks and switch riding - which proved to be a whole lot more achievable than anyone first imagined :D After a quick briefing in park etiquette, the ladies launched themselves at the kickers and boxes.
Progression was the order of the day. With confidence boosted and humiliation eradicated, the girls threw down a host of spreads, grabs, grinds and spins for the jam session comp. Prizes were awarded for the most stylish tricks and the biggest improvers at an après party held in Saas-Fee’s Snowpoint bar, complete with sparkly pink cocktails.
Thanks to our sponsors: Tignes Spirit Community, SuperRad, Downdays, Planks clothing, Snowpoint and Nikita Clothing @WildONe Saas Fee, and to all the girls who got involved - hope to catch you in the park soon…
Fancy a girly surfing holiday on the beaches of Portugal, the Maldives or Costa Rica? Check out Surf Affinity.
As the 2011/12 season was wrapping up in Saas Fee, I headed to Austria to complete my BASI Level 3 technical exam. It was unfortunate to miss out on some massive snow-falls and end of season festivities, however two weeks of riding on the Hintertux Glacier and staying in what turned out to be a very flash apartment in the Austrian Alps, was a worthy substitute and great fun. Passing my exam made it even better.
Now as I write this, another winter season is coming to an end. My season in New Zealand has been a busy one. This is my third winter working at The Remarkables, so Queenstown is beginning to feel like a second home. A new season brought a new job as a snowsports school coordinator, making me the guy walking around with a clipboard and a radio. It’s been interesting to work as a different role within a snow sports school, facing a lot of new challenges during one of the busiest seasons The Remarkables has had for a few years.
I still managed to find the time to get out and about; taking a few trips to ride at Snow Park in the evenings, and finally made it out to Ohau, one of the best club fields in New Zealand. After ascending the steepest and narrowest dirt mountain road I have ever driven, I was greeted by some AMAZING snow on steep, sun drenched slopes. Next on the calendar is a trip up to Mt. Hutt for an instructor exchange, to see how they operate and experience working on another mountain. Then I’m off for on some downhill mountain bike trips around Queenstown.
With only a few weeks remaining of the season, I’ve glimpsed a little snapshot of summer; riding in t shirts, long evenings sitting on the beach, end of season events like downhill cardboard pirate ships races - which I won! Hard to think that in two weeks I will be flying back to the beginning of another winter, hopefully with as much, if not more, fun and snow as last year.
Today five of the Optimum Team gathered in the Saas-Fee car park at 7am to embark on an adventure to Simplon. The Simplon Pass is around an hour and half drive from Saas-Fee and offers some fantastic touring routes. Aaron (team leader), Ben, Chris, Kat and Amy were booted and suited by 9am, we set off on a ski tour that would take us up to the summit of the Staldhorn- which stands at 2462m. The ascent took us around two and a half hours; we took it at leisurely pace, allowing us to get back into the rhythm of skinning and some time to build a Snowpit. When you are skiing in the backcountry it is extremely important to know what the snow is up to underneath you- a Snowpit allows you to see how the layers of snow have formed and if there are any instabilities in the snow pack. We used a Compression Test to examine how strongly the snow pack held together; by applying gradually increasing amounts of pressure through a shovel on top of an isolated block of snow, we were able to gauge how successfully the snow would hold our weight as we crossed it. We concluded that the snow was relatively safe and stable but we remained on guard for the rest of our time away from the pistes. A successful day was had by all; we bagged ourselves a summit and got a little fitter in the process! The conditions for the descent were very spring like as the sun climbed higher in the sky, however, whatever the snow it was wonderful to be away from the crowds and out in the backcountry :D Take a look at some photos from the day…