Archive for August, 2011

I set out a week ago on a journey that covered all aspects of a ski bum’s dream, you may think that this is the reason for the title, but it derives from a hidden gem, deep in the southern alps of NZ known as the Playground of the Gods.

Harry G and I set out on our way up to the K2 Big Mountain Comp, a four day / two mountain event consisting of one qualifying and one finals day at each field.  This event draws some of the best NZ ski and snowboard talent and just a jolly good bunch of crew for a few days of shredding.

Heading up for finals at Craigieburn

Heading into Craigieburn¬†is an adventure in itself. ¬†Located most of the way through Arthur’s Pass, Craigieburn is a NZ Clubfield with a hardcore cult following and terrain to suit. ¬†The drive off the main road is generally 4WD + chain access only and slides through the forest with a mere snow bank separating your vehicle from the 300 meter drop to the valley floor. ¬†Way Extreme!

Upon arrival we hopped on the tow to scope the venue a day before the comp.  The rocks were sharp and the snow was hard, a perfect combo for a big mountain event.  The rest of the crew trickled in over the evening and morning and by midday we were teeing up our only run for the qualifiers.  I scoped out a unique line that only one other competitor rode prior to me and I came out qualifying in first leading into the finals the following day.

One of two videos from some talented filmers!

Unfortunately, I ended up hitting rocks mid-flight on my first finals run, (a theme for the week), but managed to bounce back to my board like a cat, leaving me with only a few scratches.  My second run came together much better, but Ruari scored .3 points higher, taking out the Craigieburn aspect of the event.

One of four videos by The Daily Dump, check them out!

The opening day at Mount Olympus was pretty fun.  I scoped a tech line with a couple of good hits, but I managed to blow it in the middle hitting rocks due to lack of speed (again), yet somehow, I squeaked into the finals.  Below are two angles of the same bottom hit.

Photo: Shane Orchard

Photo: The Daily Dump

Ruari and I decided to bail on the results to go and shred some back bowl couliours with Shane O and some of the filmers. ¬†The first line was probably the skinniest crack I’ve ever shredded…the 30 min of exposed rock climbing into the chute added some gnar factor. ¬†It was quite¬†aesthetic¬†though seeing as it just ended before the peak of the mountain, quite the stash!

Couliour City – The one mentioned is on the right

The finals at Mt Olympus were held on a piece of terrain known as Little Alaska. ¬†Shane O provided some critical local knowledge in the A.M. allowing me to scope a fresh line from what I had previously been considering. ¬†Luckily, by the time I hiked to the top of the venue, most of the skiers had dropped and my line was still untouched, leaving me a bit apprehensive at the top… Regardless, I dropped into what would have appeared pretty hairy from the base, but navigated my way through the terrain with a minor butt-check in the middle. ¬†Confident leading into my second run, I nailed the top 2/3, and instead of riding out satisfied, I spun a half-cab off a bottom cliff and punched through the ice layer and bailed! ¬†Guts!

Photo: Chill Рmiddle cliff on my 2nd finals run 

I wound up in 2nd place at Mt Olympus, leaving me in 2nd place overall behind Ruari the local McFarland. ¬†Stoked with the result, we sent it large at Mt O for the final evening which just happened to coordinate with my 25th birthday. ¬†The bar had just gotten stocked with 7 heli-drops off alcohol and the bar at 1500 meters stayed open until 2:30 AM with the drum and bass crankin through 4 AM. ¬† Chocolate breasted birthday cake, late night hot tubs, fancy dress dance parties, and a slinky 7AM tequila sunrise departure left a searing memory from a place now personally regarded as The Ski Bum’s Dream.

Seven Heli-drops later, the Playground of the Gods was sufficiently stocked with booze….for a couple weeks!

Tequila Sunrise!

For more info/videos on the event checkout:


The Daily Dump 


Good friend and old flatmate, Will Jackways just got hooked up with an ESPN face-time spot by the Nug Man. ¬†You may have seen some of the images from one of my early blog posts, but if you didn’t check it out in the Boyd-Blog Archives.

Follow the link for the Face-Time video here!!!


Will Jackways, Pisa Range, October 2010




August was always a month to be savored, the end of strawberries and blueberries but the ripening of tomatoes, apples and the long awaited hurricane season. ¬†This of course is a depiction of life in Maine – The Way Life Should Be. ¬†But in New Zealand, its dark, cold and sometimes snowy, but for some reason many snow shredding globe trotters plop down in Wanaka for a week, a month or a season to experience the ever elusive NZ Winter. ¬†2/3 of my ¬†past six summers have been immersed in this snowy remote island. ¬†Why? ¬†I can’t quite explain, but here are some photos capturing one of the main reasons, Treble Cone:

Motatapu Chutes Perspective

Happy Valley (Now I am making shit up)
TC – looking NW
Although I spend most of my time hiking around out here, there are occasional competition days such as the 2011 New Zealand Snowboarder Magazine Banked Slalom, where I took out 2nd place up against a field full of the loc-dawgs. The course was in a different location from 2010, bu the weather was just about the same as last year:
NZ Snowboarder Banked Slalom 2010

Every now and again I put my enviro hat on, take off my shoes and reground myself in my ‘hippy roots’. ¬†This has been one of those weeks. ¬†I recently was directed to an in depth podcast on the crossroads of the environment and economics. ¬†Chris Martenson and Nate Hagens are two of the world leaders on these issues. ¬†I recommend taking the time to listen to the following:

We’re Not Facing A Shortage of Energy, But A Longage of Expectations

Click here for the transcript to follow along with your highlighter! 





I saw this short at an environmental film fest last May, though never tracked it down.  So here it is for you all to see:  The Story of Bottled Water

Following the expedition out of Big Bay, we found ourselves holed up for a whiskey and crayfish filled weekend at one of the raddest little farms I’ve had the pleasure of staying at. ¬†Based in Arrowtown, the Toddy’s Farm is just down the road from Queenstown and about an hour from home base in Wanaka.

Rather than rush off home and hit the mountains, I immersed myself in the farm life; feedin’ the pigs and chooks, lightin’ the bonfire, cookin’ a dozen poached eggs at a time, drinkin’ whiskey by high noon, catchin a buzz down by the river and tellin’ jokes like a bunch of salty dogs. ¬†It was a classic way to end the trip, and just as things have a way of working out, the snow storm rolled into town Sunday morning, dusting the hills with a fresh 20 cm to start the week.

Monster Crayfish, caught by hand!  Much like a lobster but without the claws

Incredible hand built stone hearth

Warrick, The Fisherman

James, The Whiskey-Man 


Severe hairy eyeball from the one-eyed steak

The car’s packed, ready for the next mission!¬†