Briar: Oh my gosh, why on earth did I set my alarm for 7.30am? It feels like the middle of the night. ‘You did it for the others' I tell myself to feel better and more purposeful, which is mostly true as I need to get my scope on to pick a venue for our extreme picnic expression session.
Crawling out of my bed I am met by Yuki the Bernese mountain dog for some big fluffy ‘its ok Briar' cuddles. The perfectly bluebird sky makes getting myself sorted out for the day seem much easier and I get to work with a hearty feed of porridge and coffee before making the drive up to the place I identify as home, Turoa ski field.
Anna: After excess tea / coffee drinking and a small serving of disorganisation we arrived at Turoa ready to shred the day in the bluebird conditions. Unfortunately the volcano was playing hard to get and had set into boiler-plate ice. With palpable heat in the sun and low winds, it was only a matter of time before it released. Queue more coffee drinking, picnicing and goggle tan development.
Briar: Don't even get us started on the topic of the cancelling of the FWQ Extreme competition 3 days before it was supposed to run. Without dwelling too long on the negatives, myself and a few of the local Ohakune lads decided we did not want poor organization by RAL to tarnish the awesome skiing and boarding as well as community that is Mt Ruapehu. With competitors coming as far as from America and Europe for the event we felt we owed it to them to show them how we do it around here. The aptly named ‘Extreme Picnic' was developed, a one-day event where the competitors were to have an expression session with a professional photographer and participate in some hammers ratpacking and freeride antics followed by drinks and pizza at 4 Thames Street bar in Ohakune.
Anna: Reconvening with a bunch of the competitors that were in town for the ill-fated Ruapehu Extremes was bitter sweet... It was great to see everyone and while the freeskiers were still upset about the huge loss of costs, time and opportunity there was a positive vibe and general stoke that a few of the epic locals had put on the Extreme Picnic for us.
Briar: Due to an extremely windy evening turning to a clear sky and a frost the spring corn from the warm day before had frozen as solid as your local skate ramp and what powder was left from the last snow fall had blown somewhere in the direction of Palmerston North. After a few frantic laps of the High Noon Express chair to check out all those secret and not so secret spots that we could potentially use for the expression session I came to the decision that conditions were not ideal. After a few phone calls around the organisers our photographer and snow.co.nz winter guru Martyn Davies made the appropriate call that hucking our meat on to boiler plate ice just for a few photos was probably not the best idea and we would be better to hold off for the sun to do some work on the northern facing slopes. As this was the first time riding Turoa for many competitors they weren't too fussed with the hold off as it meant they could get some more freeriding in with their local guides Anna and myself.
Anna: Around lunch time Hamiltons face softened into spring goodness. The rattle your bones ice had released into heroes snow so the group sessioned this sunny aspect right down to the Nga Wai Heke Chairlift. Windlips were on with perfect trannys and nice turns. There were also some smaller drops that were pretty fun with mandatory pre ollying because the take-offs had disappeared in the melt / freeze cycle.
Briar: After getting in some sweet slush slashes and making a few corn rows we were lucky enough to be able to session the airbag from lift closing until 5.30pm. Words cannot describe how awesome it is to be halfway up a snow covered volcano with a sky so clear you can see all the way to Mt Egmont and the sea to the east, and right down to the South Island with the sun slowly setting and a huge full moon above us. If a vista could be described as sexy this was the Miranda Kerr in Victorias Secret of all vistas!!! To make the moment more perfect was the company, 19 skiing and boarding enthusiasts having the time of their lives throwing down the sickest of tricks and encouraging each other to push their limits and try new things.
Anna:We had definitely carpe'd the diem and as the sun went down, so did we, to clean up for the Extreme Picnic party at 4 Thames St!
La Pizzaria put on an amazing spread of delicious delicious pizzas for us and we were well watered by tuatara beer, jager and red bull.... There was a heated debate over whether tequila is better taken with salt & lemon or orange & cinammon so we ducked out to grab some key ingredients.. More tests are needed.
Briar: Our watering at 4 Thames was accompanied by some great entertainment from the turntable genious Austin Hobson AKA DJ Option from Bristol UK. A wee while later after having a good old boogie at the jam night the extreme picnickers dispersed one by one to various locations across town. For a few of the competitors the night ended amusingly in a jacuzzi with naked swedes doing front-flips into an unsuspecting free ski soup.
Huge thank you to those people who supported us this week and gave up their time and money to make the Extreme picnic happen:
-Paul at 4 Thames Street, Ohakune
-Conrad at La Pizzaria, Ohakune
-Martyn Davies, plateau productions
-Oliver Smith, Simple Stix productions
-The Turoa Airbag & its crew
-DJ Option (Austin Hobson), Double Drop Ohakune
Thanks to everyone for staying positive and making the best of a less than ideal situation! Keep shredding.
Words by Briar Peters Photos: Martyn Davies