Home is where the (pow) heart is

 Treble Cone Looking out on lake Wanaka. Photo by Hugo Peckham https://www.facebook.com/hugopeckhamphotography/?fref=ts

Treble Cone Looking out on lake Wanaka. Photo by Hugo Peckham
https://www.facebook.com/hugopeckhamphotography/?fref=ts

New Zealand aye?
I hear that in New Zealand there is no snow on the mountains, and that people ski on sheep.
I hear that in New Zealand the price of a pie at a ski field is more than an arm and a leg, so people just take arms and legs for lunch. 
I hear that in New Zealand, the queue for the lift starts at the bottom of the mountain road, so "You'd better not bloody pass me on the drive up or I'll fight you in the car park" -- Jerry.

 Ice...

Ice...

I love it here, and each season I realise it more. 
After a few years of exploring ski towns in Europe and America I still feel like the Southern Alps are my home.

The season so far has been amazing, and busy as ants!
For me it started with unusually early snow and a pre season 12 hour ski touring adventure up to the top of the St Bathans range with Scott Palmer, a trip we tried last year but couldn't complete due to poor snow conditions. 
Having that under the belt made the next few weeks of rain and melting snow pack bearable.

 In the basin at the foot of the St Bathans range.  Photo: Scott palmer

In the basin at the foot of the St Bathans range. 
Photo: Scott palmer

This year I have been ski instructing 2 days a week at Cardrona as well as coaching High Performace Centre (HPC) freeride kids for the other 3 days a week. It is a great job and something I have been working toward for the last few years. 
It is really cool to be involved in the development of the next group of kiwi freeriders, these kids are rich with talent and their enthusiasm for playing in the mountains is contagious!

In terms of my own personal development regarding teaching I'm back on the Level 3 training buzz, and will sit my exam later in the season. 

 I was studying so hard on the van ride down after work that I fell asleep... 

I was studying so hard on the van ride down after work that I fell asleep... 

Although I have been working more up the mountain with less time for ride breaks, my days off have been super productive on the side of freeride training, even with the slow start to the season, and especially since the snow really started to fall. 

I have been working hard on my backflips whenever I get the chance, and I've been getting way better at throwing them off cliffs, which is all prep for my goal of sneaking one into a competition!
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 My Second time backflipping off the Treble Cone Summit rocks, POV below. Photo : Oscar Mandin

My Second time backflipping off the Treble Cone Summit rocks, POV below.
Photo : Oscar Mandin

Coming up in the next few weeks are the two comps I'll do in NZ, the North Face Frontier FWQ 4* and the Mount Olympus Freeride Open FWQ 2* presented by my outerwear sponsor Marmot. 

I am stoked to head to Olympus to compete again, since the Chill Series disappeared a few years ago I haven't made it up to Canterbury. Competing at the club fields is a key part of NZ Freeride and thanks to Dion Newport and all that have helped him we have an FWQ event there again as well as a New Zealand junior freeride tour. 
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A video posted by Sam Lee (@sam_ibex_lee) on

Powder days at Treble Cone are an amazing thing. Usually it takes about half the day for the Saddle basin to open, and seeing as the saddle is where the magic happens, frothers and powder hounds will line up for at least 30 mins in the hopes of scoring first chair. 

When the rope drops, chaos ensues as the Saddle Opening Chinese Downhill gets under way. Anyone who has been there knows how mad it can be, and I for one love the madness!
This is me scoring 2nd chair on a mad dog pow day mid July.

For those who missed the joke, The intro scene and voice over/song is from a classic American ski movie called Hot Dog. 
It's funny as, and a must see for anyone interested in snow sports,

IMG_1881.JPG
 Scott and I hanging out half way up St Bathans range. 

Scott and I hanging out half way up St Bathans range.