Terje, Jamie, and Bjorn … a photo essay.
Photographyby Chris Owen, Introduction by Billy Anderson
What would you do if you won the lottery? I always dreamed of riding endless powder runs with my best friends and snowboarding heroes.
Last summer I did win the lottery. I didn’t really win the “Lotto,” but I had the opportunity to put together the trip of a lifetime. Once Volcom committed to making a snowboard film for the 2004/2005 season, I wanted to get it started on the right foot. So what do you do? Grab a legend or two and head south for the summer to New Zealand. I invited Terje Haakonsen, Jamie Lynn, and Bjorn Leines. The next ten days were filled with endless powder runs, helicopters, chocolate cake, and many memories.
-Billy Anderson New Zealand Club Fields
By Ste’en Webster
Club Fields, as they’re referred to, are the perfect way to get a unique experience in New Zealand. They’re anything but commercial and corporate-they bring your mountain experience back to the pure basics: snow, food, and bed. Some of New Zealand’s sickest terrain can be found in the various Canterbury Club Fields just a few hours’ drive from the international airport in Christchurch.
The origin of “Clubbies” comes from a time when ski fields were first developed in New Zealand, which started as early as the mid 1900s. Back then, it took the concentrated efforts of a group, or club, to develop a chosen area for skiing. It took five years alone to build an access road and another five before a donated tractor engine could be installed to run a modest rope tow. Huts were run communally by members with worker bees or donations. Guests were always welcome but were encouraged to become members and pitch in their fair share.These days, surprisingly little has changed at the Club Fields in New Zealand, except that they’re open to all comers, with standardized rates that usually include food, accommodations, and lift fees. Facilities have improved, but only on par with Club finances-which means surface tows are still the norm. No club can really afford a chair, and once it can, the status seems to elevate to something other than a club field. Chairlifts are the domain of corporate cash-nutcrackers are the only way to go!
They seem to serve a dual purpose: not only do they efficiently give you vertical elevation (if you survive the ride), but they are an excellent means of crowd control. Once you make it to the top, you’ll be amazed at the available terrain-most or all of it ungroomed. And then you’ll start to notice even sicker lines within easy hiking distance.
One way or another, the club fields are guaranteed to stoke. Don’t visit New Zealand without checking them out!
A giant steep basin of cliffs, chutes, and backcountry lines-it can take weeks to track out the place.
Lifts: 4 rope tows
Lodging: Top Hut, $50 with meals. Bottom Hut, a more rugged self-catered option, $20
Web site: mtolympus.co.nz
Rolling steep pistes surrounded by a solid ridgeline with accessible backcountry hiking for the gnar.
Lifts: 2 T-bar, 1 grip-tow
Lodging: Snowline Lodge with meals and lift tickets: $124, or the Forest Lodge
Backpackers six kilometers down the access road, $22
Web site: mtcheeseman.com
A load of epic “inbound backcountry” terrain spread out over four basins. The high-Alpine environment is a giant natural terrain park with awesome variety-dream snowboard terrain.
Lifts: 3 rope tows, 1 fixed grip
Tickets: $38 (including night skiing)
Lodging: $48 with breakfast ($35 without)Web site: templebasin.co.nz
Craigieburn The terrain is steep and deep and almost entirely advanced. It’s uncrowded, with good access to plenty of backcountry riding-as if the inbounds wasn’t enough …
Lifts: 3 rope tows
Lodging: Koroheke Lodge $65, and Matuhi Lodge $80, including dinner and breakfast
Web Sitee: Craigieburn.co.nz
*All prices in New Zealand dollars for club field adult non-members. Reserve all lodging ahead of time!