Billabong Storms NZ: Kurt Wastell Interview + Photos

Tell me about a memorable moment from the NZ trip.

The most memorable part of the NZ trip for me was when we all went up in the heli for the first time and we decided to take a hot lap while the heli was heading to pick us up. It was just ridiculous powder and steeps for like ten solid minutes.

Was the riding in New Zealand what you were expecting?

The New Zealand riding for the most part was typical … heaps of powda, mate. But actually it was also core shot mania—although the bad coverage at the resorts was soon masked by the heli missions. I’ve had some insane days in New Zealand over the years, but honestly that heli day we had was all-time.

Sum up the heli-boarding day—the guide, the snow, the rock garden, et cetera.

The first heli day was unreal, but not until we actually got under way. I was pretty much a complete skeptic with the guides. They are typically pretty mellow as far as what you can and can’t do if you initiate an avalanche pit right out of the heli. Once we saw the pit du,g it seemed good to go, and our first run turned out to be pretty amazing. We came across this huge rock garden on the second run that was seriously ridiculous. There must have been 200 different-sized rocks spread out across this massive run, and I don’t even think we tapped a quarter of it. The heli is well worth the money and journey—insane scenery and a billion sheep to chase.

Tell me about the food on the trip.

The food was pretty good as long as we stuck to the Indian spots—busy, but well worth the wait when you’re super hungry. One thing I can’t back is the hollandaise sauce. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwh!

Tell me about the views—especially Treble Cone.

As far as New Zealand views go, it’s pretty much the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in my life. It’s so crazy being on the top of the mountain on the snow and not too far below you it’s dry and there’s usually a huge lake below that stays in view as you’re descending. It really feels like the top of the world.

When did you most feel like you were Frodo chasing a ring over there?

I think I felt like Frodo every time I was driving up or down from the ski resorts on the sketchiest roads ever.

Best quote from the trip?

Best quote is from Hamilton himself saying, “How does it look out there, mate? You want to go golf instead? Either that or EC waking me up around 2:00 a.m. saying, “Yo man, I’m so bummed right now. I got in a fight with a bouncer and have to go to court tomorrow.

Tell me a bit about riding at Snowpark.

Riding Snowpark is pretty amazing due to the fact that all there is to ride is park, park, and more park. It’s a well-manicured playground that looks like every perfect park picture you have ever seen … oh and Frank Wells runs the damn place, which is a huge bonus due to all his tranny skills.

Tell me something about trailers in New Zealand.

Trailers, trailers … oh, got it! Make sure you close them before you take off on the wrong side of the road when leaving the airport.

Tell me a little something about kia birds.

Everyone must know about the famous kia birds and their endless antics of revenge on rubber of any type—maybe even sheeps’ backs, as well. Every visit I’ve ever had to New Zealand has ended up with a kia story—that’s how crazy they are. I remember being watched like a kia hawk in the resort parking lot, dropping a glove without knowing it and bam, the kia had already punctured two huge holes right through the center. I was pretty shocked this year when one had an actual skate shoe and was so watchful of the other birds so it wouldn’t have to fight back for it … I think you could have major speech potential with the kias.

Tell me a little about Kale pissing in random places.

The pissing incident that stands out the most occurred right near the resort information map at the top of TC and required him to kneel down and nestle into the snow bank as people are checking the map and riding by. Amazing!

What about flying into Queenstown?

The flight into Queenstown requires more lef-t and right-hand bank turns than any other flight you’ll ever go on in your life, but the scenery also makes it one of the most memorable.