A Coin Toss Lands a Winning Day, and Broken River's RiderX Brings Competition
By Ollie Hunt
On Saturday August 18th we didn’t have the option of heading to Temple Basin for the weekend, due to a shindig on the Saturday night. My brother Jeremy, Michael Stevens, and I were tossing up between the backside of the Craigieburn Range at Mt Olympus or the front side at Broken River.
This literally meant Jeremy tossing up a dollar as we neared the Old West Coast road turnoff on the way west. Heads was called and on heads the coin landed, her majesty was sending us to Broken River (fortuitously).
We learnt of this good fortune that night, at the aforementioned shindig; many of our friends had chosen Mt Olympus, but unfortunately were confined to the bottom of the field by a broken main tow midway through the day.
While hiking was the order of the day at Mt O, we scored a carpark a decent distance up the hill at BR and set about tow accessed hunting freshies.
With the ridge tow going from the start of the day, we spared no time to catch our breath and went straight up, finding Luke Jackson jumping off everything he could find in Allan’s basin and Margot’s Gulch.
Jeremy and I elected to hit The Flutes, the often overlooked sunny side of Nervous Knob. On the Third or Fourth lap through I managed to snap a photo of Jeremy airing one of the more unique cliffs in the Canterbury fields - the top left strip photo. We spent the entire day finding untracked lines amongst the rocks, leaving us somewhat exhausted for the evening.
Following an enjoyable shindig on Saturday night I was rudely awakened on Sunday at 7 am, by my own alarm. I had discussed the potential of skiing Mt Olympus on the Sunday with Jordan Kelly (the rationale being plenty freshies on the back of a broken tow) and apparently committed myself to it too.
It was well worth it, once the initial cobwebs had blown out, we hiked and skied Little Alaska and the snow was generally in great condition. A great effort by the team at Olympus, sorting the tow out for night skiing the night before, had meant less of the field was untouched than we had hoped.
The first Saturday of spring was the annual Broken River RiderX. This event has been happening for about 6 years, and never fails to disappoint. This year was no exception.
With tough course demanding control and commitment, the racing was epic, both for competitors and spectators alike. As with every year, there was a large jump over the ‘water tank’ followed by a pond skim past the lodge - this year these two features were extremely close together.
As the photos in the below will attest to, the pond skim presented challenges to some competitors, again making for great spectator sport, especially for those patrons positioned next to the Broken River Lager tap.
With controversy in the quarterfinals, relating to the absence of a gate in the quarterfinal between myself, my friend Mitch, and another competitor, the eventual (re-run) outcome set the scene for a showdown after the racing had finished… Between Mitch and I.
The below photos are of this race, which was neck and neck the whole way. My legs are still paying for it as I write this, on Tuesday.
Thank you to Richie Goldsbury for contributing the photos of the RiderX action.
Ollie Hunt is a regular contributor to Chill and explores the mountains with a Chill Season Pass
The Chill Pass
Chill Passes allow you to ski at up to 11 ski areas across the South Island. The flexibility to ski in the Waitaki, Mackenzie, Canterbury, Kaikoura and Nelson Lakes Districts is what makes the Chill Pass truly New Zealand's ultimate multi-mountain ski and snowboard pass. There are two types of passes, the Season Pass with unlimited access during the season, and the Travel Pass with a set number of clips for skiing and non-ski day options.