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Atomic Skis took a select few of us team riders down under to NZ so we could shoot for the newest catalog. The crew was big enough, and diverse enough, that most of us had never had the chance to ski or even hang out together prior to the trip. Not only was being on skis in August something worth writing home about, but the adventure and unknown of traveling with new people was an amazing way to experience new terrain and culture. We got ourselves into some epic little exploratory missions.

Here are a couple of my favorite stories:
Sage, if you’ve never met him, has a very easy going laid back personality, but get him on a pair of skis or behind the driver seat of a rental car, and he’ll rally harder than most. The trip involved a lot of driving, however, one of my favorites was after our day of heli skiing. We were a good hour from any town, on dirt roads, and in the middle of wide spread farm land. Every time we’d cross water, Sage would opt out of the well-built bridges and take the more adventurous route. On our first pass (yes, there were two) of a solid 1.5 / 2 foot deep river, the car bogged heavily and nearly died. It literally sounded as if the engine was drowning. But, the peanut gallery in the back, aka Pondella, yelled “do it again!” So without hesitation, aside from a quick “I think it’s starting to take a toll on the car” from Dana, Sage busted a U’ee and floored it back through with the logic that hydroplaning was the way to go. Turns out that’s false. The car barely rolled out the other side, and died the minute we touched dry land. After 30 minutes of airing out the engine and planning our overnight stay, a nice woman pulled up with her 8 year old sun. Without any chance for us to explain, she recited our exact scenario. “So… what you’ve done is decided to take the river, and your intake is flooded, correct?” Yes mam. “Lucky for you guys, you have a different intake system then the last tourists who blew their engine two weeks ago, so you should be alright. Just let it dry out, and if it starts don’t let off the gas.” “and oh ya, I see you’re all out of Stella, so if you are stuck, I’m only 5K down the road and we have another flat you can buy. We’ll get you sorted out…” With that in mind, after another 20 minutes of watching the sunset, sitting, laughing, and reminiscing on what just happened, we gave it another try. On about the 4th attempt the car turned over and started spitting out deathly white smoke along with water pouring from the exhaust. Fortunately, Sage listened well, pinned it, and the car lived to drive another day.

Second adventure:
Castle Hill, which was where Lord Of The Rings filmed for 6 months, was another adventure worth sharing. It’s basically a ton of slick limestone with channels, gully’s, and gaps for miles. So, with our skier mentality, we decided to play a game that only allowed you to touch rock. This exploring went on for 3 days… Every down day we had, we would rally straight to Castle Hill and run around for hours. We were always trying to find sick bouldering, new transfers and channels, and just kept exploring the vast mountain side. Our last day we came across the best mission of them all. We found a small hole amongst two huge rocks, popped down and disappeared into Alice in Wonderland. It was epic. Level after level we climbed down rocks and ledges until we found ourselves at a big river. We then managed to do some traverses and scaling alongside the river for a mile or two until we came across the entrance to an epic cave. The cave itself is a tourist attraction, but our route leading up to it was definitely unchartered territory, and well worth the trip. I’ve attached a bunch of pics on the link below.

All in all everything about the trip was insanely fun. The skiing was awesome. We had a fairly big wind event upon our arrival so conditions were variable, which in return made it excellent for testing the new products. In terms of the skis, I couldn’t be happier with how the latest models came out. All the new skis, boots, and bindings performed excellent. I was able to test my latest model, the new tracker touring binding, as well as the Burner boot, and all I can say is I’m a big fan!

Thanks for the good times Atomic and crew. Can’t wait for the season to get rolling… Cheers!

For a full photo gallery, go here: New Zealand – Atomic Skis – 2011

View from up top of Mt. Olympus.

Traffic jam.

Methven Heli.

Drying out the rental.

High ball.. Wishin I had on some Evolv climbing shoes.

 

Chapter 1. Down The Rabbit Hole

Log slide to side cling.

Found the cave…

Full gallery, go here: New Zealand – Atomic Skis – 2011

Photography by: Chris Benchetler

Atomic Skis took a select few of us team riders down under to NZ so we could shoot for the newest catalog. The crew was big enough, and diverse enough, that most of us had never had the chance to ski or even hang out together prior to the trip. Not only was being on skis in August something worth writing home about, but the adventure and unknown of traveling with new people was an amazing way to experience new terrain and culture. We got ourselves into some epic little exploratory missions.

Here are a couple of my favorite stories:
Sage, if you’ve never met him, has a very easy going laid back personality, but get him on a pair of skis or behind the driver seat of a rental car, and he’ll rally harder than most. The trip involved a lot of driving, however, one of my favorites was after our day of heli skiing. We were a good hour from any town, on dirt roads, and in the middle of wide spread farm land. Every time we’d cross water, Sage would opt out of the well-built bridges and take the more adventurous route. On our first pass (yes, there were two) of a solid 1.5 / 2 foot deep river, the car bogged heavily and nearly died. It literally sounded as if the engine was drowning. But, the peanut gallery in the back, aka Pondella, yelled “do it again!” So without hesitation, aside from a quick “I think it’s starting to take a toll on the car” from Dana, Sage busted a U’ee and floored it back through with the logic that hydroplaning was the way to go. Turns out that’s false. The car barely rolled out the other side, and died the minute we touched dry land. After 30 minutes of airing out the engine and planning our overnight stay, a nice woman pulled up with her 8 year old sun. Without any chance for us to explain, she recited our exact scenario. “So… what you’ve done is decided to take the river, and your intake is flooded, correct?” Yes mam. “Lucky for you guys, you have a different intake system then the last tourists who blew their engine two weeks ago, so you should be alright. Just let it dry out, and if it starts don’t let off the gas.” “and oh ya, I see you’re all out of Stella, so if you are stuck, I’m only 5K down the road and we have another flat you can buy. We’ll get you sorted out…” With that in mind, after another 20 minutes of watching the sunset, sitting, laughing, and reminiscing on what just happened, we gave it another try. On about the 4th attempt the car turned over and started spitting out deathly white smoke along with water pouring from the exhaust. Fortunately, Sage listened well, pinned it, and the car lived to drive another day.

Second adventure:
Castle Hill, which was where Lord Of The Rings filmed for 6 months, was another adventure worth sharing. It’s basically a ton of slick limestone with channels, gully’s, and gaps for miles. So, with our skier mentality, we decided to play a game that only allowed you to touch rock. This exploring went on for 3 days… Every down day we had, we would rally straight to Castle Hill and run around for hours. We were always trying to find sick bouldering, new transfers and channels, and just kept exploring the vast mountain side. Our last day we came across the best mission of them all. We found a small hole amongst two huge rocks, popped down and disappeared into Alice in Wonderland. It was epic. Level after level we climbed down rocks and ledges until we found ourselves at a big river. We then managed to do some traverses and scaling alongside the river for a mile or two until we came across the entrance to an epic cave. The cave itself is a tourist attraction, but our route leading up to it was definitely unchartered territory, and well worth the trip. I’ve attached a bunch of pics on the link below.

All in all everything about the trip was insanely fun. The skiing was awesome. We had a fairly big wind event upon our arrival so conditions were variable, which in return made it excellent for testing the new products. In terms of the skis, I couldn’t be happier with how the latest models came out. All the new skis, boots, and bindings performed excellent. I was able to test my latest model, the new tracker touring binding, as well as the Burner boot, and all I can say is I’m a big fan!

Thanks for the good times Atomic and crew. Can’t wait for the season to get rolling… Cheers!

For a full photo gallery, go here: New Zealand – Atomic Skis – 2011

View from up top of Mt. Olympus.

Traffic jam.

Methven Heli.

Drying out the rental.

High ball.. Wishin I had on some Evolv climbing shoes.

 

Chapter 1. Down The Rabbit Hole

Log slide to side cling.

Found the cave…

Full gallery, go here: New Zealand – Atomic Skis – 2011

Photography by: Chris Benchetler