Cardrona, on New Zealand’s South Island and an hour’s drive from Queenstown, has one of the very few halfpipe’s open at this time of year… and the world’s best snowboarders and skiers are taking advantage of it as they train in the lead up to Vancouver 2010.
It has had the most epic season with record amounts of snow, record number of visitors and Olympic Medalist Shaun White (USA) making history in the pipe and establishng its position as one of the top favourite resorts for winter extreme sports.
Cardrona was coming to the end of its season when they were approached by national teams from all over the world looking for a training facility during October. They were happy to oblige and retained the services of John Melville, Cardrona’s Parks & Pipes manager. The pipe camp began on the 5th October and will continue through to the 24th October.
Shaun White (USA) flew back to New Zealand specifically for the first week of the private Pre-Olympic Pipe Camp and was grateful for the training opportunity. “I had a great time, it’s awesome to be able to rely on a mountain to have great terrain during the summer time when there’s no snow in the U.S,” he said.
The Japanese national team is bringing in a 900kg inflatable stunt bag this week (the Bag Jump) and with the support of the park crew will build this into the snow to practice double cork and spin combinations that are the emerging standard in competitions.
Although there is still 135cm on the upper slopes and 65cm on the lower ones, this resort is now officially closed for the season.
Enjoy this video (caryv1) from the 5 Star Burton New Zealand Open at Cardrona Alpine Resort, New Zealand in August 2009… the video ends with some bold and adventurous spirits pushing the boundaries of what one can do with a snowboard…