Extreme skier clips in


A superstar of big mountain skiing will speak in the resort tonight.

Chris Davenport has won the world extreme skiing championships twice, has skied the Lhotse Face of Mt Everest and is the first person to ski all 54 of Colorado’s 4270-metre peaks in less than a year.

The 45-year-old from Aspen has written two books about his exploits, appeared in more than 20 skiing films and regularly embarks on skiing adventures around the world.

He tells Mountain Scene it’s his first trip to New Zealand for 15 years, but he used to come often, competing in freeskiing events in the Southern Lakes region.

As well as winning the NZ Heli Challenge near Wanaka in 1996, he has skied on Aoraki Mt Cook for a Warren Miller film and explored the back bowls of Canterbury club skifields like Craigieburn.

“It was before I was married and it was a young, more wild time and I remember having just so much fun down here.

“It became a big part of my early career and early success.”

He will talk about his life in the mountains at a NZ Mountain Film Festival event tonight at the Queenstown Memorial Centre.

He says festival director Mark Sedon invited him down after the pair met in Antarctica last year while guiding skiing groups.

He hopes to inspire the audience to challenge themselves and set ambitious goals in their lives.

“I really hope people come away and think ‘that’s cool - what am I going to do this year?’

“I’ve done so much around the world skiing and mountaineering, and people will ask me ‘what else is there to do?’

“But it’s not a list that gets smaller - you don’t check things off. You add to the list, so by the time you die it’s so long because you’ve been to so many places.”

Tonight’s event starts at 7.30pm and includes the screening of several of the festival’s best films, including grand prize winner Locked In - First Descent of the Beriman Gorge.

Lake Hawea-based mountaineer Lydia Bradey - the first woman to climb Mt Everest without oxygen – will give a talk at the same venue on Saturday night.