Getting ‘steezy’ up Cardrona


It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday up Cardrona and everyone is here.

And I mean everyone. It’s the final day of the Winter Games and the freeski slopestyle finals are in full, er, throw-down mode.

It includes international top dogs like Australian Russ Henshaw – who would come third – eventual winner Nick Goepper of the United States and runner-up Brit James Wood.

There’s cool dudes emulating their dress-sense if not ability, wearing pants so baggy the crotch hangs somewhere around the ankles. And it seems on-mountain hoodies aren’t cool unless they’re so big they stop somewhere just below the knee. 

At the top of the slopestyle course the music is pumping and Henshaw rips down through the features spinning and flying and going upside down like some sort of crazy Jack-in-the-box and yo-yo combination toy.

I wouldn’t have a clue about the tricks he does but it looks impressive. And judging by the whoops from some of those watching – and one fan’s comment that “all of that was sooo sick” – it obviously was.

I even find myself thinking ‘this is so steezy watching these cats throw down some switch lipsides and frontsides with a few double cork 1260 tails and mutes off the kicker line. Big props to them’. 

Actually, I’m not thinking this because I don’t know what any of that means, but it’s pretty cool all the same. 

Then at the other end of the spectrum, but having just as much fun, are the complete novices, like the two snowboarding Kiwi girls and their more accomplished male friend beside me on the chairlift.

Ominously, one of the girls queries as we get near the top: “So what’s the best way to dismount at the top?” 

“Not the way you did it last time,” the guy replies, looking at me and adding: “You might want to push off straight away and peel right.” 

As it happens, we all get away cleanly though the two novice girls are stuck together, half hugging each other, half hanging on for dear life and giggling while the dismount happens – and somehow doing it without stacking it.

And that was quite impressive too.