Manual Magazine

Oh, Ohau!

Posted by manualmagazine on Friday August 25 2017

The Mackenzie country has been copping the brunt of the storms this winter, leaving us in Queenstown with half of Australia totally freezing butt on icy Coronet Peak. I was more than keen to break the bubble and get the hell out of Dodge.

Social media was tempting me with slow-mo pow slashes. I was sitting on a cold site toilet hoping the boss wouldn’t bust me while I double tapped away. I was keen to make those turns for myself. Fate would have it that my good buddy Rhys Boberg was in town on a snowboard trip with his family. Knowing that Rhys would have been riding bugger all, I proposed that he left his three kids with his wife Katie and come shred Ohau with me for the day. He jumped at it. | Josh Clark

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Cruising up the access road as sun broke on the horizon… we were fizzing with anticipation of what the day may bring.

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In bounds riding at Ohau can be all time when it’s on, and whoever named this run ‘Sun Run’ was a smart bastard that loved to state the obvious. With the aim of gaining altitude early on in the day we spotted this munted chainsaw looking ridge feature high above the base building and carpark. After a few ‘shaka brahs’ we headed around the corner for some fresh uncut blower pow pow.

I proposed that he left his three kids with his wife Katie and come shred Ohau with me for the day. He jumped at it.

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The old sticker wall. Showcasing all the past legends who have shared this unique, and totally Kiwi, experience.

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An imperative part of this trip was to knock off a chute I have been eyeing up for a few seasons. Being able to see this line from the road on the drive up has made it all the more enticing – taunting me like a carrot to a donkey. With perfect conditions and fresh snow, today was going to be the day. But to get there we had to bust our butts hiking. We set off with a little sun-baked snow. As time passed and as we travelled further up into the depths of the couloir the snow softened. The crux of the chute was a narrow bottleneck with towering cliff walls on either side.

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I guess the protocol to naming a line or chute is to be the first person down it, then claim the shit out of it later that night in the bar. But in this case “Ros’zo Couloir “ gets its name from a fallen comrade. We can’t claim Ros’zo was the first person down it but we do know he ripped! RIP homie.

Mother nature had spoilt us with 40cm of fresh snow.

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Mother nature had spoilt us with 40cm of fresh snow. Hunting out the mushroom pillow poppers, with fading light, I resorted to the only trick I know: METHOD!

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Compulsory ‘Sir Ed’ pose on a ridgeline.

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Rhys has some solid history in New Zealand snowboarding. Having been around the block a few times he knows how to spot a banger from a mile away. His cat like balance and sharp wit got him through the deep stuff for this amazing postcard backside slash to straight line.

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Sometimes not spotting the obvious can easily be done. It’s similar to having a rather large zit on your nose, but not finding it until later, when you get home and look in the mirror. Second time around Captain Rhys Boberg points out this diving board cliff. Nosebone, stomped.

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The beauty of hiking in the backcountry is that you’re often met with an epic view. Here the mighty cloud piercer Mt Cook stares down the valley at us. I believe a game of rugby was played on the summit once.

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The Ohau lodge is a true classic, well worth the coffee stop on the way up and the beer stop on the way back down!

If you have the opportunity—even if you can’t ditch the wife and kids—dial in the coordinates of Lake Ohau. Whether it’s with friends or family it’s an adventure that’s hard to compare with. Check out Lake Ohau Lodge and Snow Field at ohau.co.nz


Text by Josh Clark, photography by Ross Mackay

Image Gallery (13 Photos)