South Island Road Trip

This is a little overdue but I put together some footage from a road trip around the South Island from a couple weeks back. More details below...Enjoy.

South Island Road Trip from Tyler Grubb on Vimeo.
-Tyler Grubb

Sea Boulders, Jungle Glaciers & Snowy Peaks, Part II

Ten AM we got woken up and kicked out of our hostel in Arthur’s Pass.  With most of our clothes still dripping from the rain the night before, we figured a quick hike in the rain wouldn’t make them any worse.  An awesome waterfall was raging at the top of a twenty minute trail off the highway.  Back in the car we ventured through the rest of Arthur’s Pass and made it to the west coast.  After a series of one way bridges (some hogged by semis) we hit a gorgeous beach.  Sand flies biting our legs forced a quick getaway. 
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Halfway down the west coast are the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.  They’re situated down valley from Mt. Cook in the middle of a lush jungle and feed a river that flows straight into the Pacific.  Because I blew so much on Bungy Jumping and Skydiving, a $100 guided trip on the ice seemed a bit spendy.  I’m still looking into a return trip con crampons. 
Saying goodbye to Franz Josef, we continued down the coast and made the beautiful drive from Haast to Wanaka.  The mountain town is remarkably similar to Queenstown but without so much tourist action.  High above in the southern alps are Snow Park, Cardrona and Treble Cone skifields.  Local advice said Treble Cone had the best terrain and snow.  The view from the summit is pretty spectacular…
Mt. Cook, Mt. Aspiring and the rest of the Southern Alps spread out across the panorama view.  You can hear helicopters buzzing around as they drop skiers and boarders on distant peaks.  We had pretty decent snow and access to some fun cliffs from the summit and lapped that all day.
I dreamed off taking runs off the backside of the resort like this chute…but without avy gear it was a no go.
A night of partying in a couple clubs capped off the epic weekend.  The next day with tripped it back to Dunedin and returned our beat up rental car.  The South Island really is a beautiful place.
-Tyler Grubb

Sea Boulders, Jungle Glaciers, & Snowy Peaks, Part 1

For those of us on the english unit system: 1300 kilometers = 808 miles
A couple weekends ago Amy, Evan, Kristina and I packed our little Mazda Capella and set off for a long weekend around the south island.  With skis/boards jammed into the boot and a full bag of lollys we hit the road on Wednesday night for Christchurch.  Forty minutes later we made a pit stop at the Moeraki Boulders.  High tide made close inspection a little tricky but we managed to beat the waves to hop on a few.
After the quick scenic stop, we continued on to Christchurch.  We all bunked up in the flats at U of Canterbury for an early departure the next day.  An hour east of Christchurch the mountains jut up out of farmland and there is some epic skiing.  Mt. Olympus is smack dab in the middle of it all so we figured it’d be a necessary stop.  Some sheep being herded up the access road slowed our progress a bit….
The rest of the access road had us all on the edges of our seats with sheer drop offs around every corner.  Even with some icey patches, I managed to Mario Andretti our little Mazda to the top.  See any other non-SUV’s up there?  I didn’t think so.
The Mt. Olympus Skifield has some sweet terrain and routinely hold big mountain comps.  A nutcracker ride (See Awakino) and a short hike gets you up to the luxurious lodge complete with hot tub.  People crowded in for a delicious lunch…
Clouds and wind shut down most of the cool hikes you can go on to hit up some sweet chutes on the mountain.  But we still had a fun day fooling around on some small drops and cornices.  Once we were all exhausted from nutcracker rides we piled back into the car and headed to Arthur’s Pass.  Amy’s attempt at driving in the snow ended with us stuck in the ditch so I hopped back in the driver’s seat and took us all the way to Castle Hill.  Those rocks look familar?  Probably because you remember them from this…
Torrential rain ensued after this photo and we called it a night in Arthur’s Village towards the top of the pass.  See Sea Boulders, Jungle Glaciers & Snowy Peaks, Part II for more on the trip.
-Tyler Grubb

Weekend in Christchurch

Yep, my girlfriend rock climbs in UGG boots.  How sweet is that.  We explored a cool rock/cave down at the beach in Christchurch last weekend that reminded me of the Oregon coast.  It seemed that everyone I knew was in the city this weekend.  We all wanted to catch the All Blacks game on Saturday night against the Australian Wallabys.  I headed up a night early so Megan and I could skydive in Methven Friday.  The rest of the weekend was filled with eating on the beach and Tim Tam Slams.



The All Blacks game was quite the crash-course in rugby but a lot of fun.  All of us international students finally got to witness the Haka before the game.  Quite the way of marking your territory.  After the game, it was off to Boogie Nights to dance the night away on the disco floor.

- Tyler Grubb

Skydiving in the Southern Alps

“Think those peaks get more snow than the ones down south? Those chutes look sweet.”

“Ya, those would be the ones to hit up if you were to heli-ski while you’re down here.”

“Really? Thanks for the tip.”


I needed to talk about something else to hide the fact that my legs were shaking wildly as our plane bobbed and weaved upwards.  All of a sudden the plane dipped and sent all six of the passengers floating a foot above the floor and my stomach into my mouth.  I whipped my head around to check out if we even had a competent pilot…only to discover that he had a parachute over his shoulders too.  That gave me tons of confidence.  Megan was sitting next to me, equally terrified but with a smile on her face.  A kiwi named Brian sat behind me; he helped me scout potential ski lines while hooking up our tandem harness.

Before I knew it, we were tumbling through the sky with the plane growing smaller above us.  Skydiving is a rush.  The adrenaline hits you like a brick in the stomach and you feel the tingle in your fingers and toes immediately.  I’m pretty sure I yelled at the top of my lungs until Brian pulled the chute at 5000’.  After a 35 second freefall, it took us a few minutes to float to the ground.  The southern alps provided a picturesque panorama view for the ride down.  Megan and I saw each other halfway down and could only laugh. 

By far one of the most exciting 20 minutes of my life.  I was starting to regret not getting another guy to video our jump…but the $199 extra could be spent on other adventures.

-Tyler Grubb

Awakino Skifield

MacGyver would be in awe.  I apparently underestimated Kiwi ingenuity because they can build just about whatever you need out of parts from the 60s.  A small band of skiing enthusiasts have constructed their own ski resort out of aluminum sided huts, tractor run rope tows and old generators outside of Kurow, New Zealand.  The nonprofit club skifield of Awakino quietly sits atop of a canyon of sheep and tundra waiting for the rare visitor to discover its hidden terrain.  The Sun Valleys and Aspens are good and all, but I got a chance last weekend to experience a hidden gem of the global skiing community.

Old equipment litters the few acres of hillside at Awakino just waiting for club stalwart Jack Parkes to fix up during his spare time.  In his 70s, Jack looks after the field, bulldozes the access road, and still has time for a couple of ski runs each day.

The main attraction of the field is the homemade rope tow that accesses a wide basin of terrain above the club’s hut.  The tow is run by a tractor.  And when I say tractor, I don’t mean a tractor engine…I mean a tractor.   Riders don’t hold the rope, but instead use a “nutcracker” harness to grasp the rope and pull themselves up the hill.  Its awkward to say the least.

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Above the basin accessible by the tow, we made a quick hike to the summit of the hill for some amazing views and extra turns.


Atop Awakino Skifield from Tyler Grubb on Vimeo.
After a long day on the mountain that seemed like it should have been filmed in black and white, a nice hot shower and dinner was waiting in the Waitaki Club hut.  The view from the hut isn’t too shabby either…

-Tyler Grubb