Founded in 1983, Sessions is a leading snowboard and action sports company that designs, merchandises, sources, and distributes high performance snowboard apparel, accessories and apparel for the core, youth-driven sports segment. Sessions was the first snowboarding company to incorporate Gore-Tex fabrics and Recco avalanche reflectors into their products. Today, Sessions has placed itself at the cutting edge of the music, snowboard and skateboard culture. Sessions is one of the last remaining independently owned brands.
The Sessions Team Is - Tim Humphreys, Tara Dakides, Andreas Gidlund, E-Man Anderson, Antti "NAKU" Piirainen, Ian Thorley, Taylor Carlton, Kyle Miller, Nial Romenak, Peter Benchetler and Brett Butcher
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Sean Busby Travels, Part 2
New Zealand......Oh, I felt right back at home and happy when we touched down in Auckland—especially given the unfortunate circumstances of our visit to the Cook Islands. For those that haven't been to New Zealand yet, I must mention that the north island is almost a completely different country then the south island when you compare the scenery. On the north, you have many volcanoes and tropical-like plants while on the south you have the "Southern Alps," glaciers, and fjordlands. The greatest feeling about touching back down in New Zealand was knowing that I no longer needed to fear the food that I ate or the water that I drank. That's a good fear not to have... I was glad that the food poisoning nightmare from the Cook Islands was in the past.
The plan for the week was to stay around Auckland with day trips up north to various beaches and nature preserves in order to shoot some photos and to give a slideshow presentation in Auckland before heading south towards Rotorua. Rotorua would then become our base camp for daily activities such as soaking in the hot springs, shredding some volcanoes, meeting up with some friends, and speaking to another group of local kids and teens about expedition snowboarding. New Zealand, is one of only a few countries that also has an indoor ski resort with real snow (not dryslope). On a rainy Tuesday, Mollie and I exchanged all of our Cook Island beach attire for our brightly colored snow gear. We quickly re-organized all of our equipment in our closet sized hostel room (every movement of our ski/boards resulted in knocking off one lampshade after another). We then proceeded to our circus style vehicle as we were questioned about our days' journey by other hotel-stayers. After a few minutes of gaper chaos, we were finally on our way to florescent lighting and 365 days of machine-made powder snow in a giant refrigerator.
Snowplanet was for the adventure, certainly not for the incredible shredding. I wasn't sure about the experience aside from the fact it would be different from your average day snowboarding in the backcountry. Whether that is exploring unknown mountain ranges, crazy wildlife, or jibbing turkey feeders at the local turkey farms, I am seeking my artistic abilities in the name of shred. Surely, this opportunity would somehow fit into the mix. Snowplanet needed to be explored. In under 10 minutes, I had ridden every feature and "run" in the giant snow dome. From what I could tell from the layout of the...uh, "mountain," there are basically two runs split in half by a beginners area at the bottom. In the 3-4 hours spent there, I do admit that we had a lot of fun. After I found myself bored, I went in search of infamous death cookies created by the snowblowers and side hips for more indoor jibbing pleasure. All in all, Mollie and I exchanged some high fives and continued our adventure later that day further north to shoot some photos.
The following night, I gave a slideshow presentation in Auckland about my camps and expeditions. I really enjoy these moments when I get to meet others who seek adventure or advice in managing a chronic disease. Antarctica is still one of my favorite expeditions to share. I can't describe the wilderness and how off the wall that place actually is. Crazy mountains, unreal wildlife, seracs, icefalls, crevasses - man oh man that place is awesome. Everything is all new frontier down there with lifetimes worth of exploring and first ascents and descents. Not to mention, telling how I manage a chronic disease in such a remote environment to ad to the mix.
The next day, we headed south towards Rotorua for more adventure. We spent the next couple days exploring that region with two objectives in mind. One was to backcountry ride Mt. Ruapehu's volcanic crater and the second was to spend a day "Zorbing" with local kids and teens from the nearby diabetes foundation. With rainy conditions and high snow levels that were at the summit of Ruapehu, we stayed in local Rotorua with fingers crossed for a clearing. A day or two later we had the green light and took the long drive to the volcano. Upon arrival, my stomach sunk, it looked like late May in the Wasatch range—not ideal. It turned out that the snow level went well above the summit of the volcano and cleansed the mountain of most of its soft snow for an icy attire. I swore I could see my reflection while driving closer. With my crampons and ice axe ready to go, I made a few steps and even some turns before making the decision to call it and drive back to Rotorua. The consequences were to severe and though that meant 6 hours of driving time for just 30 minutes of being on snow - it was worth it to call it quits. I value my life to much and I know I will have many more opportunities for backcountry summits in that region. The following day, a skier with the same ambition slipped and fell to his death on the same climb. I had made the right call.
Thankfully, to lighten things up, we had Zorbing on our agenda next. What is Zorbing? Well its a mix of being placed in a giant sized hamster ball, filling it with some water, and then being pushed down a steep hill. We have all seen those hamster balls that hamsters run around in, now just picture yourself in one of those and being able to bounce all over the place without being hurt. That is Zorbing. The best part is the end. When it is time to get out of the inflatable ball you must unseal the small entry door. As you do this, the water rushes out from inside the ball and you literally squeeze out of the entry and plop out onto the ground. Its like being able to experience being born again, but as an adult. Zorbing was a lot of fun. We would fill up a Zorb ball with 2-3 kids from the local diabetes foundation and off they'd go, sliding down the hill. Being larger then these kids, I did my best not to crush them as we were tossed down the hill. The Zorb day was made complete with me sharing my diagnosis story and a mini slideshow of snowboarding in Patagonia.
The next few days we explored local museums of the region and soaked endlessly in hot pools. Not to mention took part with the locals in supporting the All Blacks (NZ Rugby Team) as they played the Wallabies (Australia Rugby Team). A fantastic rivalry. After a few days of down time we packed up and headed north again to catch our flight to the south island to begin guiding.
Part three - New Zealand South Island will follow next