Posts Tagged ‘Australia’


Summer here, but the ski season’s just about to start in the Southern Hemisphere

May 29, 2009

Desperate to go ski-ing? Wondering where to go? Look no further – Cardrona in New Zealand has had its best pre-season snow base levels in over a decade, 120 cm on the upper mountain and 80 cm in the base area.

“We’ve had some pretty extreme weather in May bringing heavy snow falls, the mountain is looking amazing, from top to bottom. It’s been great to get such a solid snow base but I know our operations team is grateful this week has brought some settled weather to continue with pre-season preparations,” said Nadia Ellis, sales and marketing manager.

If these pre-season conditions are anything to go by then winter 2009 is going to be one for the record books. It certainly looks like we’re in for some great skiing and snowboarding from the outset, so long as the cold conditions hold,” said Ellis.

Cardrona is scheduled to open Friday 26 June. For further information, visit the newly relaunched web site at

Cardrona yesterday 26 May. Photo: Tommy Pyatt

This picture was taken 3 days ago, 26th May 2009, by Tommy Pyatt.

Not looking too bad is it?!

Falls Creek, on Mt. McKay, Australia, on the other hand, is making snow in preparation for their opening in one week’s time – the Queen’s Birthday Weekend. Conditions are perfect for snow making with the mercury well below zero and the temperature, taking into account the wind chill component, a cool minus 7.6C.  It has the country’s blackest runs over 450 hectares of snow covered fields.

But it is Mount Buller which has beaten everyone else to the opening day. 248kms north east of Melbourne (about 3 hours), Mt Buller is the most accessible snow resort in Australia and the closest resort to any international airport.

In a special ‘this-weekend-only’ celebration, Mt Buller is throwing open the resort to the public this Saturday and Sunday to share the amazing 35cm of early snow blanketing the resort.

“This is the earliest we’ve opened a lift and ski run in the history of Mt Buller resort. The closest was 45 years ago when we opened on the 16 May in 1964,” said Laurie Blampied General Manager of Buller Ski Lifts.

However, it looks like it’s be New Zealand stealing the show for the moment.

More fresh snow on Queenstown’s premier ski areas of The Remarkables and Coronet Peak on New Zealand’s South Island is delivering spectacular pre-season conditions, comparable with usual conditions in peak season.

Coronet Peak ski area, scheduled to open on Saturday 6 June, has received 50 – 100 cm of snow in the last four days resulting in an 80 cm base at the top of the mountain and a 50 cm base at the bottom.

Across the valley at The Remarkables, the ski area has received 45 cm of fresh snow in the last 48 hours and has received 150 cm over the last two weeks, resulting in a solid 120 cm base across the mountain.

More snow showers are forecast for Queenstown in the coming days…

Soon now, you, too, in the Southern Hemisphere can get up to these tricks (XTremeVideo):


And now for polo on a cycle

May 22, 2009

We trust no one will be upset by cycle polo which from our research would appear to be gathering an increasing number of players, supporters and countries that play the game. Having said that we have not been able to find anything about the 2009 tournaments and so we would be delighted to hear from enthusiasts of the sport of what is happening, when and where, so we can post a blog and keep people informed.

Traditional bicycle polo is played in a rectangular grass field, 150 meters by 100 meters officially, unofficially whatever field is big enough or whatever surface is smooth enough. Moreover, official dimensions can vary between 120 and 150 meters in length on 80 to 100 meters in width.

The game was invented by an Irishman, Richard J. Mecredy, in 1891 and has seen a sharp spike in interest since the turn of this century and new teams are sprouting up across the world.

Today there is organized cycle polo being played in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.

The 1980s saw the rise of two new powers in cycle polo, India and USA. The Cycle Polo Association of India was officially created in 1966 and the Bicycle Polo Association of America was created in 1994.

International cycle polo matches staged a comeback in the 1990s with the first world championship organized in 1996 in the USA. Teams from India, USA and Canada participated with India winning the title.

Today the game has become more urban and is played on tennis courts and the like where a hard surface presents a fast and exciting game.

See the video below from cleancut62 of some action from a recent game which demonstrates there is more than just a little skill in riding a bike required – the crashes are pretty hard but it looks a lot of fun.

The final installment of this trilogy will be about Segway polo….stay tuned!


World Cup downhill – DH – racing – 2009 is off and away

April 21, 2009

In the video below from nick6kcin the versatility of the bicycle is superbly demonstrated and shows how the sport of mountain biking has evolved over the years. From use as a ‘push bike’ where we probably all started to downhill mountain biking, xc and four cross, the bike has come a long way. The 2009 season kicked off with the recent announcement that two of the best in the world of downhill racing, Sam Hill and Brendan Fairclough had found a new sponsor.

But first a little background reading to bring those who are new to the sport up to speed.

Downhill mountain-bike racing began in a low-key fashion back in the 1970s, and in recent years has grown rapidly in popularity. The Union Cycliste Internationale recognised it as a sport in 1990, when it sanctioned the world championships. It has yet to be made an Olympic discipline.

Downhill races are held on steep descents, usually narrow, tree-lined and rock-strewn, in the world’s most rugged and mountainous regions. Riders hurtle downhill at speeds that often exceed 40mph, frequently leaping several feet into the air off jumps and other obstacles along the route.

The competitor who completes the course in the fastest time is the winner, and each race typically lasts about five minutes. Think of rally driving crossed with downhill skiing — though without the roll cages or the snow.

This year’s World Cup events kicked off in South Africa last weekend, and the British leg will take place in Fort William, Scotland, on June 6-7.

The world championship which this year takes place in Canberra, Australia at Mt. Stromlo. The Championships will be staged from September 1 to 6, 2009 and are expected to attract more than 30,000 visitors from up to 40 countries. The event will involve more than 750 of the world’s top riders who will compete in the four mountain bike disciplines of Cross Country, Downhill, Four Cross and Observed Trials for the honour of being crowned World Champion.

Specialized announced in November 2998 a much anticipated decision to sponsor Team Monster Energy in 2009—home to two of the most notorious faces in downhill racing, 2X World DH Champion Sam Hill and 2006 Junior World Cup DH Champion Brendan Fairclough.

Next season, the two-man team will ride the Specialized Demo 8—the same race rig trusted by Decline Team America—known for its generous travel, patented FSR suspension, durable chassis and killer good looks. In the pre-season, Sam and Brendan will also train on the Stumpjumper FSR, Specialized’s premier XC Trail bike, along with the 4X-winning SX and P3.

Known as downhill’s man to beat, Australian Sam Hill is a 2X World DH Champion, the 2007 World Cup DH Series winner and a World Cup podium veteran, not to mention the Australian MTB Cyclist of the Year, 2004-2007. Sam has been an unforgiving competitor since he started collecting wins internationally in the U19 category, gaining more notoriety every year for being both hellishly fast and methodical about his strategy on the race course.

In the video below from viiselminha we see why Sam is one of the best in the world 

Australian down hill extremist - Sam Hill

Australian down hill extremist - Sam HillAt just 20 years old, teammate Brendan Fairclough is also no stranger to DH racing. As a former Junior World Cup DH Champion and 5X British National Champion, Brendan continues to move up the ranks at the World Cups, posing a threat to some of the sport’s most experienced athletes.Briton Brendan Fairclough

There has already been one world cup qualifying event which was held at Pietermaritburg in South Africa. Hill finished in 4th place being beaten by Greg Minaar, Mick Hannah and Steve Peat.
The ladies race was won by Tracy Moseley with Emmeline Ragot coming in second and Sabrina Jonnier third.
But it is the British siblings who they all have to beat – the 2008 World Championship was won by Gee Atherton and Rachel Atherton – it is going to be an exciting year to see whether anyone can knock the Athertons from their lofty perch.

High diving world record

March 5, 2009

Diving as we know it is a popular and fun thing to do – one of the first things we learn having grasped the basics of swimming, and in some cases young lads and lasses will learn to dive before they know how to swim. For most of us that is about where we stop but there are those who continue to practice the art, for that is what it has become, and inevitably there are those of us who take their art to the extreme and hence we have a high diving world record.

Let us first give you the basics of competitive diving before we move onto the extreme diving that we know will interest you guys. Big shout of thanks goes out to our friends at Wikipedia – a great source of reference.

Diving competitions consist of three disciplines: 1m and 3m springboards, and the platform. Competitive athletes are divided by gender, and often by age groups as well. In platform events, competitors are allowed to perform their dives on either the five, seven and a half or ten meter towers. In major diving meets, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships, platform diving is from the 10 meter height.

Divers have to perform a set number of dives according to various established requirements, including somersaults and twists in various directions and from different starting positions. Divers are judged on whether and how well they completed all aspects of the dive, the confirmation of their body to the requirements of the nominated dive, and the amount of splash created by their entry to the water. Theoretically, a score out of ten is supposed to be broken down into three points for the takeoff, three for the flight, and three for the entry, with one more available to give the judges flexibility.

There are six “groups” into which dives are classified: Forward, Back, Inward, Reverse, Twist, and Armstand. The latter applies only to Platform competitions, whereas the other five apply to both Springboard and Platform.

  • In the Forward Group (Group 1), the diver takes off facing forward and rotates forward
  • In the Back Group (2), the diver takes off with their back to the water and rotates backward
  • In the Reverse Group (3), the diver takes off facing forward and rotates backward
  • In the Inward Group (4), the diver takes off with their back to the water and rotates forward
  • Any dive incorporating an axial twisting movement is in the Twist group (5).
  • Any dive commencing from a handstand is in the Armstand group (6).(only on platform)

During the flight of the dive, one of the four positions may be specified:

  • Straight – with no bend at the knees or hips
  • Pike – with knees straight but a tight bend at the hips
  • Tuck – body folded up in a tight ball, hands holding the shins and toes pointed.
  • Free – Some sequence of the above positions.

These positions are referred to by the letters A, B,C and D respectively.

In the video below from rosebowlaquaticsorg there is a great compilation of dives performed by the US Olympic dive team shortly before they headed off to Bejing for the 2008 games. This less than 100% serious demonstration was held at the Rose Bowl Centre in Pasadena, California and it is great to see the team relaxing and having some fun as well as executing their dives with precision and accuracy.

So now you know what competitive diving is all about it is time to check out the extreme element. Enter one Dana Kunze who currently holds the world record, in fact has more records in the diving world than any other practioner of high diving. His 172 feet reverse tripple somersault put him back on top of world – awesome and frightening – respect to Dana Kunze. korismith’s video shows the dive.

Both Germany and Sweden have a long history of diving but it was the United States who dominated the sport for most of  the twentieth century. Now we see the Chinese dragon has raised its head and sweeps all before it – in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics China won 7 of the 8 gold medals on offer (Australia winning the other), and they won 11 of a total of 24 medals on offer. And the United States did not win one medal at the diving meet in Beijing.

Just to cheer you up we have found our friends at redbull are into sponsorship of extreme diving and have posted this video – come on you American divers – where are you hiding? 


Professional Bull Riders – so, so extreme

February 16, 2009

A new one for us but surely Professional Bull Riding (PBR) has to be considered one of the most extreme of all sports – if not the most extreme it must come close to being the toughest of extreme sports; injuries are frequent and sometimes fatal.

We thought a brief explanation of what goes on would be useful and we are grateful to the likes of the PBR and Wikipedia for what we we have gleaned.

The organization began in 1992 through the efforts of 20 professional bull riders, since when the organization has grown to include four tours which collectively stage over 100 events a year. Prize money has exploded from $250,000 in 1994 to over $10 million in 2006;  crowds and TV viewer numbers have likewise taken off – you can understand why – the action is non stop.

Pyrotechnics, pulsating music and special effects open each event, and each features the top 45 riders in the world at the time. Riders attempt to stay on a bucking bull for eight seconds, and rides are judged based on both the rider’s and the bull’s performance. At the end of each event, the top 15 riders compete in the short round, or “short go”; the rider with the highest point total from the entire event becomes the winner.

There are now more than 800 cowboys from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Australia, and Mexico who hold PBR memberships and if you look at the list of PBR World Champions since 1994 it is predominated by Americans and Brazilians – not forgetting one Aussie!

Below you can view a video from PBRNow which has been put together by the organisation’s president Ty Murray, in which he explains for the benefit of mere simpletons like ourselves some of the jargon and what goes on.

Amongst other things we learn about:

  • the bull rope
  • being being bucked off
  • about disqualification
  • an 8 second ride
  • the flank strap
  • a foul
  • a re ride
  • judging

The next major event is the Anaheim Invitational to be held at the Honda Centre in Anaheim, California  on February 20th and 21st and if you want further information and/or tickets we suggest you hit the link following and get your boney butts down there for what is an exhilerating and extreme event.


US women on top of the world

February 10, 2009

The US women won first second and third podium finishes at the FIS World Cup halfpipe snowboarding competition held in Italy over the weekend. Thanks to for bringing us this story.

The women of U.S. Snowboarding swept the podium of a World Cup halfpipe contest in Italy on Saturday with Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT) in first, Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT) in second and Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) in third.

“For me personally it’s a good feeling to win where I was defeated three years ago,” Clark said. “Hannah was riding very strong but I just did my run as I wanted it. I’m glad that I won this great event and that the U.S. took one, two and three.”

Clark last competed in Bardonecchia when she placed fourth trying to defend her Olympic gold medal during the 2006 Games in Torino. Now, while it’s not the Olympics, Clark feels redemption.

“When we talked to her after the podium she said, ‘I got my rebate from Bardonecchia,’ because in 2006 she wanted more than anything to be standing on top of that podium,” U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski said. “While it’s not an Olympic medal, it’s a hard-fought win for Kelly.”

Clark put together a frontside air, backside 5, frontside 7, cab 7 and frontside 5 for the win at the former Olympic venue, which had challenging conditions due to record snowfall.

“Bardonecchia has the most snow they’ve had in about 50 years and we got here and the pipe was challenging. We had just come from some great competitions and we showed up to a smaller pipe and challenging conditions,” Jankowski said. “We knew there was only one way to go and that was up. So, we said every day it’s going to get better. We pushed our way through semi finals and got our way through to finals.”

In all, Jankowski was very pleased with how the women swept the podium.

The ladies had an absolutely stellar day. I think, obviously, things really went our way,” Jankowski said. “The pipe was in great shape today. I think there were some memories from 2006 going through some of the ladies’ heads and they were able to dig deep, be themselves and they were able to come out on top.”

In the men’s field, it was France’s Mathieu Crepel who earned the best score with 47.0 points, winning today’s World Cup ahead of second ranked Nathan Johnstone (43.5) from Australia and Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov (42.8).

Crepel missed the 2006 Olympic finals by placing 17th, although “this dates way back. But I have learned what I had to learn from this. Today, it was a new contest.”

The 24-year old impressed in the second run of the finals with a brilliant finish. Crepel started with a Frontside 1080 into a Cab 1080, followed by a Frontside Air as well as a Backside 540, just to finish his run with a Frontside 1260 as smooth as his other tricks.

“After the other riders had attacked in run two I had to step it up, too. And I did it. I’m super stoked. I wanted to give my best, especially as all the fans had cheered so much.”

Steve Fisher (Breckenridge, CO), who was first in qualifications Friday, finished seventh for the best result from the U.S. men.

According to Jankowski, getting in some competition time against an international field can only benefit the men.

“The international field is super strong right now and it’s good for us to get out there and ride against those best riders in the world,” Jankowski said.

Now, the riders move to Cypress Mountain just outside of Vancouver where they will compete in a World Cup at the 2010 Olympic venue. But, the fact that a year from now they will be competing on the world’s stage at Cypress doesn’t phase the athletes.

“We just take it one pipe at a time and we’re definitely not getting ahead of ourselves,” Jankowski said. “As long as the pipe is in good shape, whether it’s a Revolution Tour, a Grand Prix or the Olympics, we go there to win and I expect our athletes to push hard for the win.”

Bardonecchia, Italy – Feb. 7, 2009

1. Mathieu Crepel, France, 47.0
2. Nathan Johnstone, Austria, 43.5
3. Iouri Podladtchikov, Switzerland, 42.8
4. Christian Haller, Switzerland, 42.5
5. Rolf Feldmann, Switzerland, 40.6

1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 45.1
2. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 43.2
3. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 39.4
4. Holly Crawford, Australia, 36.3
5. Kjersti Buaas, Norway, 34.9

The action below comes from GerryPallor at the US halfpipe 2007 Burton snowboarding championships which shows Shaun White winning the competition and he explains how he attracted the nickname ‘animal’ , and it also shows the winner of the women’s event – none other than the gorgeous Kelly Clark who won again and also the equally lovely Gretchen Bleiler in very close attendance.


Hang Gliding championship fest down under

December 17, 2008

The annual hang gliding fest at  the Forbes Flatlands aerodrome (NSW, Australia) kicks off on January 3rd 2009 – there are four separate classes and should you require further information may we suggest you click on the following link to reach their website

In 2009 there will be four levels of competion to help cater for all levels of pilots and fun.

1.  Open Class Category (aimed at pilots who are looking to get on their national teams, or close to it. The top twenty on any national ladder.)

2.  A Class Category � For pilots that have never been in the top 100 WPRS (CIVL world ranking system). Same tasks at the Open Class. Scored together with the Open class, but singled out for recognition

3.  Sport Class � Shortened Task – GPS required – Open to kingpost gliders (For less competition experienced pilots who want to learn more and stretch themselves with less than herculean tasks. Launching a bit later than Open and A Classes to get the better part of the day for the shorter task.)

4.  Club Class – Duration and spot landing � Open to all gliders (For pilots who want to learn to aerotow, would like some extra attention and help, want to practice their thermaling and landing skills and hang with the big dogs. Launching after Sport Class. Must land before sunset.)

An aerotow endorsement course or aerotow training will also be available every morning starting at 9am.

EVENT ORGANISER: Sydney Hang Gliding Club


WHEN: 3rd-11th January 2009

WHERE: Forbes Airport, Forbes NSW Australia (5kms from town)




Entry fees are AU$200 and the aerotow fee, for unlimited tows including the practice day, is AU$350. Its going to be a cracking event and with  reliable weather you are sure to find some great thermals – don’t miss out on all the fun.

Thanks to jacarandafilms for this video from the 2007 event