A landmark event happens this Sunday. As Tim Ceci once said, it is a case of “back to the future” for bikers in Queenstown, as the Skyline gondola opens its doors and bubble lifts to paying punters for the first time since… 1996 I believe?
Nathan Greenwood and his crew of trail builders have been working very hard over the last few months to ensure that everything is in order for the grand opening. Trails have been buffed and new lines put in, and there’s definitely a little buzz in the air ahead of this weekend. The main fruit of their labour consists of a brand new perimeter trail which follows, on average, an 8 degree angle from the top of the Skyline gondola back down to the base building. The trail has been a huge success already with locals who have ventured up to have a peep only to find themselves racking out run after run of chain gangs, whooping, hollering and switching up lines all the way down.
It would appear that riding ability is no major issue when it comes to who can enjoy this trail. There’s been a complete mix of folk up there having a blast, from families and beginners right the way through to the likes of world cup racer Justin Leov. The trail winds its way through a mixture of non-native fir and very-much-native Beech, with plenty of bus stops, hip lines and log rides to keep things varied and exciting. We’ve been a little bit partial to it as well since it was opened a few weeks ago, so rather than blab on about it, we went up and filmed a basic little chain gang vid for your viewing pleasure. Hucklady Casey, Huckman Pang, Jt, Mike Aubrey and myself all feature.
Also this week sees the next League of Gentlemen event with the R+R Really Railing Rally Race combined with another popular event, Pin it to Swim it. The R.R.R.R.R.R consists of a various timed stages down different trails within seven mile, with the fastest accumulative time taking the honours. P.I.T.S.I is a similar event, except riders are only allowed to stop their clocks once in the lake at Wilson Bay. The weather has been a bit iffy of late, but hopefully it’ll sort itself out for tomorrow. That lake is mighty refreshing once you’ve worked up a sweat. Although JT is just excited for the mass male bathing. Look out for him swimming around underwater with goggles on and a waterproof camera… As always keep your eyes peeled on the LoG Facebook page for times and meeting points.
In other happenings Sally “The Legs” Trussler and Toby “Steely Resolve” Pantling invited me along on another multi day hike, this time around the Dart and Rees valleys just north of Glenorchy at the head of Lake Wakatipu. I won’t bore you with philosophies or rambling thoughts this time. Instead, here are just a few pictures of the outrageous beauty that lies in the environs of Queenstown. Whilst I appreciate the majority of the Dirt audience don’t care for hiking, if you do find yourself headed in this direction, you’d be wise to check out some of the terrain that is only accessible by foot. It’s a staggering nature. (For the record, Toby is the hardest bastard I know. We hiked for 11 hours the 1st day, 13 hours the 2nd day and 8 hours on the 3rd day to the end of the track. Toby had blisters the size of small chicken fillets on his heels from day one, and not once did the bugger whinge. Good on ya mate!)
Nice and brief this week. I’m off out for a ride.