The Best Start to the Season on Record

Musings from the first days of the season.

Words: Xander

What a start!

Australia had its best opening weekend in decades, with almost a meter and a half falling in a few days, loading up our ranges and allowing our resorts to open early or on time. Some say it’s the best start in 20 years, some say 54 years, some best ever – who cares, stats aside, there’s a bunch of snow, and after couple of challenging years, it’s just what we needed.

In New Zealand, a record storm smashed the South Island, with snow all the way down to Wanaka Main Street – transforming those often depressing looking green-brown pre-season hills into a mid-winter paradise. That famous Instagram engagement spot at Mt Roy turned into a backcountry zone, the park crew at a few resorts were left digging out features, and some of those once-a-season spots in downtown Wanaka showed their face.

Without sounding too cliché, watching the way the Australian and New Zealand snowboarding community capitalised on this early snow in a multitude of ways is a sign of just how cool this culture really is. Whether it was touring in the backcountry, riding Charles’ world-class parks or taking your grom for their first turns on snow – this collective love we have for standing sideways in countries as ‘far away’ as ours is a testament to how strong snowboarding really is down here.

Whether you’re into GORE-TEX and own a chalet, a front valley punter, a family of 15 sharing a rental board, seaso, jib kid, flow kid, kid kid, boardercross rider, instructor or influencer* – everyone on the hill has their own unique (and often entertaining) relationship with snowboarding which is what makes this culture so fun to be a part of.  

Here’s to the best opening weekend in 20, 54, however many years, and to season 2022.

*all witnessed on opening weekend.

1.Mitchy Davern downtown Wanaka

2.Much better than a ‘she said yes’ photo – Jay Smith at Mt Roy, Photo: Chris Dunn

3.Ex backside rodeo aficionado Andy Lloyd took his daughter Amalie for her first turns

4. Josh Vagne back on home turf

5. Jye Kearney on his favourite left hander

6. Georgia Austin fresh off her part in QUICK DRAW and back in non pandemic affected Perisher

7. Kate Donald escaping crowds

9. Valentino Guseli is back in town after his incredible performance at the Olympics

10. Victoria turning it ON!


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