For Winter Mission number three, we stepped the adventure up a notch and embarked on a backcountry day mission out to the highest peak in Australia, Mt. Kosciuszko. Snowboarding down the highest peak in Australia…which happens to be one of the iconic seven summits around the world sitting at 2,228 metres. It’s not like the Everest summit or anything, but it’s a rad tick off the list adventure. Worth it. We paired up Ryan Tiene and Matty J to take it on, both had never done the trip and were keen to give it a crack.
Ryan Tiene…where do we start? One of the most successful snowboarders hailing from the Southern Hemisphere, primarily making a name for himself in the backcountry on DC’s pro team. He’s taken a slight path change the past few years, still snowboarding but now passing his wisdom and skills down to future generations as a snowboard coach. Ryan’s done a solid amount of time in the Aussie backcountry and acquires the knowledge and skills that one can’t just learn…it’s like being a Jedi, shit takes time to master. Ryan however, has never done the mission out to Kozzie in the winter, something he’s always wanted to do but never had the opportunity or the crew keen to do it.
Matty J, similarly to Ryan is a guy who wears a whole lot of hats…and loves snowboarding. Matty was ‘The Bachelor’ back in 2017 but has now fallen into the role as family man, adventurer, TV presenter, radio host and has his own podcast ‘The Babble’. When Matty has any spare time, he seeks out adventures and takes them on.
Matty jumped at the chance to bail the hustle and bustle of Bondi Beach, and make a break for the open road straight to the Snowy Mountains! The weather forecast a few days out looked favourable, so we locked it in, however working in unison with Mother Nature is like scoring un-tracked powder all day in a resort – it very rarely occurs.
Tiene is the guy you want by your side when you’re heading out into the backcountry. Over 20 years experience and has dealt with everything Mother Nature can throw at you – wind, rain, avalanches, too much snow (yes, that’s a thing) and some pretty heavy and critical situations!
The crew headed up to Thredbo Resort early to make sure they had enough time to reach the summit and get back to the resort before lifts shut and the sun disappeared. Pick up was Rydges Horizions in Jindabyne, one of the better spots to rest the head prior to a big day out. On the drive up, the weather was looking promising, blue skies and light winds. However, the drive up is always a bit deceiving, as you near closer to the mountains and further away from Jindabyne, the weather can make a solid change…real quick!
There was a lingering cloud, but it wasn’t set to hit for a while, so the decision was made to go for it, screw the cloud and the wind – that’s mellow. Kozzie was calling and both Ryan and Matty were down to take it on…maybe with a tad bit of hesitation.
To access the backcountry, you need all the right gear. Probe, beacon, shovel, pack and beer. Thanks to the crew at Rhythm for hooking up the gear, definitely make sure to check them out when passing through Cooma. Thredbo Resort offers the best access to reach Mt. Kosciuszko. You ride up to the top of Karels T-Bar and duck out the back of the resort to start the two hour journey to the top of Australia.
“What looked to be a mellow day and a stroll in the mountains really turned on us and we felt the wrath of Mother Nature. It could of been easy to turn around but sometimes the days that don’t turn out the way you expected are the best” – Ryan Tiene
Snow shoes on, snowboard on the back, poles out…it was time to head to the top. That cloud that was once lingering in the distance, was now fast approaching and the wind, getting stronger by the minute. Time to pick up the pace.
About a quarter of the way into the hike, things got pretty gnarly! The wind was howling at around 80km/h and visibility vanishing the higher the crew got. The hike out to Kosciuszko isn’t too bad, relatively flat…until you reach the final two hundred metres – this is where you really feel every step you take plus every beer you’d ever drunk.
After a hard and challenging two hours, the crew made it to the top! The weather had completely set in by now, and after a quick photo moment, it was time to retreat to a little snow barrier some crew had built prior to re-fuel for the ride down.
Snow shoes off, snowboard back on…it was time to make the descent down the face of Australia’s Highest Peak, again not the gnarliest terrain out there, but a challenging and rewarding line nonetheless. Talk about earning your turns! The crew battled full turbo winds, limited visbility and variable snow…whilst riding down Australia’s highest peak! Tiene is a master in these types of conditions and lead the way plus pushed Matty to ride it all the way.
Ripping turns down the face of Australia’s Highest Peak, regardless of the weather is a bucket list item every snowboarder should tick off. Time it on a good weather day, amazing, time it on an average weather day, still amazing.
Retreated, relieved and stoked, the crew after the long ride down took shelter just outside of the resort boundaries and celebrated with a Pirate Life beer to complete the day! Reminiscing on the mission that just went down…weather changing by the minute, winds increasing, storm setting in, challenging…but the crew came out on top. Another successful mission and what a mission it was!
Top of OZ…TICK.
Huge shout-out to our partners for making these winter missions possible! It’s a pretty crazy time right now to be supporting a travel series and it’s rad to see brands we love, support what we love. Thanks to Ford Australia for the wheels, Go Pro for all the cameras, YETI for all the gear, Tourism Australia for the get around knowledge and Pirate Life for the frothies to end the day in style.