WINTER MISSIONS Ep. 7 | Jarryd Hughes & Ben Tudhope

Ripping the resort on a classic pow day with 2 Aussie Olympians. Try keep up...

YES! Conditions finally lined up. Sunshine, blue skies, fresh snow and not one, but two Olympic snowboarders to track out the mountain for first lifts…perfect. These are the days you go for it – early start, good crew (who can keep up), first lifts and non-stop laps. Rest is for the wicked.

Who better to join for the perfect day up the mountain than Silver Boardercross Olympic Medalist, Jarryd Hughes and current World Paralympic Boardercross Champion, Ben Tudhope. These two guys are both athletes- train hard, ride hard and play hard. It’s very rare to intercept an athlete from their daily training routine, but when it’s conditions like this…their arms are easily twisted.

Jarryd Hughes, is at the top of the boardercross game at the moment. He’s won gold at X-Games…making him the first Aussie to ever win gold at the prestigious event, Silver at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and a bunch of other podiums along the way. Currently residing in Sydney, Jarryd is focused just as hard towards off-snow training as he is with on-snow. When he caught wind of the conditions, we got him out of the gym and on the board for some all-time boarding.

Ben Tudhope, is also a champion. Currently the World Champion in Paralympic Boardercross. He’s the youngest ever Winter Paralympic athlete, competing in the 2014 Sochi Games at the young age of 14 plus was also the flag bearer for Australia. Badass. Now, at 20 years old he’s ripping harder than ever, currently living in Jindabyne and training for the upcoming competitive tour in the Northern Hemisphere.

Both of them are making the most of COVID and enjoying the more relaxed pace of life this winter. Less travel, less comps, less pressure. This day was all about that – leaving the race board at home and going for an all out freeride shred across the entire mountain. We were in search of white waves, rocks, drops, berms and dodging the gum trees.

On the drive up, both Ben and Jarryd made for some great chats. Both of them are Aussie success stories in the snowboard scene, and it was amazing to hear about the boardercross talent in Australia and how they’re currently dominating the global comp tour. Both Jarryd and Ben have their eyes on the gold medal for the next Olympic Games. Watch out.

When days like this deliver, you need to be up at the crack of dawn to get it. We set the alarm for 6:00am to start prepping the day. Wax the board, fuel up on food, pack everything you need and then double check. There’s nothing worse than leaving an item of gear like a snowboard boot back in town, it’s a nightmare no one should have to deal with…Ben narrowly dodged this scenario (Jarryd hid his boot in the back of the car).

Picked up the crew from Jindabyne. Boards packed…and boots! We headed up to Thredbo Resort to make sure we nailed first lifts. On arrival, there were some keen crew before us…so we were maybe like fourth lift. Good enough. We knew exactly where we were heading. Straight to the iconic spot, Waimea. It’s a catchment of good snow and good times.

We raced to the top of Waimea, first ones there and our mouths started to water. Fresh lines…everywhere. It was time to rip in and clock some serious turns and face shots. Game on. Ben and Jarryd led the way…It was next level trying to keep up with those two.

We smashed the entire resort, top to bottom and side to side, there wasn’t any run, rock or bank we didn’t get stuck into. Amazing morning with two strong snowboarders leading the charge.

We’d wrapped up by lunch time and we couldn’t feel our legs – no rest breaks, four hours of non-stop laps. With the day being so good, we decided to hit one more run…Dead Horse Gap. Dead Horse is an iconic run located just outside of the Thredbo resort boundaries. You need to drop a car out there, in order to get back to the resort safely. We dropped the Winter Missions Ford Ranger out there, put some lunch and beers in the YETI cooler – for what would be a rad end of the day session.

We made our way to the highest lifted point in Thredbo, so we could start the traverse towards Dead Horse. Once we arrived at the top of the run, it became clear that it was going to be one hell of a ride down. We were one of the only crews to pop out of the resort and check the snow…light, dry and no tracks. No time to wait…It was straight to the car. Pow turns aplenty.

Taking it all in…A beautiful sight!

We weaved in and out of the trees, throwing up turns of smoke once clear areas presented themselves. There’s something so special about riding in the gum trees on a powder day. We all kept in a group by following the overly loud yelps from Ben and Jarryd each time they planted another pow turn. At a point, the end of the run and the car appeared into sight – we rode it straight there for lunch and Pirate Life beers that were waiting for us…all chilled. Yes. Perfect. Why can’t everyday be like this?

The scenic walk back to the car…

Lunch in the back of the tray, made for the perfect end to the day. We reminisced on all the monumental turns, making sure we all got our ‘claims’ in. The sun had us feeling pretty beat and stoked. We finished up lunch and headed back to Jindabyne for a well earned ‘siesta’. A pastime any first-lift dedicated snowboarder is familiar with.

Doing lunch, in style.

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.



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