Lachlan Mason – NZ Junior NationalsComments
Hi all this is my second blog for Mainpeak; those of you who have read my blog before would know that I am an aspiring competitive snowboarder from WA. In my last blog I talked about training in WA where there is no snow. That blog was some time ago because I fractured my wrist which saw me miss the Australian snow season. My wrist injury was significant and I had to have a bone graft to fix it. I needed a lot of rehab work before getting back out there. The first chance I have had to get on the snow has been recently when I went to New Zealand to compete in the NZ Junior Nationals. This blog is going to be about the resort at Cardrona and the competition.
Nowadays snow resorts are becoming more and more advanced in attracting new customers but if there is only one mountain that I find is perfect for my riding it would have to be Cardrona on the South Island of New Zealand about 1 ½ hrs drive from Queenstown. It has and amazing Park set up, starting off with some 2ft kickers down for the little kids down to the big air 90ft jumps right next to an Olympic size 22ft pipe. As well as the big air they have two more sets of jumps and an astonishing rail line. The first sets of jumps are ranging from 25-40ft and then the second smaller set has 10-15ft jumps. The park crew always seem to have something new in the rail line every couple of days which makes the park more interesting. In the winter season there is a lot of snow and I mean a lot and the mountain has a wide boundary so there is heaps to explore and on top of all this the queue’s for the lifts are only minimal which makes it a perfect resort for a wide range of people.
The NZ Junior Nationals has been the highlight of my snowboarding career to date; I got my first podiums since commencing in competitive snowboarding. With only one week of practice under my belt I had hoped for a top ten finish at best especially as the New Zealand kids are ultracompetitive. However I blew even my own expectations away placing third overall and receiving silver in the Giant Slalom, bronze in the boarder-x and bronze in the half pipe. It was such an amazing experience to compete against New Zealand’s top teens and come away with such great results. The event I enjoyed the most was the was probably the halfpipe as it was the first time were I properly went big and I sent it a good 6-8ft out of Cadrona’s 22ft pipe.
My coaches Oscar Alston and Mike Williams from Transition Snowboarding Camps (TSC) are a constant source of support and development in my boarding. They help the athletes achieve their goals and I would not have done as well as I did if I had not had their guidance and training the week leading up to the competition.
Before heading to NZ I got a new board for park which made a world of difference, finding a board that’s suits your style of riding is very crucial especially in a competition. I have two boards both Lib-Tech, one is a brand new Lib-Tech Skate Banana Narrow 2017 which I use for comps and park. My other board is a Lib-Tech T-ripper a stiffer board than the skate banana and is generally good for all mountain riding and the halfpipe. My skate banana gave me a great advantage as it gave me quite a bit more pop on the jumps and flexibility for the rails as well as flight in the half pipe. My bindings are Nitro Teams which I particularly like on my soft board as you can get full control with the very stiff binding. This control allows me to hold edges for longer and transfer between edges instantly a very important part in the halfpipe and just in general freeriding.