Last thoughts on exams

21st August 2006, 18.16
Watching ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’

Last day before training and the morning conditions were rubbish, light was terrible and it was snowing heavily. Neil pushed us hard in the powder. But as we sat eating lunch, the clouds parted and out of nowhere the most glorious day emerged. Fed and watered we raced out to the Saddle Basin.

Riding the quad up to impossibly blue skies, we looked up to see the summit slopes, untracked and covered in fresh snow. The temptation was too much and we hiked on up.
We carried on right to the end of the ridgeline and looked out over untouched snow.

Chewy led with a huge drop-off and we were off, racing down, straight into the Powder Bowl Chutes, then hiking up Sundance Ridge before dropping into Hidden Valley (bit sketchy without transceivers). Fresh powder all the way, a few hits and drops – summit to road, dropping nearly 900 metres, fresh all the way – awesome.

It was exactly what we needed today and the moment that stands out in my mind was as we peered over the edge of the summit looking at untracked powder, Neil delivered a rousing speech. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but for a moment, NZSIA, BASI, Stage 1, front knee steering, board performance and all that vanished. Whatever happens over the next week, pass or fail, what matters are moments like that, standing under glorious sunshine with a happy crew and nothing ahead except unblemished snow – that’s why we all do this.

To borrow from Shakespeare (Henry V):

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that rides his board with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That rode with us upon this fine day.