Chikenmeat New Zealand

Spencer Schubert

Spencer Schubert. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan

Max Warbington

Max Warbington. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan

words: Blake Paul

Through the plane window I can see bounces of light reflecting off Lake Wakatipu and the build-ings of Queenstown, New Zealand. I can see The Ramarkables Ski Area, the winding road to Cardrona, the dirt-covered hills that are now SnowPark, and the area that High Cascade NZ has set up headquarters. I can see grass-covered fields filled with sheep, small neighborhoods, roll-ing knolls, rocky peaks, and endless snowcapped mountains.

I’ve always felt grounding feelings of reflection and gratitude while on an airplane flying back home. Flashes of the past trip’s moments played back through my head. There are plenty of things that happened on this trip that I cannot translate into words on a computer screen. Someone said at dinner once, “The further the adventure, the better the friendship.” Our group of seven friends headed down to New Zealand with not much of a plan besides renting a van, documenting some snowboarding, and having a fun experience along the way. With that, I bring you the tale of Lords of the Chiken 8.

Blake Paul

Mike Ravelson

Spenny. p: Colton Morgan

We arrived in Queenstown on a beautiful sunny spring day. The first order of business was to pick up our rental van. Our twelve-seat chariot would soon propel us through the pavement and dirt labyrinth of roads that scatter the South Island. After a session at the skatepark, we located our humble abode for the first half of the trip. Sharon White from HCSC NZ offered us a room in her compound just out of town. For several nights we slept in our bunks, sharing our highs and lows at the each day end. We also filled the room with wet snowboard gear and empty beer bot-tles.

Blake Paul

Blake Paul. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan


Scott Stevens

Colton Morgan

Max Warbington


Chikenmeat

Cole Navin. Cardona. p: Colton Mogran


Blake Paul

Blake Paul. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan

Spencer Schubert

Spencer Schubert. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan


Max Warbington

Max Warbington. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan

Blake Paul

Blake Paul and Jon Stark. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan

Cole Navin, Dillon Ojo

Cole Navin and Dillon Ojo. p: Colton Morgan

Cole Navin

Cole Navin. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan


Cole Navin

Cole Navin. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan


Dillon Ojo

Dillon Ojo. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan

Blake Paul

Blake Paul. Cardrona. p: Colton Morgan

The first few days we spent lurking around Cardrona Ski Resort. It seems to be the headquar-ters for freestyle terrain in NZ. We managed to snowboard on everything, from the top to bottom terrain park, some side hits, dirt gaps, junk yards, rocks, shipping containers, a shovel scoop, a cat track gap, bamboo poles, wooden fences, and a hockey goal thing. We also ate, “second breakfast” every morning in the lodge and bonded with the ski patrol. The ski patrollers were very lenient toward us, letting us snowboarding on whatever we wanted and even told us, ‘Our boss is seventy-years-old--he loves this shit.’ One of them jumped his snowmobile in celebration after Cole rode away from the death defying rainbow feature.

Cole Navin

Cole Navin. p: Colton Morgan

Chikenmeat

Chikenmeat

My first impression of the mountains in New Zealand was that they were breathtaking. My se-cond thought was, ‘Where is all the snow?’ Winters on the South Island can be sporadic; resorts don't tend to get the several-hundred inch average snowfall that we are used to in the Northern Hemisphere. Some resorts, during low snowfall years, have reported around only twenty inches of natural snowfall. Because of the fickle weather, snowmaking is a major key in keeping winter ski tourism up, and if you're looking for powder I think your best option is going to be striking the right storm or getting into a helicopter. Nonetheless, there is plenty of snow-covered terrain and it is extremely fun to ride your snowboard there. Plus, the views are insane.

Max Warbington

Max Warbington. Snowpark. p: Colton Morgan


Dillon Ojo

Dillon Ojo. Snowpark. p: Colton Morgan


Dillon Ojo

The crew at Snowpark. p: Colton Morgan

Chikenmeat


Dillon Ojo, Cole Navin

Dillon Ojo and Cole Navin. p: Colton Morgan

Spencer Schubert

Cole Navin. Snowpark. p: Colton Morgan


Blake Paul

Blake Paul. Snowpark. p: Colton Morgan


Dillon Ojo

Dillon Ojo p: Colton Morgan

Dillon Ojo

Dillon Ojo. The Remarkables. p: Colton Morgan


The later part of our trip was spent at The Ramarkables Ski Resort, up another winding road about twenty-eight kilometers to the east of Queenstown. The Ramarkables is laid out with three separate chairlifts each heading to their own zone on the mountain. Setting the mountain apart from just a resort with an epic park and consistent natural terrain is the fact that there is an en-tire run dedicated to a Stash Park. Concrete, wooden, and snowsculpted features were littered all over the run; it was one of the funnest and most creative set ups I’ve ever seen. Day one, a severe hailstorm rolled though. Once it let off, we were gifted with sunshine the rest of the week. Max and Cole continued to perform with their feet unstrapped while Spencer and Ojo took to the rest of the gaps, wallrides, and concrete rails. The Remarks kept us busy for the last few days of the trip, but before we could leave there was still one thing left to accomplish. On the way up to the resort there was a prominent couloir you could spot from the road: a thin line of snow that wiggled through a bunch of cliffs, then straightened out and dead ended into some steep, grassy hills. It was something that we had starred at every day and over the course of our stay, turned into sort of a trophy line.


Cole Navin

Cole Navin. The Remarkables. p: Colton Morgan

Blake Paul, Cole Navin

Blake and Cole. The Remarkables. p: Colton Morgan

Dillon Ojo

Spencer Schubert. p: Colton Morgan

Scott Stevens

Dillon and Cole. Apres. p: Colton Morgan


Dillon Ojo

Spencer Schubert. p: Colton Morgan

Chikenmeat

Lord of the Chiken 8. p: Colton Morgan

Mike Ravelson

Max Warbington


Blake Paul

Blake Paul. p: Max Warbington


Blake Paul

Blake Paul. p: Max Warbington

It was the last day on hill for the trip, the vibes were right, and it was time to commit to riding the line of all lines. Blake and I began the trek to the top. After only forty-five minutes or so we made it to the drop in zone and were posted up, eating delicious chicken and brie sandwiches from our perfect breakfast spot. The view from up there was simply incredible; it felt as if we could see the whole south island of New Zealand. We watched the boys ride back to the van, load up, and drive down to the zone from which they would be filming us. We started gearing up and got really excited; this line had been staring at us all trip and now we were about to ride it with perfect snow and a deep glow of golden light.


A call came through on the walkie-talkie. In a classic scratchy radio voice, we could hear Jon telling us that he was ready for us to drop. We rode it in two sections: a big open face at the top, then we cut over across some sketchy rocks and into the main chute. Blake was first to drop the top section. As he ripped the perfect corn snow, I stood there in awe while simultaneously filming on my phone and taking pictures with my camera. Then I packed up, strapped in, and got a taste of some sweet creamy turns down to where the real line started.


One more radio check to make sure Jon knew we were dropping together and we were off! The line was longer and steeper then we had anticipated, but it was also way better snow then we had even hoped for. I followed Blake as he high-speed snaked back and forth down the cliff-lined strip of orange-shaded snow. I have to say it was one of, if not the coolest sights I have seen while strapped into my board. I don't think I will ever forget our run down that beautiful Kiwi chute; ripping down that thing was like nothing I have done before and it would be very hard to replicate.


Max Warbington, Jon Stark

Stark and the crew. p: Max Warbington


The three-hour hike/climb/fall/scramble from the bottom of the line back to the van is a story for another time. Just let me say that without the adrenaline from a run like the one we just did to keeping us going, the crazy hike back would have been damn near impossible. Despite the savagely slippery bushes, a river crossing and the fact that it was dark, we eventually made it back to a happy van full of the homies who all were glad to see that we weren't lost somewhere in the hills. Looking back on the experience, this run was just a very special way to cap off a very special trip.

Cole Navin

Cole Navin. The Remarkables. p: Colton Morgan

chikenmeat

NZ sunset. p: Colton Morgan

Chikenmeat

p: Colton Morgan

Every snowboard adventure has its own vibe, its own goals, characters, and experiences along the way. Jon Stark’s brainchild, Chikenmeat seems to embody the most unique, enjoyable, and hilarious atmosphere possible. Jon’s sporadic energy and low-key hustle has created the per-fect no pressure vibe to document snowboarding. We get to run the show and we make all the decisions. After filming a video part for most of the season or working on a bigger project, its nice to step back and just enjoy a trip for what its worth. We put 1,100 kilometers on our van and ten days on our snowboards. We crossed sky diving off our bucket lists and most importantly, explored somewhere none of us had been to before. Plus, we had a damn good time doing it. On the last night, Jon awarded Ojo with the Chikenmeat MVP trophy that he bought from a gift shop earlier in the trip. Jon stated, “Ojo embodied the true soul of Chikenmeat by doing nothing but everything, at the same time.”

Special thanks to The North Face as well as Vans, Dragon, High Cascade Snowboard Camp, Airblaster, Cardona Alpine Resort and The Remarkables for making our trip a possibility.