A measly four to five hours from when VNTRbirds fell asleep, they were woken up by multiple alarms. First Oliver’s, then Jaime’s and lastly Kelley’s, yet all snooze buttons were used. The morning wasn’t looking so glorious to the trio. There was no surprise view and they were very reluctant on leaving the warmth of their beds. Before anyone even made a move it was decided that TUB &O would be spending one more night in the YHA Hostel. The very thought of packing up all of their bags, gear and food at 7am and stuffing it all in the car was enough to make everyone groan.

After the birdies were finally dressed, gathered their snowboard gear, brushed their teeth, stretched their wings and packed their lunch, the trio set out for the car. In Queenstown there are only a few places with 24 hour parking, and even fewer that’s free and naturally, it’s a million miles away, all up hill. Though the chilly morning trek woke everyone up and TUB started to get excited about riding another new mountain; Snowpark NZ!


Oliver wanted to keep the car for the day, so he taxied Kelley and Jaime up and then let the birds fly free. Having to go around the pass for the 2nd day in a row was a bit frustrating, especially since TUB already was an hour late from what they planned, but the scenery never let them down. Cruising by Cardrona’s access road, TUB &O almost missed Snowpark/Snowfarm’s which is just across the street! Turning into it, there is a big Snowpark NZ sign that is covered in stickers of different snowboard companies. This sight was welcoming to the girls and they were ready to charge. But first, they had to survive the steep and windy mountain road. Almost identical to Treble Cone’s, Oliver zig-zagged up and around and over until the car park came into view.


This is where the birds flew out of the car, grabbed their gear and backpacks and marched up to the slopes. Snowpark is tiny! Standing at the bottom, if you look up you can see the entire ski field. From left to right there’s small rails and jumps, the super pipe, HUGE rails and jumps, the boarder cross course and then the fun and never disappointing boxes and rail farm. The girls looked at each other after scoping out the entire face of the mountain, grinned from ear to ear and then jogged into the little shack of a lodge to buy their day passes. $62 later, the girls chatted with the ticket girls, they were allowed to stash their bags behind the counter since SP doesn’t have lockers and they were off.

Snowpark NZ only has one chair lift that is right in the center of the ski field. A four seater and the lines were never too busy. Riding up right next to the big park, the girls could see that the Free Ski Open was going on. With all the professional skiers from around the snow globe, the birds got to watch some epic tricks go down each time they rode the lift up. These guys were hucking super hard off the 60+ foot jumps and spinning with elegance. No one could take their eyes off of it.


The girls hopped off the lift and went to the right, the box and rail farm looked in prime condition, and with this blue bird day the snow birds couldn’t wait to ride. For most of the morning VNTRbirds had the park to themselves. Few people were out and they were loving it. Calling tricks and following each other in, playing innocent games of S.N.O.W. and trying to learn new things TUB was raging the slopes.


Soon more and more people were joining in on the park. Though, there were very few kiwis, and the girls found themselves in a sea of really great riders from Norway, Japan, Finland and of course, America (mostly Canadian). Everyone was real friendly that fit with the atmosphere of the resort. It’s wrong to call Snowpark NZ a resort, it’s a community. The same kids ride there loyally, and the park changes to their progression. This is a place that Jaime and Kelley could live forever; in a loving snowboard community.

The only time the girls took a break that day was for lunch. Quick PB&Js and then a kiwi fruit or two and it was back on the slopes. When the day was coming to a close, the girls were seriously thinking about buying a night pass and staying. Though, they thought rationally, saw the park was rutted out and decided that they were just going to have to return the next day.

Since Oliver was running a little late to come and pick TUB up, they decided to go and hitch a ride down to the main road. Before they even stopped walking to stick out their thumbs, a car stopped, loaded up their equipment and they were on their way down. TUB introduced themselves to their kind chauffer who happened to be from Tahoe, California. Chatting up Dick the entire ride down, they realized that they used to compete in the same organization back in the states and all were at specific snowboard nationals during the same years. With minds blown, the girls said goodbye to Dick, wished him luck on learning his backside 180s and jumped into the Nissan that was conveniently already there and waiting.

Taking the pass back into Qtown was great and quick. Being welcomed back into the YHA, everyone showered, threw on sweats and walked down the street for another Fergburger! Mmmmm no one was regretting the $11 burger after the first bite. The whole night was very mellow with small chit chat, reminiscing and an episode or two of Freaks and Geeks on Jaime’s computer. Overall: AWESOME!

The next day the girls were well rested. Waking up at 6:45am they dressed, gathered their gear and packed up all of their bags. Marching up to get the car, the trio packed it up tight, double and triple checked the room and handed in their keys. Oliver hung out in Qtown for the day, hiking up a trail and enjoying a scenic gondola ride down, but for TUB, it was a journey back to Snowpark NZ.

It was another blue bird day and everything about that morning made it seem like VNTRbirds were rulers of the world. Now knowing the drill, having a car and seeing how the community works, the girls left their packs in the car and just brought up their lunches. After stashing the bag under a bench knowing they didn’t have to worry about it being messed with, they bought their passes and headed to the lift. At the top once again the girls went right. CHANGE! The park crew was busy during the night because there were a couple of new and newly designed features right in the beginning. Messing about on the fun boxes the girls fell into routine again and were ready for the camera.

With every other lap the girls switched who would be filming because they like to keep everything fair and fun. Catching front boards, spins, nose and tail presses, the girls loved it. Then the day got the best of them. While tiring out wasn’t an option TUB continued to ride their hardest. And their hardest caused them to fall harder. With each lap there were at least three complete wipe outs, but smiles never left the birds’ beaks. This is what they live for.

Though, once again like the day before, the park started to get worn and the girls called it. Downing a bottle of water or two they took off their boots, loaded up the car, snapped some final photos and said goodbye, but left their mark on the sticker wall.


The car ride back to Qtown was a quiet one. Although TUB was quite tuckered out, they stopped at a scenic spot to snap photos and stretch their legs. The girls found another place with free parking and headed into town. Now that they have some free time they decided to kill it by shopping around for gifts (strictly touristy stuff). While roaming around, TUB &O ran into another TEANer, Mike. After a quick hello and catch up, the girls finally got in contact with Brynna and decided to have dinner together at a Mexican Cantina. Since the service was the slowest in the world the girls and Oliver jabbered on and on about New Zealand, other countries visited (where Brynna had everyone beat) and countries that they desire to visit. The enchiladas were mowed down in a flash and it was time for TUB &O to once again, set up camp in the dark.


After hugs, goodbyes and Oliver buying a ‘Ferg loves you’ t-shirt, the trio back tracked an hour or so to a decent campsite not on gravel. While they were pitching the tent for the last night in the South Island, a few stones were casted into the lake a few feet away from the tent and then the three companions settled in. Sleep came in quickly with thoughts of a big drive in the morning.

To be continued….