Words by Carson Storch
I flew down to New Zealand on January 20th and had two and a half solid weeks of unbelievably good NZ summer, especially when back at home in Oregon we're stuck in full on winter. It's all about riding every day, hanging with my buddies, and having an incredible time!
I took last year off of competing in the FMB World Tour to film for a couple full-length movie projects and I've basically lost my position in the overall rankings which has put me near the bottom of the totem pole. To be able to compete in the first large slopestyle contest of the year, which is Crankworx Rotorua, I would have to fight my way back up the rankings which means competing in small events all across Europe.
Don’t get me wrong, I love competing and being a part of the slopestyle scene, but focusing on a different path is something that I feel fortunate to be able to do. Grassroots events such as Mcgazza fest and farm jam are so much fun to attend and be a part of. Film projects are something I’ve been passionate about my whole riding career, and now I’m in the position to focus on them. So going on a trip like this is perfect chance for me to gain momentum for the year, and prepare for the bigger film projects and events I plan on attending.
New Zealand is one of my favorite places in the world. There is so much to do and has an amazing riding scene. For me, trips like these are a way to pick up right where I left off from the previous season, and a good excuse to chase good weather, get some riding in.
McGazza Fest is special to me in so many ways… Kelly was a great mentor, and an even better friend. His passing was so hard on the whole MTB community, but especially to his family and those that new him personally. Being a part of McGazza Fest and seeing it grow so much since the inaugural event has been amazing to see. Having a massive crew of friends riding the best spots around Queenstown for a whole weekend in honor of Kelly's memory is pretty epic! I love every minute of it, and I plan on attending for years to come!
This years' Farm Jam was a new experience for me, although I've been following the event for a while now. I've known Brett and Dan Frew for a handful of years now, but for some reason I've never actually made the trip down to ride the Jam until this year. I loved the camaraderie between Moto, BMX, & MTB. Everyone is there to have good time, and just shred. It's an event with such a good vibe, with everyone charging at a super high level of riding.
NO SCHEDULE, JUST RIDE
Adventuring around the epic terrain that Queenstown and the South Island has to offer was something that started last year while filming for "Dear Kelly". My photographer buddy, Tyler Roemer, and I had the goal of getting one banger a day, on whichever bike, riding anything that was sweet. When you have a fun goal like this, it really opens up the options of what you can do.
This year we found ourselves trying to shoot fresh zones every day, and the highlight of the trip was definitely the heli mission above Glenorchy. Thanks to Heli Glenorchy, we got to check out some insane terrain with tons of potential for big mountain lines. I definitely want to explore more in that zone. We just got a small taste of the potential, and it was pretty rad to get my tires in the dirt on a couple big lines.