When the first snows of winter blanket the mountains surrounding a ski town, it’s always easy tell who stayed behind for the summer:

It’s the radiating froth that gives them away.


They’re the ones with eyes cast to the jagged horizon and face contorted in a lunatic perma-grin.
The ones with freshly muscled limbs and limber joints.
The ones with accumulated leave, well-padded bank accounts, and disposable income.
They’ve read the latest winter magazine releases from cover-to-cover at least 10 times already and have a 10-day synoptic weather forecast permanently downloaded to their brain. Their pre-season training regime involves more than just finding a matching pair of gloves.

Snowboarder Stef Zeestraten stayed behind in Wanaka over the northern hemisphere winter to work on the family business he runs with his brother. That’s 9 long months to dream about backflips and faceshots. When the first snows of winter 2016 recently fell on the mountains surrounding Wanaka, Stef was the first to get out there and get amongst. From switch back 5’s to starry skies, he’s made the most of the early winter cold. Joined by other local frothers along the way, here’s a selection of pre-season teaser images from Cardrona and Treble Cone to whet your winter whistles. Not long now. Not long at all.



^ Nick Hyne at Cardrona. Photo: Stef Zeestraten

^ Stef rests the pre-season legs. Photo: Nick Hyne

^ 9 months is a long time to wait for a backie. Stef Z at Cardrona. Photo: Nick Hyne

Backyard tipi forts. Photo: Stef Zeestraten ^

Getting in real early for first chair. Photo: Stef Zeestraten ^

Early season snow pack is reported as “blower” – Photo: Tori Beattie ^

Mike Handford ducks for cover. Photo: Stef Zeestraten ^

Cam McDermid lays the first tracks on the summit slopes for Winter 2016. Photo: Stef Zeestraten ^

Tom Brownlee waits for no lift. Photo: Tori Beattie ^

Poorly drawn lines. Tori Beattie cuts a swathe. Photo: Stef Zeestraten ^




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