VIDEO – Charlie Timmins in The Whole Nine Yards

October 6th, 2010

Charlie Timmins. Image:: Ben Hansen

The North Face Backcountry Ski Trip

In August The North Face dropped nine skiers, including team rider Charlie Timmins into the Mt Cook backcountry and left them there to get creative with the wilderness. This video by Tim Pierce was the result.

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Tim Pierce Zeros&Ones www.zeros&

Charlie tells us a little about the trip…

The North Face took a bunch of you on an NZ backcountry camping trip, how did the trip come about and how’d you score a spot?
I didn’t have a lot to do with the organisation, and in fact didn’t realise we’d be hiking out until I was dropped up there. But yeah I think the guys at the North Face realised that this was something I’d love to do and invited me along for that reason.

You had to wait out the weather, how were the conditions once you got up there?
It was actually really nice for the first two days. I think we were lucky we got out when we did though, because looking back up at the range from the valley floor the day we got out, you could see the snow being blown for hundreds of metres from right where we’d been camping.

Have you done much of this kind of thing before?
I’ve done quite a lot of skiing in the mountains in NZ and a few days on that same range. I haven’t camped out too much, only one other time in NZ. It is a really easy thing to do though, when you have all the North Face gear, like tents, supplied for the trip and experienced guides who know the area, carry the food and set up camp.

Did you really sleep in your ski boots? how was that? how was the laundry once you finally got to change clothes?
Hahaha one night I didn’t and that was worse. It was about -10C most nights and putting boots on when they’re that cold is the worst thing in the world. My toes are looking woeful. And showering then putting fresh clothes on after the trip was the greatest thing that has ever happened, ever.

The night skiing looks amazing, what was it like not only skiing at night, but away from any kind of lights except head torches?
It was soooo fun. Maybe one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Skiing powder at night is a rare experience.

You’re a freestyle skier but clearly big mountains don’t faze you, what gets you stoked about big mountain skiing? will you be doing more of it in future?
Yeah it’s pretty fun, but way more scary. Skiing into blind lines freaks me out, I hate it. I only like to ski something if I’ve checked it out pretty closely. Fraser, on the other hand… That guy is the boss. I think I will do it more and I feel the more you do that kind of thing the more intuitive most of the skills become. I am going to go to France for a bit this summer and will hopefully get some good skiing there.

Looks like you had a monster of a hike out, they didn’t send you a chopper?
No, not for lack of trying though. Tim and I were ready to split the $1000 it would have cost to get lifted out and leave the others there. But yeah, the hike was good once it was over. Sucked while it was happening. One of our guides had a pack I couldn’t even lift off the ground. What a machine.