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July 2015

Keep Safe in the NZ Backcountry

Keep Safe in the New Zealand Backcountry

With Rocky Mountains and expansive Alpine ranges, New Zealand has a vast amount of Backcountry to explore, perfect for a variety of snow adventures including skiing, snowboarding, hiking and climbing.

With so much terrain to be explored always remember to be prepared for the unexpected to happen.

Outdoor Safety Code Outside Sports NZ

Although we may not experience huge metres of snowfall like such places as Europe, Canada and America, the risk of avalanche is still extremely high in the New Zealand Backcountry. Whether snow, mud or rockfall you should be aware of the risks and what to do to avoid them or in the event that one should occur.

The weather in NZ Mountains can deteriorate extremely rapidly. Make sure you check the weather and avalanche forecasts before and during your trip for all of the time that you will be in the mountains and backcountry. Prepare for the worst conditions and ensure you can seek safe shelter.

This is a small piece of advice for you to consider before entering New Zealand backcountry. You should be well experienced in your undergoing activity, have a great understanding in the area you are entering and ensure that appropriate measures are in place within your group to recognise that when there is a problem the appropriate authorities are alerted. Ensure you and your group have in place, and fully understand a procedure to enable rescuers to find you quickly.

The New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process, endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies, provides 3 simple options which enable you to 'tell someone' all the details about your land-based trip into the outdoors.

NZ Outdoors Intentions Plan Outside Sports NZ


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Hydration Bladder vs Water Bottle

Hydration Bladder vs Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is vital for your performance in sport, and just as important for everyday living. There are various options to get that fluid intake on board; here are some pros and cons of using a hydration bladder and water bottle to carry fluids on your bike, hike or skiing adventure. You might find you switch the option you are using:

Water Bottles


Water bottles are ideal in the office- providing an excellent visual aid to help measure the volume of fluid consumed. Out on the trail, whether hiking, biking or skiing- a water bottle is easier to fill up from a stream than a hydration bladder and also a bit simpler to pour if you decide to make a cup of tea.

Water bottle Hydration Outside Sports NZ


If you don’t have a handy to reach pocket on your pack then a water bottle can be difficult to drink from on the go, meaning that you need to stop for refreshment, or ask someone to help you every time you’re thirsty. This can also discourage people from stopping and result in dehydration.

Regarding cycling, some smaller frame bikes don’t have space on the down tube to mount a bottle cage or fit a bottle. If your bottle does fit and you’re on a muddy/dusty trail the mouth piece tends to get covered in mud and dirt.

Hydration Bladders


With a hydration bladder there is no need to stop what you are doing, simply reach for the tube and start hydrating. Being able to sip water more frequently will likely result in you drinking more water. And drinking more water results in better performance, better recovery and better mood!

If you have a compatible pack for a hydration bladder, the mouth piece will be able to sit right at your chest and the bladder will sit right in your bag. For biking and skiing a Camelbak hydration pack is a handy place to store snacks, clothes, tools and spares.

CamelBak Hydration Bladder Outside Sports NZ


As your hydration bladder is tucked away in your pack you can never be certain of how much water you've drunk without stopping to check.

You will experience on a hot day that the water sat in the tube of the bladder will warm up, making those first few sips not as refreshing. The tube is difficult to clean and mould can grow.

Lastly, a bladder will leak in the end. There's no way of getting around it.

In conclusion, if you’re on the go then try a Hydration bladder, if you can stop for plenty of breaks then a water bottle will work. Carry both when tramping for the ultimate performance in rehydration on the go and re-filling.


Wide mouth pieces on water bottles are easier to clean. There are various options of materials for water bottles- consider one for your needs, i.e. stainless steel is lightweight, Purist plastic will never get taste stained.

A hydration bladder with a large opening such as a CamelBak bladder is easier to clean and dry to help eliminate mold between uses. Use the CamelBak cleaning kit.

Add Nuun to your water to deliver a fast-absorbing electrolyte blend.

Read more about Hydration Packs for Biking.

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Cycling Across Antarctica on a FatBike

Antarctica Traverse by Fat Bike.

To benefit victims of HIV and Aids in Africa, Kate Leeming, Australian professional tennis player, is going to attempt to become the first person to cross Antarctica by bike via the South Pole next year.

Kate Leeming to Bike Antarctica Outside Sports Blog NZ

Kate has already biked for causes across Africa- to raise awareness for those living in poverty and illness, Australia- to support education for sustainability development, and Siberia- to help children harmed by the Chernobyl catastrophe; equalling a total riding distance of two trips around the world at the Equator.

Kate has a custom made, heavy-duty AWD Fat Bike, equipped with 4-inch tyres, built especially for the Antarctic terrain. Built by the inventor of the All-Wheel Drive Mountain bike- Steve Christini.

Kate Leeming to Bike Antarctica Outside Sports Blog NZ

In preparation for Antarctica Kate has been training in Spitsbergen, Norway with the custom built Fat Bike in temperatures of -22 degrees. She is intending to ride across Greenland for her final training session.

Kate will be accompanied by highly experienced polar guide Eric Phillips, award-winning documentary filmmaker Claudio von Planta, and photographer/videographer Phil Coates, who worked in the Arctic back in 2011.

Kate Leeming to Bike Antarctica Outside Sports Blog NZ

Kate is currently looking for ways to fund the trip, and is campaigning for the app Charity Miles, (RED), which allows people to raise money for HIV and AIDS victims in Africa by running, walking, or biking at no monetary cost to them (corporate sponsors pledge to donate per mile of each user). For more detail visit Kate's website.

Watch footage from Kate's practice rides:

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Meet Sponsored Athlete Olly Thomas

Outside Sports Sponsored Athlete

Meet Olly Thomas

Outside Sports welcomed Olly to the team in 2014 when he was only 11 years old. Born and bred in Wanaka, NZ. Olly has had the privilege of spending his skiing days at Cardrona Alpine Resort and becoming a free skier in their world famous terrain park.

Olly Thomas Outside Sports Athlete Free Skiier

Olly at Cardrona Alpine Resort, NZ.

Last winter Olly perfected a back flip, 360, 540, various rail tricks and big jumps. 

Already, a month into the 2015 winter season, Olly has introduced a 720 into the mix and is working hard to bring in even more complex tricks throughout the season.

A competitive Free Skier, Olly has achieved:

  • 2nd in The Chill Series Junior Big Mountain, Craigieburn
  • 3rd in the Junior Nationals Big Mountain Competition held at Cardrona Alpine Resort, Wanaka

Olly Thomas Outside Sports Athlete Free Skier

Olly and Luca at Cardrona Alpine Resort, NZ.

For 2015 Olly aims to achieve more podium places and is focussing on this Year’s New Zealand Junior Nationals. His future aim is to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Olly wears Dalbello Ski boots.

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Martyn Ashton is back on his Bike!

Pure inspiration from Martyn Ashton, a man who isn't willing to let anything beat him!

Martyn Ashton Rides Again Outside Sports NZ

Photo credit: Shift Active Media

The international mountain bike trials legend and previous World Champion Martyn Ashton, aged 40, is back on his bike! Martyn broke his back performing a stunt on the Animal WD40 Action Sports Tour in 2013. Falling 10 feet from a bar and hitting the ground, Martyn Ashton’s injury left him with no feeling in his legs.

Martyn Ashton Rides Again Outside Sports NZ

Photo credit: Shift Active Media

With the help of a few world-famous trial riding friends , The star of the "Road Bike Party" YouTube sensation: Martyn Ashton was strapped to a downhill bike and let loose on some of Antur Stiniog’s downhill trails in Wales, UK. Proving that his accident won’t slow him down.  The bike uses a sit-ski seat (designed for use in paralympic snow sports) - attached to an unmodified bike.

Martyn Ashton Rides Again Outside Sports NZ

Photo credit: Shift Active Media

Martyn was surprised how quickly riding felt normal again. "When I got used to it, I just had a 'this is kind of brilliant' moment." His long-term aim is to use his own breakthrough to help other disabled people experience the joy and freedom of cycling.

Back on Track is a truly inspirational short film showing Martyn Ashton back on his bike in Wales, UK.


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