The Canterbury snow-covered mountains are proving to be one of the perfect landscape for extreme sport lovers looking for their next adventure. For the past three years thrill-seekers have converged on New Zealand to take part in the King of Speed Boogie - an event bringing together some of the best speedriders in the world for two weeks of action on New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
Speedriding is a combination of skiing, skydiving and paragliding, giving participants the freedom to experience spectacular and pristine alpine snowscapes. The sport is experienced by either hiking to the top of a mountain or grabbing ski or heli-lift and inflating a specialised speedriding wing (hybrid shape to a parachute and paraglider), before enjoying the untouched powder. Speedriding has been around in various incarnations since the late 1970s when French mountaineers experimented with launching parachutes on foot from steep mountain terrain.
Since then the sport has continued to grow and there are now estimated to be up to 5,000 speed wing pilots around the world. One of the biggest gatherings of this sport takes place annually in the South Island of New Zealand - an area respected for its imposing mountains, scenery and winter snowfall.
The King of Speed Boogie is the brainchild of speedriding enthusiasts Chris Doerfel and Asher Zalchendler. Held annually at Broken River - a boutique ski club field in the Southern Alps - the area offers some of the best off-piste ski and snowboarding in New Zealand. The 2013 event saw over 40 participants head to Canterbury to advance their skills with some of the best speedrider coaches in the world. Among these were Switzerland's Bernhard "Beni" Kaelin, swing pro pilots Buzz Lorenzo, Joe Dyson and Australian base and speedflying legend Wildman Shovel.
Broken River has two large bowls right in front of the Palmer Lodge located on the mountain which is an ideal place to sit and watch the action unfold.
Those taking part in the boogie can enjoy accommodation a short walk from the first ski tow. Broken River offers traditional mountain-style accommodation with three lodges, located in a picturesque beech forest with views of the surrounding mountains and Castle Hill valley.
The 2014 King of Speed Boogie will be held from August 30 to September 14.