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You are currently browsing the Icebreaker blog archives for August, 2011.

Team Ariki Takes On The Mother Of All Relays

Due to the success of ‘Team Ariki in the 2010 edition of the Hood to Coast relay race, we are back running this weekend for our second attempt at claiming glory.  Last year we were the third placed team overall so gained automatic entry into a race that often has to turn away close to 1,000 teams.  If Bob Foote the founder of Hood to Coast is to be believed, the secret of our success last year was the Portland beer and girls.

The Hood to Coast is a 197 mile running relay race with over a thousand teams competing.  The race is based around the city and surrounding areas of Portland in the United States.  The race starts half way up Mount Hood and finishes on the coast at Seaside.  Each team has 12 runners and these runners complete 3 legs each.  The relay see us run over a variety of terrains, weather conditions and times of day, which will once again test us both mentally and physically.

Our team is made up of runners who specialise in variety of distances ranging from 800m to marathons.  Most of us have run for the Ariki Club which is based in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand (close to the birth place of Icebreaker) during our running careers. Due to us being a New Zealand team, Icebreaker felt it was only right that we wear their merino.  Team Ariki is honoured to be supplied by Icebreaker, there is a compelling logic to this combination/partnership as Icebreaker will be represented at the worlds largest relay by a group of first class runners from the same region, equally hardy and resilient as the raw materials from Icebreaker’s products.  We are determined to perform well for both Icebreaker and our supporters back home.

- Alastair Chisnall, Team Ariki Captain


Introducing 11 year old freeskier – Finn Bilous

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Finn is one of the members of Icebreaker’s Kids Alpine Team in New Zealand. At only 11 years old he’s on a quest to become an internationally competitive freeskier. He’s the youngest skier to have gained a place on the New Zealand Junior Freeski Development Team, which he joined in 2009.

Finn is a great supporter of Icebreaker. “I have been kept warm by Icebreaker since I began skiing. I love the way it feels.”

He’s also been doing really well overseas during the Northern Hemisphere winter season. “I was really pleased to win at the Brighton, Utah stop of the Gatorade Free Flow Tour, as I knew the competition in the USA would be bigger and harder than here. I was nervous before the comp and was stoked to come away with 1st in the half pipe and second in the rail comp.”

Finn’s a great little filmmaker as well as an awesome freeskier – check out his 2010 season video.

Way to go Finn – we can’t wait to hear about all your new achievements.

How are the merinos?

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We’ve just had a really cold patch of weather here in NZ and wondered how the merinos were coping, so we asked one of our growers at Mt Nicholas high country station near Queenstown. This was the response we got from Kate Cocks along with some amazing images…

Thanks for your email regarding how the merinos are doing through this cold patch of weather, generally at this time of year we do have the sheep on the lower altitude areas of the station due to the likelihood of snow, however this snow was a lot lower and deeper than the usual. My father Robert who’s been on the station 35 years described it as about a one in 15 years snow which gives you an idea of how much there was.

Mostly the sheep have done well. At this time of year they have close to a full fleece of wool on, which keeps them warm, the main issue is them being able to find food in the snow. For those that aren’t in very deep snow, up to about 30cm, they will dig down with their hooves to find food and they will also seek out native shrubs and scrub to use for shelter, eating what’s underneath and not covered in snow.

Some of the ones in deeper snow are more of a challenge, we had sheep in up to a metre of snow which is basically head height on a sheep, so not so good. We did a combination of flying hay to them via helicopter until we could get them out, walking in and tramping tracks down for them to follow us to lower altitude.

For about 250 of the worst stuck ones we had to get a bit inventive and swung a cage under a Squirrel Helicopter. We flew them out in lots of 12-15, to do this we had 4 people loading them into the cages at the top and 2 of us unloading at the bottom, there were some pretty dazed and confused sheep emerging from the cage at the bottom, but all looked pretty happy to no longer be buried in snow!

I’ve included a couple of photos for you of flying them out.