Australia Strike Mission

Five Days Down Under with Lick The Cat

“Sooooo… I’m staying… F%*#K it.” Spencer Schubert sent this text to our filmer, Jerm, and I just after we had passed though security in the Sydney airport. Our five-day Australia strike mission had come to an end and last we saw Spenny he was fully packed and sorting out stand-by flights home. Jerm and I didn’t see this text coming. However, we weren’t surprised. This spontaneous act of commitment was right on par for what our trip had turned into, so we tipped our hats, shrugged our shoulders and got a drink before our 14-hour flight back home.

The idea for this trip came from a lunch date Jerm and I had a month prior. Jerm was in full swing editing Lick The Cat’s “Video Of The Year,” and I was prepping for finals week at school. It was 100 degrees in Salt Lake City and we got to talking about how all these month-long trips we take often end up boiling down to just a few days of footage. This made us ask the question: What’s the shortest amount of time we could travel and still reap the rewards of a full-on snowboard trip? We decided the answer to be just under one week, and before we knew it Spenny was on board and the three of us were headed to Australia. A five-day trip would allow us three days of snowboarding for the small sacrifice of only 40 hours of travel. We have no agenda, no shot list, no obligations. It’s sort of like any other film trip but, but less serious. There’s just something about it—the short time frame, the freedom from expectations, and our natural frequency to be in phase with one another and the spontaneous nature of our trip. In other words, nothing feels required, and everything we capture will seem like a bonus.

With five days in the land-down-under we aim to make the most of our time. Spenny proves to be an MVP for the trip, especially in Sydney as he’s spent time here and knows it well enough to show a couple of green horns such as Jerm and myself how to make the most of a 24-hour stint in one of the most iconic cities in the world. On our second day, we drive past 207 road-killed kangaroos to the small ski town of Jindabyne. This sleepy village of 2,629 annual residents shouldn’t be underestimated as another “near” the outback town. Although it’s nestled quietly up against the Snowy Mountains of the Jagungal Wilderness, you’re likely to cross paths with some of snowboarding’s biggest and baddest park boarders. Contest guys like Mark McMorris and teenage heart-throb Sven Thorgren often frequent the town center and the nearby resort, Thredbo. Jerm, Spenny and I were little fish in a big pond and were grateful to have been brought in by Jindabyne’s own, Jye Kearny. Although a local, Jye’s incredible snowboarding has taken him all-across the world to film countless savage video parts.

Our three days in Jindabyne go fast. Each day on snow is geared towards being as productive as possible. We experience a cocktail of icy sidecountry, park riding, mogul battling, slush carving and backcountry, which in Australia is referred to as “the outback.” The highlight of the trip is hands down our second day there. As if our first day of suspect bullet proof side country didn’t make us hungry enough, Spenny managed to line up a guide to escort us to the top of Australia’s highest point, Mount Kosciuszko. The 2,228-meter (7310-foot) peak is one of the iconic Seven Summits, and clear skies permitted our voyage to its glorious summit.

So, what did we accomplish on our strike mission? When all was said and done we’d seen the world famous Sydney Opera House, too many kagaroos to count, tasted winter in Jindabyne and started our journey towards completing the Seven Summits. Our questionable idea of going on a snowboard trip to Australia for just one week actually worked. Truthfully, we kind of nailed it. We had our fill, and left full of pride and content—at least Jerm and I had. Spenny, on the other hand, was still hungry for more, but the story about the rest of his journey will have to wait for another time.

ABOVE Our original plan was to surf at Bondi beach until we saw how big the waves were. We went swimming instead.

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