Thanks for the great response to our story from Dave Tweedie on surviving the big rock in Stanleys at Thredbo – lot of love for that chunk of ganite out there – so here’s another dose, an anonymous leaper from the 90s captured by the inimitable Randy Wieman, who must have recorded more awesome Thredbo moments than anyone else over the decades.
He did this piece for our ‘Consequences’ series a few years back on big lines downunder with big consequences if you don’t nail them. The leaper here nailed it, but was in no hurry to come back for more as Randy recalls..
Not many skiers and even fewer boarders have leapt off Stanley’s Rock. The drop is huge and the landing is flat. Snow conditions have to be perfect to even contemplate going off. The snow has to cover the top of the rock so that the rider can access the take off. Because the edge of the rock is round, it is difficult to see the bottom, and the wind necessary to fill in the landing will often bare the rock on top. Only when there is snow on top and lots of windblown below can the plunge be taken.
If one knows where to look, Stanley’s can be viewed from the Alpine Way, where it takes the shape of a huge boulder. Even in winter the face is visible. The closer you get, the bigger it gets. From the top, it looks like you will drop forever.
Back in 1990, I was in Stanley’s with some fearless skiers and the windblown powder was epic. As we skied past, one rider stated that the Rock looked ready and so was he. I set up the shot with the camera and waited for him to walk back up.
Finally his small face appeared on top and descended to the edge. He dropped a snowball over the edge to gauge the trajectory, took two steps up and launched. The wind blew the snow that was unsettled behind him, his legs came up to stabilize his body in the air, and he dropped and dropped. Luckily his calculations were correct as he landed into a big pile of powder and skied away. I asked him if he would like to do it again and he said
“No, one time is enough!”
– Randy Wieman
Can anybody identify the anonymous leaper?
NB: Among the many comments on Dave’s story was a sad tale from Wayne Stinson about a lady dying in the creek in Stanleys in the 70s. Far more recently people have also died in creeks very close to main runs too – never ski/ride/enter creek lines alone, period. Stanleys as mentioned is only for the very competent, properly equiped, when conditions allow – avalanche is a serious danger here.
For more Stanley’s Rock and Roll check Dave Tweedie’s efforts here