Pictures & Video: Graham Howes (Dirty Habits)
Words: Buzzy Joell (Boardbox)
VIDEO BELOW: Quick clip from 4 hour session, 1st one in 5 years for all of us.
“Hey bru, How many snowboards do you have?” “Just one bru, but let me make a couple of phone calls
and i am sure i can organize another one!’. This was the conversation that put the wheels in motion for a
snowboarding mission into the heart of the Matroosberg Mountains. Yes that is in the Western Cape and Yes
there is plenty of snow. The Problem is that it is definitely not the easiest place to get to and it turns out that a
second snow board would be one of the easier things I needed to get my hands on.
After calling a couple of mates I soon got another snowboard. I gave Graham Howes from Dirty Habits Boardriding
Magazine a call back to tell him the good news. Now the snowboards were the least of our worries and we
still had a rather large amount of stuff to organize, amongst this was warm, waterproof clothing, snowboard
boots, A 4 x 4 and a day off of work! Phone calls were made, favours were pulled in and 36 hours later Graham
and myself were leaving Cape town on our way to Stellenbosch to meet up with Craig Howes and
Rob Bernsein. Arriving in Stellenbosch we started packing all our gear into the 2.8 liter Short wheel base Land Rover
(Thanks Rob) that was to be our Chariot for the next 2 days. We left Stellies around 8 pm, with us all bundled
into the car and absolutely frothing for the adventure that lay ahead of us! We arrived at Matroosberg Private
Nature reserve around 22:30 to Didi’s warm and inviting smile. We unpacked the Landy, lit a fire and cracked the Old Brown Sherry. The temperature
plummeted to -11’C, but the cabins have built in fire places which keep you nice and toasty inside, a couple
bottles of Old Brown Sherry definitely helped as well!
Frozen water pipes, clear, azure blue skies and snow capped Mountains greeted us at dawn the next
morning. Didi had very kindly invited us to come and join her for coffee at the farm house, coffee in hand
we met Waldo and Ivan, “there is plenty snow up there, you guys are gonna love it!” is what we were told by a
smiling Ivan! Charged up on caffeine we headed for the 4 x 4 trail. One thing i can tell you is that they aren’t kidding when they say 4 x 4 trail, infact there
is a list of 4 wheel drives at reception that are NOT allowed up the trail! So bring your A-game.
We pushed on up the trail as far as we could go, we got about 3 quarters of the way up before we got stuck
and couldn’t go any further and believe me we tried!
Back packs loaded with supplies, snow gear on, snowboards and shovels in hand we began our hike. 45 minutes later we were knee deep in powder. We
found Berms, gaps, drop-offs, long slopes of fresh powder and we built a decent sized kicker that we sessioned
(we weren’t carrying those shovels up the mountain for nothing!). We ran into 3 other groups of people the
whole day, but apart from that we had the mountain to ourselves. Its a pretty surreal experience to be able to
snow board in South Africa and its warm enough to wear a just T-shirt and long pants. There isn’t a ski lift in
sight so be prepared to walk and climb up steep slopes, to me this just added to the fun but it definitely helps
to have a good level of fitness! As the sun began to dip towards the distant mountains it was decided that we
would hike up as high as we could get and traverse across the slope and back down to where the car was parked.
Its hard to describe the array of colours that greeted us when we finally got to the top and looked back down,
from pastel pinks to deep blues and fiery reds. We took the last of our photos, made sure
our gear was strapped up and started our decent. It was the longest run we had all day and we could not have
pre-ordered a better way to get down to the car!
We timed it perfectly and watched the sun setting behind the mountains across the valley, as we made our
way back down the 4 x 4 trail, if we had left it any later we would have had to get down the 4 x 4 trail in the
dark and that would have been a rather dangerous task that I would not recommend at all!
Back down at reception, Ivan found us packing the Land Rover, “Glad you boys made it off the mountain, I was
starting to get worried about you!”. It’s funny how when you are up there that the danger level doesn’t really
enter your thoughts, things can go very wrong very quickly and I only started to think about it after Ivan had
said he was stoked we made it back down. We found the last of our beer supply and sat reminiscing over the
days events while sipping ice cold beers we had left in the snow under the Land Rover.
Sun burnt, tired, powdered out and with stupidly big smiles on our faces we said our goodbyes climbed back
into our Chariot and headed for the Steers in Ceres, that place was about to get invaded, just like we
had invaded Matroosberg for the day!
*A massive thank you goes out to Didi, Waldo and Ivan who made us feel more than welcome at the
Matroosberg Private nature reserve. Thank you so much for having us, your friendly smiles and incredibly
warm hospitality were amazing. We had an absolute blast and will definitely be back! Thank you once again …
Matroosberg Nature Reserve (Just past Ceres in the Western Cape)
These guys are amazing, really helpful and great accommodation on the farm below the snowy mountains.Website: matroosberg.com
Matroosberg contact: 0731940885
Downhill Adventures in Cape Town sorted us out with all the gear.
They have snowboards and boots for hire, and specialize in extreme sports guided tours and gear rental.
Tell: +27 (0)21422 0388
Thanks to the Buzzy at The Boardbox Cape Town board repairs for a good time.
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