Pg. 058 Dead Horse Gap
Harrison McInness and Ryley Lucas take on a sketchy gap jump across the Alpine Way
Ryley Lucas and Harrison McInnes take on one of the heavier road gaps in Australia
Living in Melbourne, I usually make the return drive from there to Jindabyne every few weeks in winter, and after a while I tend to not pay too much attention to the surroundings. You usually first see a decent amount of snow as you cross Deadhorse Gap which sits at 1570 metres and is about seven kays from Thredbo, but I’ve never really checked out the terrain around there or thought too much about it.
Last August, Harrison McInnes and I were doing some skiing for Thredbo media and he’d driven through Deadhorse Gap the day before. He apparently checked it out a lot more closely than I had, and when he told me there were a few potential sites for a road gap jump, I was intrigued.
We decided to head up there the next morning and scope out the options for a jump site. At first the gradients seemed too flat and rounded, but after only a few minutes we came across a spot that looked like it had serious potential. It was a 40-45 foot gap with a 20 foot drop, and it seemed like it wasn’t that extreme compared to a park jump. However, as is often the case, once we started the build the following day we began to really grasp the gravity of our situation.
Harrison had the Uni Games dinner that night, so we built the kicker, finishing at dusk, and then decided to finish the in-run and landing the next morning. That night we called up local photographer Alister Buckingham to organise the shoot and
“And if you don’t land in that two metre sweet spot, you’re either landing on the road or dead flat.”
figured the best time to go was late-morning, due to the light.
At eight the next morning, weary-eyed and less-than fit for almost any activity, Alister and I headed up for D-day. We got up there and finished the in-run and the small two-metre landing, then waited for Harrison’s arrival so we could tell him to go first. He turned up an hour later, slumped in the passenger-seat of Adam Kroenert’s car, and seemed less than impressed with our level of judgement.
“This in-run is basically a slalom course through the trees,” Harrison said. “And if you don’t land in that two metre sweet spot, you’re either landing on the road or dead flat.”
“Mate, since I basically did the in-run and landing… you’re guinea pigging it,” I told him.
We then had 20 minutes of “is this really worth it” thoughts as we did a few tests runs on the in-run. I said to them that it was scarier than hitting the One Hit Wonder. Standing at the top of the in-run we could barely see the jump or oncoming traffic, so all of our faith was in Alister and Adam telling us when we were good to go.
We put together maybe five or six hits each before deciding we had done all we wanted to on a less-than-ideal, rainy morning in the mountains. We left satisfied we’d built and survived hitting such a gnarly jump. It was one of the highlights of last winter.
The boys ended up hitting the jump for an hour and a half, stepping up their tricks as they went. Ryley (this page) stomped a cork 7 blunt, while Harrison (opposite) ended up nailing a cork 7 mute. “We were stoked.”