Tag Archives: Guthega

Wine, kangaroos and Jindabyne

With the warmer weather and longer days, we have been able to pack more into our snow trips than just endless skiing.

This trip we stayed at a lovely lodge in Jindabyne and enjoyed some après-ski with wine, cheese and dips – all of which taste better after a day of skiing (and being starving from missing lunch).

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Sitting around with Dad, Mark, Linda and Zac drinking wine and eating cheese

I haven’t stayed in a lodge other that the SASC lodges before, but was comforted to find that Gundaroo lodge in Jindabyne has the same alpine-community feel.

On the second day of the sunny weekend we were joined by Linda and Zac. We were able to split the two-days free skiing to give them one each – which is a great move by Perisher to get more people on the mountain, and great for us because it means more people to ski with! To avoid the long line that the free-days-skiing-to-friends-for-Freedom-Pass-holders had created, we drove to Guthega to start the day. I hadn’t driven to Guthega before (I wouldn’t have had the guts in my car when the road was snowy), but it’s a very nice drive – if you hang on.

Windy Guthega Road
Windy Guthega Road

On the way up I was struck by how many dead trees there are – apparently this is due to the eucalyptus weevil.  This horrible little sucker has a particularly craving for snow gums and eats the new growth, eventually causing the trees to die. It seems like there is a whole layer of growth coming back in the forests though, so I’m optimistic the trees are going to be OK.

Less snow and dead trees
New growth creeping up through the dead trees on the way to Guthega.

It makes me happy to see animals get more active again in the spring. We had a great lunch at Eyre and were joined by a very curious and healthy-looking snow-crow.

Less snow and dead trees
Snow-crow at Eyre

We visited Island Bend, a beautiful camping area on the way to Guthega. A mob of kangaroos popped up their heads and looked at us, just like we looked at them. There were also wallabies, wombats and echidnas.

 

 

Kangaroos at Island Bend near Guthega
Kangaroos at Island Bend near Guthega
Beautiful river at Island Bend near Guthega
Beautiful river at Island Bend near Guthega

Australian animals are seriously cute, and a little bit scary. I have a lot of admiration and a healthy respect for the spines and claws. I’d love to stay at Island Bend in the summer and hang out with the critters. I imagine there are some great bushwalks in the area, and plenty of beautiful scenery. This landscape might be the perfect ease-out of snow-life for me: beautiful gums and mountains, but nothing attached to my feet.

Beautiful river at Island Bend near Guthega
Beautiful river at Island Bend near Guthega
Beautiful river at Island Bend near Guthega
Beautiful river at Island Bend near Guthega
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Jackets off and sunnies on

This third weekend in spring was another great time spent at the snow.

On the triple with Dad and Mark
On the triple with Dad and Mark

Having bought the Perisher Freedom Pass again for 2015, Mark and I got 2 free days skiing to give to a friend this year. We thought this was a great thing – and obviously so did a lot of other keen snow-goers judging by the long snake of a line at the Perisher ticket sales.

Free tickets loaded up on Dad’s pass, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast (with a serious good vegie burger) at the bottom of Eyre. we’d been up since 5am, so Dad polished off breakfast with a gluwein – very nice choice.

Breakfast with Dad at Eyre

The day was a scorching (for the snow) 9 degrees with not a breath of wind. I haven’t skied without a jacket before (as far as I can remember), but the weather on Saturday demanded you strip off some layers. I got down to a long sleeve top and absolutely loved the freedom of it! My jacket is not particularly restricting, but  without it I could move so freely! The sensation of wind on my arms and chest as a flew down the mountains was also amazing (if a little fresh).

Feeling very free this spring at Guthega
Feeling very free this spring at Guthega

Although less, there was still plenty of snow to ski the mountain, with Mount Perisher the place to be (as usual).

Dad skiing Olympic
From the top of Olympic we can see the mountains starting to peek through the snow.
Dad skiing Olympic
Dad skiing Olympic

Dad loved the feeling of layer-less skiing so much that on Sunday he wore only jeans and a skivvy on the slopes. Unfortunately, Sunday brought a slight wind chill, and my very cold and colourless Dad admitted that his clothing choice was one of his very infrequent mistakes.

Boundary on Eyre with Dad
Boundary on Eyre with Dad in jeans and a skivvy

It has been fascinating to watch the mountain change this season. I’ve been reflecting on when I tried to cover as much as my face from the bitey cold as possible, to carrying sunscreen in my CamelBak to avoid a sunglasses/goggle tan (which didn’t work by the way).

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Watching the glossy melting snow slow slide down in the distance is beautiful – it’s a little bit sad because it means this fantastic season is over – but it’s mainly beautiful.

 

Happy bunny ears at Guthega
Happy bunny ears at Guthega

We enjoyed a beer and gluwein at Guthega Inn for their last day of the season, and noticed just how much the mountains have changed since a few weeks ago – you can see the dam and river now!

Beautiful view from Guthega Inn looking a bit more springy
Beautiful view from Guthega Inn looking a bit more springy

It has been a seriously great season – I hope to go up one more time before it closes, but if not, that’s OK. Mark and I have skied 19 days and only missed 3 weekends. We’ve watched the snow come and the snow melt. We have improved at skiing and boarding more than we thought we could and we’ve managed to share these amazing experiences with family and friends. It has been the BEST winter.

Beer on Guthega Inn's last da this season
Beer on Guthega Inn’s last day this season

 

There and back again: Perisher from Canberra

The snow is the best day trip from Canberra. We have made it 10 weeks in a row and have got it down to an art.

The day starts at 4:30am when Mark and I wake up to I just can’t wait to be king from the Lion King (trust me, it’s a great way to start the day in a good mood, I couldn’t stand waking up to a buzzing alarm).

We throw on our ski gear, make a coffee (frothed milk and all – I love our Aldi coffee machine) and take our gear down to the car.

I have my car fitted out with far more gear than I had at the start of the season and it makes the drive a lot easier (and safer). Ski racks on the roof give us plenty of room in the Rav4 and driving lights brighten the dark morning drive.

Light starts to break through the horizon about 1.5 hours into the drive at Cooma, and it’s beautiful.

Very heavy, but beautiful fog, on the Monaro Highway
Very heavy, but beautiful fog, on the Monaro Highway

I love the landscape at Cooma – it looks like a Fred Williams painting. The trees could be inky squiggles and the rocks ink blots.

Light breaking at Cooma
Light breaking at Cooma

Once the light is up over the beautiful landscape it doesn’t take long (pending any powder-day traffic) to get to the ski tube. We jump on that, and just before 8:30am, we’re on the snow. Everything going well, we can get from bed in Canberra to skis-on in Perisher in 4 hours.

This Saturday was supposed to have bad weather (rain/snow) come over during the day, so every moment of sunshine felt stolen. We got the absolute most out of every fair-weather run.

We started marking the perfect corduroy in Centre Valley. Since we’ve been skiing every weekend, my legs don’t hurt/get tired anymore, so I gave myself the challenge of making my muscles ache for Sunday. We headed over to Mount Perisher as soon as it opened and had some amazing runs. It’s so much easier to ski aggressively when you can see the snow in front of you (not the terrible visibility of last Sunday which made me feel like an
uncoordinated baby deer trying to stand up). With the confidence of sight, I surprised myself with how fast I was skiing and how good my turns felt.

My tracks on were the first down The Cleft off Leichardt on Saturday morning
My tracks on were the first down The Cleft off Leichardt on Saturday morning
My tracks on sun valley
My tracks are up there on Sun Valley

As soon as Olympic opened at 10am we were on the T-bar. When did they start grooming the side of Olympic? I don’t know who made this decision, but I want to give them a giant hug and buy them some chocolate. You’ve heard my enthusiasm for long, steep runs (i.e. Parachute, which is now unfortunately closed), and now I have another run to pine for all week. I don’t know what this run is called, and I don’t care. It’s seriously beautiful.

Excitement building on the Olympic t-bar
Excitement building on the Olympic T-bar

No time for a break, we headed over to North Perisher and then Blue Cow to make the most of the mountain. I love the runs off the Ridge Chair, but equally I love riding it and watching the mogul skiers. If doing the moguls isn’t impressive enough, they do flips! Check out this video.

At the top of the chair the beautiful views fill in for the entertainment, and then long, scenic, leg-burning runs take me down to the bottom.

Great shadow at the top of Outer Limits at Blue Cow
Great shadow at the top of Outer Limits at Blue Cow
Great view at the top of Outer Limits at Blue Cow
Great view at the top of Outer Limits at Blue Cow

Being human and all, Mark and I took a break for lunch. We met up with some friends and I suggested we eat at Guthega Pub. I had talked up the food and the view, but when ee went there at 1:30pm, the staff said the weren’t taking any more lunch orders. We didn’t want to miss out on the great view, so ordered some German beer and mulled wine instead. The liquid lunch filled the belly, and as usual, good company can make up for almost anything!

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They wouldn’t serve us any food, but the drinks, company and view were good

We skied until we got kicked off the mountain and jumped on the tube home. I met my challenge – my legs were sore. The long, dark drive home was broken up by a delicious dinner at Bredbo Woodfired Pizza. The pizzas were delicious, and being the first solid food we’d eaten since breakfast, they were demolished. We were home by 8:30pm and crashed on the bed. We get a lot out of our 16 hour day trips to the snow.

 

Long road home
Driving lights come in handy on the long road home to Canberra.

Well, hello there Guthega

Perisher said that the new Freedom Chair would unlock Guthega. I’m not sure if it’s the Freedom Chair, or the dumps of snow we’ve had these season, but Guthega looks better than ever in my eyes.

Top of the Freedom Chair
Top of the Freedom Chair

It is home to my new favourite run: Parachute. Many people say Perisher lacks good, long runs. For the most part, I agree. Perisher has great variety and heaps of space, but the ratio between time spent waiting for and on a lift and time  skiing downhill is, unfortunately, weighted toward the lifts.  When there is plenty of snow, Guthega tips the ratio back toward time spent zooming downhill.

View from the top of Parachute at Guthega
View from the top of Parachute at Guthega

Parachute can be accessed by taking the Carpark Double Chair and then the Blue Cow T-bar. The Freedom Chair also takes you to the top for your first run down.

Squiggly snow gums at the top of Parachute
Squiggly snow gums at the top of Parachute

It’s long, it’s steep, it’s lined with trees and the view is amazing. Groomed, this run is liked heaven; ungroomed, it’s a challenge; not heaps of snow, it’s closed.

View from on the way down Parachute at Guthega
View from on the way down Parachute at Guthega

There needs to be a lot of snow for Parachute to be all it can be. If it is opened and covered, I will fly down with a smile on my face and eyes darting between my line down the mountain and the breath-taking view of the Main Range. If there is not enough snow and Parachute is closed, there are still good, long runs on offer. Woodpecker and Wombat’s come off the Blue Cow T-bar as well and are great for making some nice carve turns.

Another reason I am enjoying Guthega is the food. Guthega Alpine Inn has the price tag of on-mountain prices (i.e. it’s hard to eat lunch for less than $30/person), but at least you are paying through the nose for good atmosphere, great food and a spectacular view.

Delicious lunch with a breathtaking view at Guthega Inn
Delicious lunch with a breathtaking view at Guthega Inn
View of the dam from Guthega Inn
View of the dam from Guthega Inn

I am reluctant to write this blog, because part of the reason I love Guthega is that it is away from the crowds. Though I hardly think traffic driven to Guthega via my blog will be measurable, the real reason I keep making the traverse over to Guthega is that skiing there I am constantly aware that I am in the Snowy Mountains. It doesn’t feel much like being at a ski resort, but feels like being in nature – which is high up there in the many reasons I love the snow.