Tag Archives: perisher

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

 

Spring brings out sun, smiles and teletubbies

Spring skiing is great.

Bathing in sunshine on Olympic
Mum bathing in sunshine on Olympic

 

The sun is out, people are smiling (maybe they were before but I couldn’t see through their balaclavas) and the lines are shorter. Sure there’s also some grass to dodge, but with the increased visibility that’s hardly even a challenge!

Needless to say, I enjoy my skis gliding along the soft spring snow – especially alongside my mum’s skis.

Our happy skis
Mum’s and my happy skis on the t-bar

This fine September weekend Mark, Mum, David and I stayed at Kahane lodge and got in as many turns as possible.

Smiling chair selfie
Smiling chair selfie

This weekend was particularly exciting because Mark decided to leave his snowboard on the rack and try some skis on his feet (I don’t think this has anything to do with my last blog…). This meant that for the first time we were four skiers!

Four sets of happiness
Four sets of happiness
Mark on skis for the first time
Mark on skis for the first time

I’m not sure if Mark is just super-talented or if snowboarding skills are transferable to skiing, but he was surprisingly good! On the first day Mark was having a go at parallel turns and by the second day he could competently ski a blue run – colour me impressed! I imagine he was able to progress so quickly because 1. he’s naturally good at things, and 2.  he knows how snow works, how edges turn and what it feels like to be on the mountain in a flow of other skiers and boarders.

Being super-considerate, Mark spent most of his time learning solo and let Mum, David and I get off the green runs and onto the black.

Most difficult! Most fun!
Most difficult? Most fun!
Style-plus
Style-plus on ‘Dogleg’ off Olympic.
David zooming
David zooming down Dogleg

Now, there’s one extra thing about spring skiing that brings a smile to my face – the crazies. By this I mean the people who see the sunshine and simultaneous feel the inspiration to ski without a shirt, in shorts, or best yet, in a teletubbie costume.  Note that I’m not praising the people skiing in onesies. I find these frustrating because they are not a substitute for a real costume and the people in them are often unnecessarily loud, but then again, I bet it is fun to ski around as a onesie-lion or giraffe.

We had a great laugh when, at the top of Guthega’s Freedom Chair, a group of teletubbies skied off and surrounded an unsuspecting David. This is particularly funny because  that little brother of mine had a childhood fear of fully costumed people (he didn’t like that you couldn’t see their eyes – fair enough). Although he’s 19 and much braver now, I bet a wall of teletubbies skiing toward him brought back some fear!

Skiing teletubbies
Skiing teletubbies

In case my love of spring skiing isn’t clear – here’s why:

Through June and July the snow is coming, in August people flood to the lifts and September brings the sun, the smiles and the teletubbies.

Great view atop Eyre
Great view atop Eyre
Perfect rest rock
Perfect rest rock on a perfect spring day

Skiing with a boarder

Some skiers would argue that boarders are their natural enemies – they push the snow off the runs, take forever to strap in, ride lifts sideways and often seem to have far more confidence than ability.

You won’t find me leading any charge to expel boarders from the mountain; I ski with a boarder.

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Me and Mark (my boarder)

My ideas about boarders are based on my observations of Mark, who has been boarding for about 9 years.

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Our gear chilling out on the roof racks together.

There are some challenges for a skiing-boarding duo:

  1. T-bars are not a boarder’s lift of choice.
  2. Boarders have to strap-in and unstrap, which can be time-consuming.
  3. Snow-boards do not traverse as well as skis.

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Good news everyone: these challenges can all be easily overcome!

  1. Although Mark doesn’t like t-bars, when we do ride them I get a hug – which is particularly great on cold days.

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    T-bar ride = one long hug
  2. I get a short break at the top and bottom of lifts as my boarder unstraps
    .

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    I have time to enjoy the view and snap a photo while Mark straps in.
  3. Skiers are blessed with both independent foot movement (for skating) and poles (for pushing). Skiers, be more generous and lend a boarder your poles for any traverses or particularly flat runs. It’s fun to ski without poles anyway.
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Mark using my poles on the traverse to Blue Cow.

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If the incline is too steep to push – they can walk in those comfortable shoes of theirs.

Of course some boarders are no fun to ski with, like some skiers are, and these people are probably not that much fun to be with off the mountain anyway!

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It’s the person strapped to the board that matters.

Breakfast and First Tracks? Stay on Snow!

Surely, any day tripper will say a good breakfast and first tracks is too much to ask for!

There’s no better way to enjoy the snow than staying in on-mountain accommodation. It means a 7am wake-up  allows you to be first on the mountain after a leisurely breakfast and the only traffic to contend with is the enthusiastic skiers at the bottom of the first lifts to open.

First light on the mountain
First light on the mountain

We stay at Kahane Lodge in Perisher, which is a Southern Alps Ski Club lodge. It’s a beautiful lodge full of warm and friendly people.  The resident managers cook delicious breakfasts and dinners and the views from the windows are beautiful.

View from our room at Kahane
View from our room at Kahane

Kahane  lodge sits opposite the Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth T-Bars, and (with the amount of snow we’ve had this year) they’re just a short ski over the creek away.

Of course, it’s a bonus if there’s perfect weather and a day on the mountain when you don’t have to drive home in the afternoon lets you ski a little bit harder.

My favourite times on the mountain are early morning and late afternoon – beautiful light and no lines. I like to chase the lifts as they open and run from them as they close.

Sun going down after a great last run on Mount P.
Sun going down after a great last run on Mount P.

Once the sun drops over the back of the mountain, the lifts close and temperature drops, it’s time for Après-ski a.k.a schnapps (butterscotch and apple from the Wild Brumby Distillery).

beaten by snow
The mountain beat me, but it was a good fight
Glass of schnapps on the balcony after a huge day on the mountain
Glass of schnapps on the balcony after a huge day on the mountain

The best part of staying on snow? Getting to do it again the very next day!

When a full day skiing isn’t enough

Night skiing is the answer.

Night skiing

 

 

Perisher offers night skiing on Tuesday and Saturday nights, and the few opportunities I have had to do it, it has been bad weather or I have been exhausted.

Last Saturday when I stayed on snow at Perisher, I had started skiing at 9am and had the last run on Mount P at 4:20pm. Needless to say, I was exhausted, but it had been such a great day that I didn’t want to stop. I left my smelly ski clothes on at the lodge and at 5:50pm I clicked my skis back on and sailed down to front valley.

I usually avoid Front Valley for the inherent danger of skiing through a swarm of beginners. I can avoid hitting them, but they make no promises not to hit me. Devoid of people and freshly groomed, front valley is actually a pretty fun slope.

I was first in line for the Village Eight Express when it opened at 6pm and made fresh tracks on my section of the corduroy mountain. I never realised how soft groomed snow could be before it has a chance to get crunchy in the early morning.

All in all, night skiing is great and I will certainly do it again next time the opportunity arises. It’s worth clicking the skis back on.

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.

 

So much snow

My first winter in Canberra has been characterised by one wonderful thing: snow. No it doesn’t snow in Canberra (well actually two weeks ago I did excitedly watch through the window at work as snow flakes fell and melted on the ground, but that’s not a common occurrence).

It does snow a lot just two and a half hours away in the oh-so-beautiful Snowy Mountains.

I’ll go back a little. I am a very keen skier. My parents had the generosity to put me on skis at the tender age of two and I would have kept the skis on since then if the obstacles of distance, money and time didn’t keep them off for most of the year.

When Mark (lovely fiancé and snowboarder) and I decided we were moving to Canberra, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get down to the snow as much as possible. We learnt of the value-for-money Perisher Freedom Pass and forked out the cash to get one each. It was about $750, and so if we skied seven days in the season, the pass would be worth it.

Well we’re nine weeks in to this fantastic season and we’ve skied 12 days. We haven’t missed a weekend and are perfecting the day trip from Canberra.

There is much to say about this season and our participation in it and I intend to top up this blog with posts like fresh flakes on a patchy cover.

In a nutshell: the season initially looked grim. In June, an article in The Conversation had me seriously worried that there would be no snow, which was upsetting because 1. I wanted to go skiing, 2. Mark and I had wasted $1500 between us and 3. Global warming is a serious problem! We went up anyway and dodged rocks and grass on the small amount of the mountain (namely, front valley) that was open.

View from the quad chair on 14 June
View from the quad chair on 14 June

On the mountain we heard a buzz that at big storm was coming, and it did. Monday brought “snowpocalypse“, which I wanted excitedly via social media. Although problem 3 (global warming) is still a huge issue, problems 1 and 2 were abolished my the mountains of snow. When we arrived at Perisher the next weekend, the mountain had been transformed.

View from the Perisher terminal on 21 June
View from the Perisher terminal on 21 June