Saturday, September 15, 2012

...Mt Hotham in August

I was born and lived for more than the first 20 years of my life in Western Australia. It really, very, very rarely snows there and never to the point that it is possible to ski or partake in other snow play activities. Interesting it has snowed twice that I am aware of in the broad area where I lived for the first 11 years of my life, once in November (well into spring, if not the beginning of summer in Australia) a few months after my family and I moved away and once, about 11 years later in about September when I happened to be back for a work training activity. I didn't see it on either occasion. And it well melted before 9am. So needless to say I haven't really lived or played in or around snow, ever. Sure, there was a September trip to New Zealand as a teenager with a 30 minute play in some icy snow on the top of a glacier but we weren't even there long enough to really need jackets.

N, on the other hand, was born and lived the first half of his life in a European country. His parents have a holiday house in the countryside inhabitable in winter, it is apparently hardly accessible and the pipes need to be cleared of water so the water doesn't freeze in them and cause cracking. He skied regularly since he was old enough to stand up on skis.

When he moved to Australia skiing was hardly as possible and I think he missed it. So when I moved to Sydney a trip to the Australian ski field was high on his list of things he wanted us to do. I was game. I mean, how hard could siding down the side of a hill be? Small children do it without the pole things.

Let me tell you this first trip was not an auspiciousness start to my snow sport experiences. 

We went for the day. Climbing on a bus with another friend at about 5:30am. As we wound our way south I was full of confidence. We collected our skis and boots and donned the rest of out gear and headed for the slopes. I should have realised there might be an issue when I couldn't seem to carry my skis effortlessly over my shoulders like everyone else seemed to be able to. 

N was chomping at the bit to make up for years of lost ski experience in the few hours we had. I gave me the fundamentals of 'go' and 'stop' and pointed me in the direction of the bunny slope.

What seemed like hours later he was back. I had fallen, stumbled and slid to the bottom of the slope and struggled my way to the top again by a rope pull that my hands kept sliding down. N decided I was ready for the green slope. I wasn't so sure.

In the first 15 minutes I fell more times that I can remember and travelled abut 20 meters. There was shouting, almost tears and very, very little skiing.

I took my skis off and walked to the bottom. Then there was new challenge. The way back to the top (and the train and the way home) was a T-Bar and I still couldn't stay up or another slope that I had no more chance of skiing down that the one I had just walked to the bottom of. I chose the T-Bar.

I fell off. Into a drift of snow there was not way I could climb out of with any dignity and I could'nt get back on the lift.

N went to get the ski patrol. The guy was lovely and helped me back on the T-Bar and I made it to the top - that still amazes me. N went to ski and I want for lunch. If there was a stiff drink option I would have taken it.

Clearly we would not be tackling runs together that day. I doubted we ever would. The day did get a little better - I had another go at the bunny run and could make my way down it without falling and at more than walking speed by the end of the afternoon.

I have not had the urge to strap on skis since then.

A year or two later we took a villa for a week at another ski resort with a couple of friends. I quilted and made the meals. I took some walks and went nowhere near a ski run. It was great.

This year when we went for the weekend I decided that it was time to get out in the snow again. I still wasn't keen on the idea of trying to slide down the side of a hill again so I hired some snow shoes. 

There is no falling and the views are great! 

I am thinking that in future years and trips I might try again with skis, but this time some cross country ones. 


Michelle C said...

This story sounds remarkably similar to my first experience skiing...12 years old, bunny hill all day, haven't touched skis since. I hate winter, but don't pass that around. Canadian are supposed to be all over winter, right? Get me to a beach or a quilt retreat.

Anonymous said...

Hahaaha Kristy, my Dad used to drag us to the snow, he zipped around, mum slept in bed, she hated it. We used to see who could go the bluest by standing outside with our undies on.
If we were meant to ski, we would have been born with feet six feet long!!!
Lorraine xxx