Top to Bottom at Thredbo
When there are predictions of 70 cm snow fall over night, followed up by another 50 odd centimetres the next day, in Australia, I start to sit up and take notice. That is northern hemisphere type precipitation and most unusual for Winter Down Under. Often at this time of year in Aus, it is just grass with dribbles of man made snow beating a path from the top of the mountain to the bottom, if you are lucky. In my 40 plus years experience, of skiing in Australia, the good natural snow usually comes in the last week of July, or first week in August and if it hasn't come by then, it's not coming. However, things were looking very very different this year.
Do you remember 1981? I recall catching Ramshead chairlift through a snow cave at middle station and the liftie literally laugh crying as he dug, that he was "Never going to get out of the here". It was fabulous and then in 1982, there was absolutely no snow and we cancelled and went to Surfers Paradise instead. Well with some serious low pressure systems still beating down on southern Australia, 2014 is shaping up as another 1981. Here's hoping anyway.
Before I booked, I was following all the NSW and Victorian resorts' websites all day and I could stand it no longer. I got on wotif, found some reasonable on snow accommodation for 5 nights, pressed the 'Buy Now' button and we were away. The room was described as 'Budget', which meant it was a dog box with a share bathroom, free wifi and a full cooked breakfast, but under these snow conditions it's amazing how happily I reverted back to my ski bum days of old. If the snow was going to be good, who cares what the accommodation is like, was how I was thinking.
With conditions this good, it was time to get the snow chains out. This year with the odds being high that I would actually have to fit them, I decided to see if I could do so by myself. Mr Beach House had to work and would not be joining us on this adventure. I got them on by myself, but it had been several cars since we had used them and clearly they didn't fit. That bit was easily fixed by hiring some that did in Cooma, but I sweated on the concept of having to fit them alone in blizzard conditions, half way up the mountain whilst in charge of my inquisitive 11 year old son at the same time. I have always been a lucky person and although chains had to be used by other skiers all of Saturday and Sunday morning, we arrived on Sunday afternoon and got through chain free. Although it was still snowing, the road had been cleared by then........ Phew. Getting into our car space was less easy and the lovely lodge guy where we were staying, spent an hour digging us in, whilst I unloaded the luggage in a tricky double parked manoeuvre, scrambling over snow drifts in inappropriate shoes. I didn't care. I was there and it felt good.
The Beach House Brat ran off to play in all the snow as soon as we arrived, without helping. I told him in no uncertain terms, that would not be happening when we had to cart all the stuff back up the hill upon leaving.
Before we left Sydney, I also tried on my mum's vintage European apres boots from the 70's. I used to hate these as a kid, but it's amazing how handy they were in a very slippery Thredbo for the week. I was thankful I had resolved to toss them in the car at the last minute.
This was what we arrived to on Sunday afternoon.
This is what we woke up to on Monday morning. With a big high pressure system sitting across most of Australia, the beautiful weather continued. What was delivered for the week was 4 beautiful blue bird days, with fabulous snow and sunshine.
This is just a taste of the shots I took.
Note the steri strips on my forehead. Next up!!!!! How I got those, plus a whole lot more.
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