After the snowfall of Thursday and Friday I was definitely keen to check out the newly-whitened hill and see what had been covered. Due to some poor luck with the previous snowfalls there was virtually zero natural snow for the fortnight prior and skiing was on an expertly-maintained strip of man made snow on Bourke St. So 30cm of fresh snow augmented by snowmaking in the cold temperatures were definitely welcomed.
Arrival on Friday night was a chilly affair with the snowguns blaring on Bourke St:
We woke up to a lovely vista from our bedroom window on Saturday morning:
Saturday morning was cold & snow showers persisted for much of the day, with the snowguns on until around lunchtime capitalising on the temperature. Little Buller Spur was in good condition as was Wombat, but we got the tip from ‘Safety Sam’ who is head of Ski Patrol that there were some freshies to be had on skier’s right of the Summit, so we headed up there and were not disappointed.
After lunch we were keen to do some exploring around the mountain on our touring gear to see how various areas were looking so we switched over and headed back to the Summit. Summit slide was an amusing affair, the first few turns were nice but about halfway down it became quite hollow, so it was time to put the skins on and get out of there:
We climbed diagonally across the Boggy Creek area, and climbed up to Tirol to use some of the $200 loaded on our Season Passes, and then decided to check out Burnt Hut Spur. At that point unfortunately the dreaded Westerly had kicked in which led to freezing but wet conditions as only Buller can deliver, but we were well dressed for the conditions so decided to persist. It meant the skiing down was ‘wet freshies’ but still more fun than countless laps of Little Buller.
Skinning out was a pretty basic affair, straight up a snowmobile track and only took 15 minutes – by that stage we were pretty soaked and headed home. Burnt Hut is hardly an exciting affair but it was nice to get out & about and also get some exercise for the afternoon. I reckon Summit Slide needs a good 30cm to get ready, but Burnt Hut probably only needs 10-15cm more, or some solid nights of snowmaking. I know they will be dead keen to get the new lift up & running.
After a lovely dinner at Grimus we weren’t keen to head out in the morning drizzle and when we finally did it was pretty miserable so we made a beeline for the safe haven of Koflers
We were pleasantly surprised when we went out again, the visibility had improved, the snow had softened and the crowds were starting to disperse as is usual on a Sunday afternoon, and we had a number of great laps on Little Buller Spur and Wombat. The snow was nice & soft but not too bumpy, perfect for me to figure out how my gimped-out knee is going to cope this year. I was skiing with my physio’s brother & mother, something tells me I’m going to be using her services quite a bit this year.
We also checked out Family Run – cover was pretty good and we also got to Howqua which opened earlier today and has brand new chairs. Mixed feelings on the new safety bar arrangement – they have a spring loaded flap that pushes down on your thighs which is designed to keep children safe on the chair. Naturally this will make parents feel more comfortable, but I personally find safety bars themselves claustrophobic, even more so when they have footrests and I think the new child-flaps further impinge on personal space. Guess I’ll just ride it with the bar up when I can. The good news is that the padding is excellent – far more comfortable than before, and also the seat position is far more upright, I was never a fan of the ‘reclined’ position of the previous chairs.
I need to give my most profound thanks to aussieskier.com readers for really embracing the #aussieskier / Instagram pictures over the weekend – literally dozens of photos were tagged this weekend to appear on aussieskier.com/social and also facebook.com/aussieskierblog.
As you can see I’ve taken a few photos this weekend with the Viddy app and would love to see more of that action from aussieskier.com readers. I’m in discussions with a ski brand to have a prize pack for the best Viddy video during the School Holidays – stay tuned for more details.
I will have a bit of a slide tomorrow morning – may not write a full blog, perhaps just Instagrams and in the afternoon I will be attending the Draft Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan 2012 Workshop & will report back from that. Details are at: http://www.arcc.vic.gov.au/draftARSP2012.htm