After my sneaky day trip on Thursday it was good to get back up again for the weekend with the good weather forecast.
We started early and headed straight to Little Buller for some hot laps before the hordes turned up. Ski Patrol had a massive presence on speed control which was good to see. But I’m sure I had a better time than my patrol mates who were standing at the bottom of LBS watching us lap past. The snow was fast & firm and we had a ball.
There were some lift surprises, Shakey Knees opened which I did not expect, but when the time came to open Southside, patrol decided there was not enough snow. The lift was de-iced and ready to turn, and I found the whole situation curious considering there had been no natural snow since last weekend, so it would have been no better yesterday than on Monday, so if it was going to be opened logic would suggest that this decision would have been made back then.
Once the crowds turned up we shifted our attention to the Summit, enjoying carving turns on the groomed side but also skiing on the skier’s right in the off-piste area. There were some absolute sheet ice sections to keep your on your toes, but also some nice soft snow where the crust had been busted off by previous skiers. But the best runs were on the groomed side from Summit to Howqua. The lines were never that bad, however we didn’t go to Wombat in the peak hours – I tend to blame myself if I wait in a line as they are generally easily avoidable.
We then dropped in to Black Mountain Sports at the Village to test some skis – big thanks to Dave who got us set up with a number of skis over the course of the weekend & keep an eye out for the Gear section on this site as I get the reviews online this week.
By the time we made it across to Shakey Knees it was a slush fest – when the mountain is in half operation once I’m up the mountain I’m usually reluctant to head down as it means heading back to Holden chair (dishonourable mention to the lifties, more on that later) – so no complaints as if we wanted to ski in firmer snow we should have been there earlier. But the cover is good and it’s great that the lift has been fixed and is up & running again. Burnt Hut was less slushy due to a different aspect and we did a couple of laps there as well testing the skis.
Overall it was a fantastic day, we caught up with many friends and skied from 9 – 4:30, and followed this up with a few too many drinks at the Apres bar. But when it came time to leave we were thrilled to see night skiing up & running, meaning we could ski home.
Of course when we had that flash of brilliance we forgot that we would be skiing down ‘Fishbowl Alley’ in pitch darkness, but fortunately it was a clear night and once our eyes adjusted we made it home with little issues.
As was forecast, the wind picked up on Saturday night and we had an ordinary sleep due to our bedroom window having a northerly aspect and the gale was oppressive. So Sunday morning was not a particularly early affair, but we made it out in reasonable time, the skiing was similar to yesterday but with a cool wind for the first part of the day.
The top of Little Buller was fantastic but unfortunately there was a race on the lower left section which meant the skier’s access got scraped back to a veritable skating rink. So again Summit was the pick, but the cool breeze also slowed the softening of Shakey Knees and Burnt Hut so they were less slushy than yesterday. Unfortunately my sister in law had a crash on Summit with a suspected ACL tear, so I will be up here for the next few days to look after my niece & nephew while she recuperates.
The other negative note were the complete shitfights that were the lift queues – the weekend crowds were solid but nothing like what you may see in August with full cover, but the organisation was a schemozzle. Holden chair was the worst offender – a line that would have been totally unnecessary if skiers were organised better in to groups of six and ensuring these say together to make it on to the chair together.. One particular occasion this afternoon Mrs aussieskier saw fit to pass on some pointed advice to some stunned-mullet looking lifties. Another long time instructor remarked to me on the weekend that the ‘lines are becoming like Europe’. Fortunately we are Europe veterans and play that game well.
That said, it shouldn’t all be up to the lifties, skiers should be proactive in putting bums on seats as well, so maybe when you ski next use some initiative with your fellow skiers to maximise skiers per chair and get everyone up the hill quicker.
I also heard some more horror stories about picking up lift tickets and loading them online but for me the system is working perfectly so no need to dwell on that.
It would seem that all the major resorts enjoyed blue sky conditions for the weekend thanks to the Instagrams hashtagged with #aussieskier that arrived on aussieskier.com/social and also our Facebook Page. Many thanks to all who uploaded this weekend, you’re awesome, and I hope our viewers enjoyed seeing them.
Some weather is coming in this week but unfortunately it is marginal to say the least. Due to the snow levels it would seem as of tonight that it could be a washout for all of Vic with only the higher NSW slopes receiving snow.
Unfortunately it’s going to be one of those weeks where those who only glance at the forecasts & see what they want to see respond with the usual ‘OMG SNOWFLAKE ICON’ even though the temps are all above zero and anyone with common sense could tell you it’s going to piss with rain.
Either way I will be here for the next couple of days & will give the low down on what’s happening.