This was a foreign concept for me until arriving in Australia. You don’t “go to the snow” in Canada. The snow comes to you. And effectively traps you, and for far too many months. Without fail, however, if you ask a native Australian about this concept, more often than not their eyes will light up and they will tell you about the time (yes, often singular) that they went to the snow.
So in the spirit of experience, and with more excitement building than I expected to have felt, we planned the snow into our weekend. This was preceded by a trip to Canberra – Saturday morning on the train for me as I worked Friday night, Friday evening in cars for the rest of the crew. Kiwi and a good friend of ours, Skye, had competed in an adventure race in Sydney a few weeks ago. It involved running, mountain biking, and kayaking, among other joys. Due in a large part to Skye’s strength as a runner and KIwi’s ability on a bike combined with his unfailing competitiveness, they smashed most of the competition and came 2nd in their category, with little-to-no training beforehand. Bolstered by this success, they signed up for another race, this time in Canberra, the nation’s capital. Essentially the same amount of training went into this one, and after facing a course that turned out to be about twice as hard as the previous, two smiling, exhausted faces still crossed the finish line after over six hours of racing. Another duo of our friends entered the race as well (with even less preparation – I think they signed up on Tuesday), and were a little less successful. They unfortunately left their tracking device at one of the checkpoints and were subsequently disqualified.
We followed race day with race day evening, most notably involving a 5+ kilo cut of pork that started out as a spit roast, caught some very impressive fire, ended up being roasted in the oven, and came out delicious. Next stop, snow!
We had an early start to continue our drive south to the snow. Upon finally climbing high enough and far enough to see more than the occasional patch on the ground, I began having a rather strong reaction to seeing snow again, something I had planned to avoid for several years. This feeling was mostly aversion, and I found I was comforted immensely by the knowledge that a quick u-turn and a 20 minute drive or so would put me clean out of its reach. Getting back on a snowboard was interesting. It’s been at least two years since I jumped on one, and that was in Saskatchewan with such brutal conditions that 80% of the day was spent huddling inside warming up. The most time I spent on a snowboard was probably when I was 14 or 15, and you lose a lot in 8 or 9 years of not doing a sport. I was a bit rusty, but had a blast nevertheless. Most Canadians would not consider an Australian snow hill anything to rave about, but having grown up in the prairies, Mount Perisher and the surrounding resorts were bigger, better, more challenging, and generally had better snow than what I am used to scraping my board across. This still does not justify the 115 AUD they charge you for a one-day lift pass. Australia is apparently one of the most expensive places in the world to ride, and you really don’t get the value for your money. A day at Whistler will run you 96 dollars, and Vail, Colorado (the most expensive resort in North America) still comes in at only $105.
The following day I sat in bed nursing the early symptoms of a cold and trying to avoid moving my aching muscles, many of which I forgot that I had, all the while relishing the feeling of the previous day. It may not be the worst thing to end up doing a season in the mountains at some point. We’ll see. In other exciting news, this was also a week of booking plane tickets. My family has official dates for their visit Down Under, and Kiwi and I have booked one-way flights from Auckland to Mexico City. We leave on December 28th, and will have just enough time to get ourselves to a coast to ring in the New Year.