This post was inspired by a friend’s recent ‘Snow-misadventure…’
Back in the 1980’s, I was part of a 18-35years Church Social Group and one of adventures was to the Snowy Mountains in southern NSW, Australia. It was one of those hurried 3 day weekend trips that saw me (briefly) on Ski’s but mostly on a Toboggan, which (for me) at the time was a lot more fun, that is until a had a slight ‘run-in’ with a creek. That was my first time in the Snow. I was satisfied with that. Visit to the Snow ticked off the list.
The very next year (1984) I was invited back to the Snowy Mountains by a small group of school friends who were planning to go for a whole week. Sounded fun so I agreed.
We stayed at Jindabyne and travelled to the ski fields from there. Jindabyne is basically the closest town to the ski fields but is not actually in them.
The previous year I had an hour ski lesson but I thought it was prudent to have another, and so I did, only this time it was snowing fairly heavily and to this day I wonder if I perhaps missed some ‘key technical points’ that would have helped immensely later on?
Most of my friends had Skied before and one friend in particular, David was a bit more experienced but he decided to hang back with me whilst I was endeavouring to ‘glide’ down the run called the ‘Pretty Valley Triple’ at Perisher Valley.
Needless to say that after a short time, I thanked David for staying with me but said that he would probably have more fun if he went on and left me to my own devices as I didn’t want him to get bored…
Off he glided down the hill…
Thinking back to the Ski lesson, I remember the lessons on how to ’Snowplough’ (or stop) & they taught us about weight control/which way to lean if we wanted change direction. It seemed fairly easy where we did the lesson. It was relatively flat ground.
Thinking back, I would have weighed about 55Kg and was 185cm tall so I didn’t have a lot of weight to throw around.
When you fall skiing it’s not as soft a landing as would think and in my first journey down the Pretty Valley Triple run I fell seventeen times. What would you do?
I went back up to try again. This time I only fell seven times, an obvious improvement, though the 24 clashes with Mother Earth had left me bruised and battered. Somehow though, I had managed to miss every tree.
My mistake that day wasn’t that I had fallen 24 times attempting to ski, it was the fact that I made the decision to return my gear to the ski hire place and go to the local bar for three beers (muscle relaxant). I haven’t skied since….
On pondering why I stopped, I remembered I hated the icy weather, the ski boots – I found them painful to wear around the ankle section of the leg, much of me was sore & I was skiing on my own. Given that and the ‘person I was as a 21 year old’ I can see why I gave in.
It is easy to look back and say ‘I would have done it differently’ but I can honestly say that if I was the person I am now, I would have gone back up and maybe only fell 3 times and so on… That’s not to say that I would be down the Snowy Mountains skiing every year, but it would be fun to have the option…
My wife, Susan has mentioned ‘going to the Snow’ a few times over the years as he has skied before. At 53, I wonder if the time for skiing has passed?
I would still like to go back to the Snow but this time it probably would be a photographic expedition, but you know what they say…’never say never….’
Written by David Johnson
23 July 2016