Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Hotham 27 June

After the most recent storm, the hills around H are primo. A little rain on Sunday has frozen a good half meter snowpack that can only be built upon with the next front. Everywhere except Blue Ribbon is ready to go as soon as management deems it profitable.
I raced up after the kids bath time last night and was planning a bivvy out on the Razorback, however everything was ice, and ended up sleeping in the car.
Was glad to have packed the carvers. Imagine and most of HV was good with areas of spindrift providing some nice plumes up high.
Orographic clouds came in mid afternoon so I drove down and west to drop off the road into a north facing chute that I'd noticed hiking a couple of years back. It wasn't really that skiable but I persevered all the way down to the Diamantina. Climbed back up to Big Hill, and then launched back down a nicely corned up gully. Then another slog back up to the road and home. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Opening Weekend Hotham June 9-11 2012

Took the family to Hotham for the long weekend. We got a babysitter Sunday afternoon and skinned the 3 odd clicks out to Loch with Morry. I'd managed to entice the Frog out there with the promise of bubbly, and she did well (minimal whinging) despite a heavy alpine rig with Trekkers. Popped the cork at the Loch cairn and got nice and tipsy before dropping off behind Loch where we found a barely covered slope for our first linked turns for the Oz winter. Found another NW facing slope on the way back for a few more. Although it was an unusual system from the SE last week, it has left a concrete base above 1700m to build on. There was nobody else out there, and we were treated to amazing light in snow flurries on the return leg.Predictably enough, the kids all got sick Sunday night so I was up for an early start on Monday. Couldn't rouse Morry, so headed off alone by head torch. The stars were out and the snow-guns all firing on Heavenly. After getting out to Loch without skins yesterday, the pattern bases were now useless on boilerplate. Got to Loch by dawn, and then then out past Machinery and Red Robin all the way to the very end of the Spur for first light on Feathertop. The icy ski down the fire trail to Red Robin was lethal, but very scenic. The gentle bowls just after the Red Robin header held some good snow, but they needed sun and I had to get back in time for a 9 a.m. breakfast rendezvous with the kids, so turned around and headed back. Taking my skins off back at the top of Loch I found a credit card sandwiched to one of them. A lucky save, it must have fallen out of my pocket when I took out the camera!
After a few years spent fawning over Dynafit, it felt weird to be back on Diamir. Whilst they feel clunky and elevated (like being on platforms!) and are obviously heavier and less elegant than Dynafit, I like them. They feel more robust than Dynafit ever can, and one has a better centre of gravity over the ski. But best of all is the transitions, which are now virtually eliminated: lock or unlock your heal on the move, so the frigging-around-ometer is now approaching zero. Also trying out Scarpa Rush to replace Dynafit TLT carbon boots which kept on fracturing. Very comfy. Anyway the highlight of the weekend was my 2 year old dragging his skis into the kitchen for breakfast the morning after his first ever day skiing. He can't talk yet but his intentions are encouraging.
Kids and good light make for far too many pix!

 Balti on the Summit
 Crossing the Rubicon
 Towards Cobungra wilderness
 Marie-Laure Mt Loch
 Clouds over Buffalo
 NE bowls Loch
 Down to Dibbins
 Sunset over the Razorback

 Heavenly Valley snow cannons at 0500
 Dawn Feathertop

First light FT
Sunrise 0730

Avalanche Gully

The new rig

The Red Robin Bowls, with steeper Chutes in distance
BHPs towards Nelse
The credit card fell out of my pocket hitched a ride
Wombat patrol
Balti and Lucie
Lucie bandit
Skiing down to the Diamantina
 First tour for the season!