I get tummy wobbles and go a bit gooey when I see a weather map like the one below. I'm no meteo, but I do know that the more barbed-wire the better: it will snow lots, and in strange places. Like Queensland.
I was also excited because I'd previously organised a leave pass and long weekend with mates.
It was VERY cold when we arrived on Wednesday night, and the snow was crisp, dry and plentiful.
Mauritzio needed a hair drier to get warm - I guess he's more the tropical type.
Next morning (after a generous breaky courtesy of Mau) I headed up the hill to catch up with Scotty#1 and Scotty#2. The weather was too wild to head out of bounds so we stuck inbounds and found good snow. Scotty #2 is a tele-guru and a great inspiration for a tele-hack like me. He also owns a brewery, so well met for me. I can offer little in return. When we got home I skied down to Carmichael Falls. It was puking, but still very beautiful.
On Friday Scotty#1 and I yanked Mauritzio (kicking and screaming) on skins from Heavenly for the long haul to One-Tree. The howling south-easterly made things difficult, but Mau did well for his first time ever ski-touring, and we scored first tracks for the year down One-Tree in pretty primo conditions.
Mau and I had Japaneasy for dinner, and the next morning I awoke to discover that Dinner Plain had been transported to Hokkaido. Blue sky with the driest of snow in all sorts of improbable sculptural shapes. I stayed with Mau for as long as possible before the mountains got the better of me. They wanted to show off their glory and have their way with me, so who was I to resist?
I also needed to sweat.
I whipped out to the summit of Loch, which was still under cloud. The hectic southeasterly had blasted every normally favourable aspect into unsavoury rime. I skied the west gully off Loch which is steep, but which was a bit crusty and hollow (which gave me the creeps).
Last year Moz and I found some favourable north-west glades off Loch that work when the wind has come from Gippsland. They're hard to find, but they're powder goldmines and they didn't let me down. The snow gums were like the snow monsters of Zao, and everything was very Zen-garden, with 300 metres of vert in ankle deep pow. I climbed back up to Machinery to catch a glimpse of Feather: everything with any east was unskiable, but with a decent base, and so I dropped back down into the same Glades of Glory. I then headed over past Orchard and had another line down One-Tree environs and then headed back in-bounds for some more tele practice which led to some very fine Zen-like moments (amongst many more of pain and embarrassment).
Moz and Zoe arrived on Saturday arvo with Jasper, the first time I'd seen him since his birthday a few weeks back. We also had Kate and co around for a head-wetting.
On Sunday I got up at dawn and skied down to Room-With-a-View to watch the sunrise on Feathertop. The wind had died and the morning was certainly the most beautiful I have ever experienced in the Vic Alps. Whilst climbing up to Dead Timber Hill I found the secret spot that I've been searching for on various runs which grants views of the Main Range: whilst long presuming it likely, I'd never actually found the spot. Anyway, I suspect that because the air was so cold, it was a little underwhelming. Kosi seemed very small and very far away. Home via JB.
Later that morning Moz and I hooked up with Charlie for some very fine powder on Women's Downhill. We had three good descents (and climbs) in exceptional snow before Morry ended up with a wardrobe malfunction (Dynafit explosion and skins not sticking because of dry snow). It was just as well because otherwise I would have kept climbing and skiing until my kidneys melted and my legs were beyond salvageable. A Dynafit intervention to save me from myself.
It was encouraging to see lots of lines in the slack country, and we were extremely grateful to everyone who'd spared the best aspects for us.
A great (late) start to the season.
Wobbly camera has placed photos randomly.