BLOG Taking the Piste – Don’t Call the Season Yet

July 13th, 2010

Taking the Piste – Rachael Oakes-Ash

Powder perfect days at Thredbo must be just around the corner. Image:: Thredbo

Taking the Piste | Rachael Oakes-Ash

It is considered poor form to talk about the season before it’s finished. Mention ‘snow drought’ and prepare to be booed off the stage and out of the National Park as fast as the snow guns cover your tracks on the Super Trail.

I’m not going to get into the whole global warming debate, at least not in this week’s column, but I am going to come right out and say it. Where is the snow?

My hat goes off to the resort management teams of the Aussie resorts this season, simply for their efforts to provide enough snow in July for a peak school holiday season. Okay, okay, it’s only mid July and everyone knows the last week of July is traditionally the best but with such erratic snow patterns in the past few years it’s safer to say that October could deliver the most snow, only the chairlifts won’t be running.

Sure, I’ve got mates who’ve been talking up the on piste conditions and I don’t doubt they are good. With the millions of dollars of snow making investment by Aussie ski fields they’d want to be. Yes, you can ski Thredbo’s Super Trail, yes Perisher have done a mammoth effort, yes if you were a beginner, an intermediate or a ski racer you’d be loving what’s on offer.

I’m not going to paint on a smile and pretend all is well. I’m ready to stamp my foot, throw a tantrum and start crying for my mummy so I’ll say it again. Where’s the snow?

One simple three day snow storm would do the trick. The backcountry trails, the off piste terrain and the free skiers and riders are just begging for it. Secretly I suspect the resort management teams are also crossing every fingers and will soon be sacrificing their first born to the snow gods if something doesn’t arrive soon. If Tim Bailey still had a pony tail we could sacrifice that.
Oh I know I’m being a pessimist and no one likes a downer. But winter has already dealt one hell of a blow when Marian got booted out of Masterchef and we just can’t take a dry season as well.

Marketers can spin it all they want, they can pepper Facebook and Twitter with talk of glorious blue sky weather and cold crisp mornings but all we really want is the truth. I’m not coming to the snow to stare at a blue sky from a grassy slope.

Lord knows the Bledisloe Cup rugby, the nationality of Phar Lap and the origins of pavlova create enough competition across the ditch. Do we have to put up with ‘them’ having more snow than ‘us’ on the ground?

Snow is a teasing minx. One year smothering us with his love, the next refusing to call. I have a sneaky suspicion he’s waiting in the wings for his moment. Commitaphobe is just another word for power tripper and snow can be both.
It is too early to call the season. That I do know. Like the Bledisloe, we’ve all seen it won or lost in the last ten minutes of the game.

Last year I spent a week in torrential rain and gale force winds negotiating blue ice on the slopes of Canterbury in New Zealand only to be skiing calf deep powder a week later. If I was a betting woman I’d say those who ski the man made in Victoria and New South Wales today will be skiing Mother Nature’s white goods come the end of July, and not just because I’m going to the Aussie ‘alps’ that week.

Though feel free to send me your first borns, if there’s no sign of storms by August I know exactly what to do with them.

It was a record week of snowmaking that created the School Holiday snow, read about it here

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