29 September 2015

New Blue

At the start of the month Michael and I took a 4 day trip from Sydney down to the snow. We weren't sure whether it would be snowy or slushy because September marks the start of off-peak season but we sure had all our fingers and toes crossed.

We didn't leave our house until about 11am on the Saturday and ambled steadily out of Sydney via the western suburbs on the Hume Motorway (M31). Just after Goulburn is a left merge onto the Federal Highway (A23) which always has me paranoid because the turnoff is more like a subtle left lane merge with one signage that doesn't leave for much reaction time. (I've never actually missed the turn off so it's not as dramatic as it sounds but I always think I have. Every. Single. Time.)

So we arrived in Canberra at 2pm for lunch, swapped drivers and made our way south out of the ACT via the B23 Monaro Highway all the way to Cooma. It got quite dark around 4 in the evening so when we finally arrived in Cooma 1.5 hours later it was pitch black outside and freezing. And so, like your everyday unsuspecting tourists we paid $20 each for weird tasting pad see ew and checked into our motel for the night.

6:30am wake ups meant that we were driving out of Cooma at 7:30 the next morning just so we could make the most out of our lift passes. The drive from Cooma to Jindabyne takes approximately 45 minutes on a highly patrolled road so please take extra care if you're driving. Once you get into Jindabyne you can get to Thredbo in around half an hour depending on the weather. 

We were lucky enough to stay in a little cabin overlooking Lake Jindabyne and I would have loved a little more time enjoying the view with a mug of tea but instead we decided to subject ourselves to an activity known as "collect lots of bruises on your ass" (snowboarding). Here's a step by step guide to how you can do it too. 

1. Turn left on Alpine Way and enter Kosciuszko National Park (fee at entrance).
2. Enter Thredbo Village in 32 kilometres, park your car and remember where you parked it.
3. Buy/pick up your lift passes.* 
The closest place to the public car parks to do this is right in front of Friday Flat. 
4. Pick up your snow gear rentals at Thredbo Sports either at Friday Flat or Valley Terminal.
5.  Approach snow based activities without fear.
6. Watch little kids shred you on the slopes.

*You save quite a bit of money if you buy your Thredbo Lift Passes online at least a week in advance 

There was a storm on the second day and we were worried about driving into the national park that morning because it had started raining quite heavily. But as we got closer to the mountains the temperature had dropped so much that by the time we stepped out of the car the rain had turned into a million little white crystals falling from the sky. I was later told that it was not really snow but "frozen rain" but until I see otherwise that was one of the prettiest things I've ever seen.

And snowboarding ended up being so much fun. Despite all the falling over and leg muscles screaming fatigue there were plenty of hi5s and laughs. Especially when we started chasing each other down the mountain with snowballs to the face I miraculously learnt how to snowboard really well. This was probably also contributed to the fact that Michael was such a good snowboard teacher that he didn't try to stuff snow down my shirt until after I could stand up on my own. I was laughing so much for a moment there I felt like a child again. 

At the start of the trip I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this frozen version of nature that I'm normally used to. But this new blue play land already has me dreaming of New Zealand/Japan/Canada.