Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Snow

During the winter of the very first year I spent here in Australia, the Handsome Australian insisted that we make a trip to "the snow". The what? The snow. My initial reaction to this suggestion was, "What? There is snow in Australia?" and secondly, "Where is this singular place where they keep 'the snow'?" I mean the way the Handsome one spoke about it, it seemed like there was only one place that had snow and that is why it was called, 'the snow'. Upon further questioning, the Handsome Australian couldn't really explain why 'the snow' was referred to in that manner other than the fact that there is really only one Alpine region in Australia and so if you want to see snow in this country, then you have to go to it. Australia's Alpine region lies in North East Victoria and crosses the border into Southeastern New South Wales. So it is indeed a region and not one singular mountain or hilltop covered in snow.

From what I can tell, snow is a big deal for the Australians. Or maybe I should say, a little bit of snow is a big deal for the Australians. The Handsome Australian did manage to convince me to make a trek to 'the snow' during my first year here. We went to Mount Hotham which is one of Australia's premier ski resorts. The weekend we went, there were heavy snowfalls and everyone on the bus on the way up the top of the mountain was buzzing with the knowledge that this was the best snowfall of the season. This resort was, in their words, awesome! And to have the fortune to be there on a weekend where there was plenty of fresh powder. A girl should be so lucky!!

Now, here's where I'll admit I'm not an avid skier. In fact as a sport, I can take it or leave it. I've had good times skiing, and I've had bad times. The good column probably equals the bad column. The point is though, that I've been skiing enough times in enough places, that I know a good ski resort when I see one. I was completely non-plussed when I saw Mt. Hotham in all it's glory that weekend. I remember thinking, "This is it? This is 'the snow'? Who are they kidding?" When I questioned the Handsome Australian about it, he said, "Look, it's not Vail, but it's three hours away from home and it's snow." So what I learned from this was Australians love their sport so much, that they are happy to ski on mountains (read: hills) that are covered (read: lightly dusted) in snow. They also don't seem to get bored with the same three runs over and over again. Good for them, I say. You gotta make the most of what you've got right?

Today we took our children to 'the snow'. We didn't go to Mt. Hotham again and we didn't go skiing. Instead, we went to Lake Mountain. It's a two hour drive from Melbourne and you can cross country ski there or you can go tubing or tobogganing. You can also build snow men, have snow ball fights, etc. It bills itself as "Melbourne's closest Alpine Resort". I'd say they use the word, "resort" very liberally here. Again, I was unimpressed with the size of the place--it simply pales in comparison to any resort I've been to in the USA, but our kids loved it. When you've never seen snow before, a little snow goes a long way!

Here is a picture of the Australian snow man constructed by the Handsome Australian and our brood. He's got Eucalyptus branches as his hair and Eucalyptus leaves for his eyes. He also has bark from the Eucalyptus trees as his nose. Have you ever seen such a thing?

This is what a snow covered Australian forest looks like--snow on the Eucalypts! Not a pine tree in sight!

So there you have it...the snow!


Annelise said...

Well...while "the snow" there leaves a lot to be desired I am sure that "the reef" kicks some serious arse!

suzinoz said...

Good point Annelise and good use of the word "arse". I can't believe you still haven't been to Australia. You'd fit right in!

Nathalie said...

Aah, powdery snow. Gotta love it. Bring on the Swiss Alps or the Rocky Mountains. But we make do with what we have.

Annelise said...

I want to visit...I need to make it happen! I must win lotto and make it a reality!

Claire said...

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Claire said...

Dear Suzi,

Claire ( again) ... Please accept my apologies!! Please do not take note of the previous comment/invitation I sent you ! I was so caught up reading your blog I missed the ExpatWomen Logo..

Looking forward to reading more about your experience in Oz!

All the best,

Scintilla said...

I saw my first snow in Australia at Mt. Donabuang (sp) and my second lot at Lake Mountain.
Having lived in Luxembourg for over twenty years now, I realise that it was just a smattering but it was still exciting.