All Hail The Snow Virgin

Posted on August 28, 2009

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A special moment in my life...and I'm glad Michele was there with me.

A special moment in my life...and I'm glad Michele was there with me.

Hello. I hope you have all been well.

Last weekend Michele and I, along with close friends and our new roomie embarked on an early morning road trip. The plan was to spend a day out in the snow, but really it was all about my desire to see snow. You see, until a week ago, I’ve never seen real snow in my life.

Three-and-a-half hours east of Melbourne sits Mount Buller, one of Australia’s premier ski destinations. None of us in the rented Tarago had any impressions of heading to Buller to ski, as between the seven of us we’d probably do good keeping our bottoms dry from the snow! I might be only one who hasn’t earned his Snow Stripes, but I’m in good company as the other six probably dusted off their stripes with much difficulty. Just as well!

Put it bluntly, Buller wasn’t our initial destination. As snow newbies, we were more than happy to play in the snow like little kids coked up on lollies and laughing without inhibitions or judgements. Had the Snow God smiled down on us, we’d have saved two hours of driving and headed to Lake Mountain instead. However, a peek at the Lake Mountain webcam indicated lush green fields (well, almost) and blooming fauna. Ideal for your spring/summer hiking trip, but not favourable if you want to see snow.

Like little tots meandering their way around a sandpit, we spent the day doing what any snow newbie would do – the obligatory snowman, snow fights and the Snow Angel. We even rented toboggans and threw ourselves off gentle slopes and jockeyed for space with other adults and their toddler kids. If we had an average age of 29 between the seven of us, we were nine on the toboggan slopes. So much for all in a day’s work!

Painfully aware of the exorbitant cost of food in the snow, we ate pre-packed sandwiches made with TLC from home the day before. Every trip to a resort comes with hidden costs, but charging visitors $16 for a fruit juice is plainly an insult to our intelligence.

Little snow devils. You make me look like a fool.

Little snow devils. You make me look like a fool.

Unfortunately, the Snow God was playing tricks with us again, and decided not to blow snow that day. There was however, evidence of snow having fallen the day before. That was all I needed. Snow or not, it was still a challenge trying to keep warm as the sphincter-clenching winds blowing at altitude.

I found myself wiping the drool off my chin as I watched kids no more than twelve zip off the slopes on their snowboards or skis with aggression. At my age, I’d probably do well just to stay on my feet, but the future of Australia’s alpine sports tackled the snow with absolutely no fear. Glad to know families are starting their children young; these kids have been primed for many seasons and will grow up with snow in their blood. I can see them rinsing and repeating the cycle with their children. I’m cool with that, as they’ll stick to their oval balls played with hands while having the cheek to call it ‘football’, and be content watching paint dry while the real ‘football’ evolves around them globally. Sorry, I couldn’t resist a sly one :O

At the end of the day, as the drivers took turn hauling our tired souls back to Melbourne as the rest nodded off in the car, I looked out the window and reflected on what seeing snow meant to me. My whole life, I had wanted to see snow. Growing up in a tropical country with limited resources and governing meant my outlook in life was bleak. If someone had told me ten years ago that I’ll be frolicking in the snow at my age with the company of a beautiful, newly-wedded wife, a friend whom I’ve known for almost half my life and people who have set up shop for me to settle down in a new country, I’d have told him “You’re having a laugh.”

To see the snow was truly a magical experience, and I’ll definitely return to see it. Next time, it’ll be falling into my hands and perhaps we’ll stay a couple of nights at the resort. There are several world class snow resorts dotted throughout eastern Victoria, so who knows where I’ll end up next year.

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