Richard's Report - Thursday, 11 December 2008 3:49:42 PM

Escape To Mount Hotham

Following on from the first part of my two part runaway series when I escaped to the Victorian Alps last July, this report is a short summary on my two days spent skiing at Mount Hotham.

I last skied at Mt Hotham back in the early 80’s before all the quad chairs were installed. The result of that expansion has been a massive increase in easy-to-get-to terrain, much of it the steepest in-resort terrain in Australia.

I had forgotten how steep Mary’s Slide and surrounds were. We only skied it a couple times last trip as it was quite a hike out but now through a series of quad chairs I had several runs in this area in a single afternoon.

Unfortunately the quad chairs are the slow, fixed-grip type and the run outs along the narrow gullies meant at least two chairs back to the extreme zone and three back to Spargos and beyond. I did encounter queues on almost every lift ride but as a ‘single’ I never had to wait for long. As with the Falls Creek staff, the staff here were very pleasant. The parking thing is no where as easy as at Falls Creek and the old tractor-drawn shuttle carts have been replaced with buses.

I found the off piste firm in most places and can only imagine what fun the double black areas would be with freshies. It was good to indulge in the multitude of steeps which all ended up in narrow gully run outs - sometimes only metres wide with running water waiting to catch you out if you went for a slide. Coming back to Thredbo’s slopes was easy-peazy after the double blacks of Mount Hotham. Don’t get me wrong, I know where to find slopes even steeper outside Thredbo’s boundaries but you have to walk and climb for those and consequently I was able to get more steep vertical in a day at Hotham than Thredbo. Being that the runs are shorter at Hotham and the amount of time spent resting whilst riding chairs, it wasn’t as taxing as you might expect, but it certainly was a good adrenalin kick. I missed the free cat skiing – that sounded exciting.

In those immortal words of Arnie’s: “I’ll be back”.

Classic mountain shapes surround Mt Hotham
Classic mountain shapes surround Mt Hotham

My days were mostly spent in sunshine with shadow mainly in the gullies
My days were mostly spent in sunshine with shadow mainly in the gullies

Bottom photo - Orchard area looking back to resort
Bottom photo - Orchard area looking back to resort

The crowds concentrate at the bottom of the abundance of natural half-pipes
The crowds concentrate at the bottom of the abundance of natural half-pipes

The fun areas are well signed posted and rarely shared with another
The fun areas are well signed posted and rarely shared with another

Love the signs
Love the signs

Top of Spargos where sliding is not an option
Top of Spargos where sliding is not an option

Open slopes drop into the ever-steepening gullies
Open slopes drop into the ever-steepening gullies

Must have been Uni Week here too
Must have been Uni Week here too

The touring must be fun and potentially dangerous - may be next time
The touring must be fun and potentially dangerous - may be next time

The weather in Thredbo has remained cool and mostly covered in mountain mist – just the sort of weather I love if I can’t ski and ‘no’ there isn’t enough left to do that.

The Kosi chair is getting closer to opening – chairs have been loaded, moved and unloaded. I assume that means the new gearbox is in place.

Grumpy Report: $5 million for fireworks on Sydney Harbour this New Year's Eve. How many hospital beds and repaired toilets in schools is that? Which memory will last longer - 12 school years of broken toilets, not getting critical emergency medical treatment or 15 minutes of bang and smoke followed by hours of trying to get home? What sort of priorities do our politicians have?

Telstra Grump: I finally received a bill for the line Telstra disconnected twice in error. It includes a reconnection fee, line rental for when it was disconnected, other items I can’t even describe and it was sent to an incorrect mailing address. Just as well that we have a good postmistress. Speaking of which, Caroline has left the post office after years of wonderful service to Thredbo. Hope to see you next winter.

FRIDAY UPDATE: Kosciuszko chair is open to the public, but it will be a wet ride today.

Disclaimer: 
The views and opinions expressed on this page are my own personal observations and in no way represent the views or opinions of the resort or any other person.

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