Karels T-Bar under a Tongan glow. Thredbo last Friday

Karels T-Bar under a Tongan glow. Thredbo last Friday

Tans Take Thredbo

There’s something about driving towards the snowy mountains – the way the terrain changes and becomes flat and spacious and sparse and then it becomes rugged and picturesque and mountainous that makes you feel as though you are somewhere else. I like that.

We arrived in Thredbo late one afternoon – enough time to be kitted out with our ski gear. We’re newcomers to skiing – me well I am real newbie, as are our boys. My husband said he’s been skiing twice and he rips down a mountain at full speed. Then a few snow stories started emerging throughout our time in the ski fields that make me think otherwise. Yes he’s good at most things – but stacked on 1.5 metre skis and down blue runs after skiing twice, I couldn’t quite come to terms with.

It’s one thing to put a 4.3 wettie on in winter, and take it off when you’re wet and you have long hair – but becoming accustomed to the gear that comes with skiing or snowboarding is a ceremony of dressing and one you become used to pretty quick.

You can tell a newcomer to skiing – they walk a little like a toddler taking their first ever steps. Cautiously and trying to appear like – ‘hey, I’ve done this before’. Once you get used to the loot and the ski boots and you’re not cold – look up from the ground and it’s pretty bloody magic.

Friday - before the recent big dump.

Highest lifted point, Thredbo

We had the luxury of dual private ski lessons. I felt pretty confident I could get it within 2 days. How hard could it be. There’s the slight bend to the legs, pressure forward, a chair lift, a hill, ski poles and pizza or snow plough (that’s how you slow down) oh, and parallel turning. I was learning to turn. Meanwhile my twice husband skier, left the learning area for the real runs after one run down Friday Flats, and my boys who I could see in the distance appeared like baby deer’s on new legs. Let’s fast forward a few hours, I had fallen over numerous times – to be helped up by my buddy and snow king of Thredbo ‘Daf’, lost sight of my kids and well was humbled by just how hard this skiing this is.

We braked for lunch at Merritts – busy with a DJ and crowds of people on picnic benches over looking the hill. It felt so different and new and awesome. Our little guy – Spike aged 8 who had been skiing Merrits (the next run up from Friday Flats) for an hr announced it was time to find some steeper bigger runs. So off he went with his dad while Jet and I did another 6 or so runs sans the instructors at Friday Flats. I didn’t fall over – ‘I could possibly have this’ I thought to myself.

Sunrise coming down the valley from Jindy

We had dinner on the mountain at Merrits again, this time inside what appeared like we were in the middle of a Bavarian feast – such a unique experience. Warm wooden interior, low hanging lighting – big jugs of beer and pork and bread. Just like the drive – when you arrive at the snow there is a ceremony and way of doing things that makes you feel like you are somewhere completely away from everyday life.

A highlight was lunch at Kareela Hutte – I almost had to be towed in by my instructor Daf (poor bloke) as my kids ripped passed me announcing one more run mum! This picturesque hut on the side of a run overlooking the mountain is small and quaint and felt a little like walking into someone’s private ski lodge lounge room, adorned with paraphernalia and photos – dripped in history and oh if the walls could talk, I reckon a few parties have happened in this little hut when the weather moves in. Everyone seems to know each other – and there’s a snow gang, much like a surf gang which I thought – I wanna be in!

Presunrise glow

Kosciuszko Chairlift top

I particularly loved the après around the fire pits at Alpine Hotel (where we stayed and rated highly), as you are a hop skip and a jump to the runs – you feel as though you had earned that drink after a day in nature and on the mountain.

Our last night we had a beautiful dinner at Candlelight restaurant, a Thredbo institution and walking distance from our hotel. It started snowing on the walk home – which was pretty special.

I’m a terrible skier – I actually wondered if I would ever get it after 2 days! Even asking Daf if he tells some people to take up another sport instead – but he told me, nah if you can’t teach someone to ski it’s on the instructor not the person learning! He was a very kind, patient man. I’m determined for it to click. Because like surfing – that I’m also pretty crap at, I love it – mostly because it brings my family together in nature, movement, and sport all my favourite things. Now I just have to work towards making my way up the mountain to join mine – who left me for dust on the first day.

We’re coming back for you Thredbo – you were our idea of adventure holiday.


Words: Debbie Tan