So, we headed off to the snow last weekend. Seems like a lifetime ago now, and I think I am still recovering from all the activity. Well, maybe just all the laughing.
As with all Wilson adventures, the trip started with an epic rush to leave the house. Shoes being flung, hats winging across the living room, shouts of “are we going now, are we going now, when are we going muuuuuuuuum”. These shouts obviously coming from the only people who have done absolutely bugger all to get ready for this trip into the unknown. Tim was doing really important jobs like wiping out the inside of the washing machine, followed by a quick sort out of the shelves in the garage. Poppy was crying because her “Stupid, bloomin, converse wont go on properly!” (less than 24 hours old, stupid, bloomin Converse I may add). Meanwhile, I am loading yet more food into the back of the car, just in case there is some kind of apocalypse in the Snowy Mountains, and we’re the only survivors, resulting in the IGA being closed. At about 2pm we finally managed to get everyone squeezed into the car, with Monty snuggled up to 27 loo rolls. Better to have too many than not enough.
What a drive from Sydney, through Canberra and all the way to Adamiliby. Where? Adaminiby? Abadiniby? Abadibiny? Oh bloody hell, none of us ever got it right while we were there and I’m pretty sure we wont ever get it right first time again. It’s the home of the ‘Big Trout’. Literally a huge plastic trout, not my old PE teacher. Adaminaby is a tiny little town of only 234 people and is one of the highest towns in the whole of Australia. That’s about all it has going for it. Having said that, we were too shattered to visit the pub, so maybe I haven’t done it justice. It has a bakery (nothing like a french boulangerie, think Greggs 70 years ago) , a grocery store with more fishing equipment than grocery items, a trout, a couple of petrol stations… a school….and hardly a person to be seen. It was so cold, the Picnic bar I bought in the petrol station was frozen. It was rural Australia, and despite my sarcasm I really, honestly loved it. There was no phone signal, no wifi, no, it was untouched by modern man. Literally. They did however have their own golf course, and race track, with a huge sign advertising the upcoming horse racing. The bowling green looked to be in good nik too, although we were told that it takes four hours for your food to arrive when you eat in there, so we didn’t investigate further.
We managed to nail the journey in around 5 and a half hours without too many dramas. We had a near miss with a Kangaroo the size of 2 Mike Tyson’s and then another one with a wombat the size of a small car, but hey, that’s no major thing here. We kept everyone happy with a stop at Macca’s followed by the drive through bottle shop. It was pretty late when we arrived so we unloaded our ton of food, and suitcase and got set to getting the kids to bed. Thankfully someone had been in and lit the log burner for us as it was bloody Baltic. The cottage was…. cute… almost like a time warp. The house that someone forgot…. to dust. There was all sorts to be found, which Brenden discovered when he hid behind the TV cabinet during a game of hide and seek. The highlight in Curries Alpine Cottage had to be the video player. There were lots of old videos which the children found utterly bizarre, including the must have box set in every Aussie house; the Sydney Olympics box set. There seemed to be hundreds of teddy bears and one eyed dolls hanging about in the cottage too, which Monty spent three days flinging down the stairs. Needless to say there were lots of one eyed teddies, and no eyed dolls when we left.
We were warned by a keen bean regular of the ski community that we needed to be at the ski hire shop at 7am, as the queue would be immense and it would take at least two hours for us all to be fitted. 9 of us were up, and out, in the cars, hurtling toward the high street at 6:55 dreading the wait with the manic children. We had the whole of the towns parking to ourselves, and there was not a soul in sight, apart from Cole, the terrifying, ski hire dude, who just happened to dislike children VERY much. In fact, I think he disliked people very much, but children very, very much. Oh and boy did he smile when we piled in with 5 wrestling, hyperactive, overtired kids in tow. Ah well, here goes nothing. Cole is the kind of “shop keeper” who makes you feel really on edge, and asks you trick questions which you nervously answer praying he like what he hears. He likes you to think he is doing you a favour, forgetting that customers are paying for his service. If my son wants to strangle himself with the laces of his trainers, whilst in your shop, then please just let him die quietly in the corner, without being berated. Having said that, we were pretty happy with the tired, uncomfortable boots, and the wonderful customer service.
So long and the short of it was, we were in and out of ‘Ski Works’ in a winky, and heading for the mountains. Well, for a couple of minutes, until I looked in the wing mirror and saw Poppy and her buddies pushing Tam’s car off the road. The garage owner looked at us and laughed; “who the hell runs out of fuel these days?”… That’d be our gang.
Hooray, slight mishap sorted and we’re back on track, albeit with a very smelly thigh from the Jerry can. Monty and his mate were in the back of our car having a burping competition, well Monty was having a burping competition while Riley gagged with disgust, but it was all very jolly. To get to Mount Selwyn Snow Fields it took about 40 minutes from the dust box cottage. It was just like driving through Dartmoor, or even parts of Iceland at times. It really is amazing just how varied the landscape is in Australia. We had left a beautiful 25 degrees in Sydney and we were now shivering in about 1, driving through the mountains which could have been anywhere but Australia.
We grabbed our lift passes from the grumpy girl on the desk and shoved all the kids into ski school. Hoorah, we headed for the slopes. Tim has never skied before, and I haven’t skied since I was about 11, so I was anticipating a massive disaster. Or at least a couple of arms in plaster, and a helicopter rescue.
(Me aged about 7 on a family skiing holiday)
I made sure I rang the health insurance folk whilst we were dodging wildlife in Canberra. Thank the Lord, it turned out pretty well for me because when I was skiing I wasn’t too bad, and when I stopped, it was only because Tim had had some kind of spectacular fall and I was having to cross my legs for fear of peeing myself. You know that laughter that gets so out of control, the one that takes over your whole body, the one that gets a hundred times worse when your husband is head first in the snow, with one ski on, shouting. “just go, just go, if you’re going to stand there laughing just go”… (Even as I type this I can feel that laughter about to bubble up and burst out of me again). Oh how I wish I could control that laughter, it has done nothing but get me into trouble all my life. It took over me again when a robust little woman thought it would be good to slowly ease her way through my dear friends legs, resulting in Tam doing some sort of faced down, snowy starfish. I had to ski away as I was terrified I may break myself through uncontrollable, involuntary bodily movements whilst laughing with every inch of my being. I could not control myself. A total stranger told me I was a “great friend” in a very sarcastic tone.
The highlight for me though, had to be in the queue for the chair lift when Tim started to slide on his skis and very slowly and almost seductively pushed up against the woman in front of us. This slow slide seemed to go on and on, until the poor woman was pinned up against the fence, with Tim sort of smirking/grimacing/cringing and shooting daggers at me. In between hysterical giggles, and whilst gasping for air, I helpfully told him he should have at least introduced himself; all I got was a look, and again I was reduced to a bag of jelly, hysterical, tears streaming down my face, with a very grumpy other half.
Having said all that, Tim and Tamatha did an awesome job. To be able to hop on a pair of skis and just get going is pretty amazing. Not sure Tim felt so amazing when he was careering down the black run, alone, heading toward to beginners ski school, but he did do a great job of avoiding the 6 year olds who were crying and screaming, waiting for him to smash into them. No, he was really good. Annoyingly. After day one there were far less falls, and I only had strangers to laugh at, which isn’t half as funny.
Its amazing how the children picked it up so easily. All of the kids on the slopes were great. There were hundreds of little people on skis and snowboards, all whizzing down the mountain cool as cucumbers. Our lot went into ski school for three hours then came out and put us all to shame. They absolutely nailed it!
The Selwyn Ski School is brilliant. The teachers were wonderful, and it was really well organized. Just being able to have those three hours to find your feet, without being ridiculed by your kids was awesome enough, let alone all the hard work the staff put in to getting the kids going. Tim and I spotted Monty on the slopes and spent about fifteen minutes spying on him learning to ski. We took some smashing photos of him on his little ski’s with his instructor, cooed when he did a little turn, gushed with pride when he turned through the cones. We were proud as punch, until I went to collect him after the 3 hours were up and was told he had slept through ski school. Ah, shit….we panicked, and Tim promptly deleted the photos he had taken of someone else’s child before we were arrested for some sort of crime. And to think we both scampered about hiding behind trees just to avoid him seeing us. Little did we know it was a small, very tanned, beautiful girl under the helmet and matching ski clothes.. We did toy with the idea of keeping the photos as it really could have been him and Grandma would never have known…..
Apres ski for us ended up being a bag of Doritos, a glass of red wine and two hours of the Rio Olympics. We were all up for games, booze and shenanigans, but what with all the skiing, laughing and inappropriate photography we were exhausted. So I’d love to tell you we stayed up all night, drinking champagne and playing party games, we didn’t. We laughed at the “fast walkers”, and passed out.
Our weekend couldn’t have gone any better. It was a very last minute booking, which I think are always the best getaways. No time to fret, just go go go!
We had truly awesome friends, a warm house, plenty of food, no apocalypse and two full days of snow. The exhilaration you feel whilst zooming down the mountain is better than anything else. If you’ve never been, even if you’ve never thought about going, book it. Get your friends together, especially ones that will be rubbish, and hit the slopes. You’ll thank me when your tummy hurts from laughing so hard.
Here’s to the next trip….
* Life Begins at the end of your comfort zone- Neale Donald Walsch