Australian ski fields cop a lot of flak for high lift prices, food quality and service and I'm one of the first to dish that out. Each season the record gets played and the naysayers pull the soapbox out from storage.
This year, after taking a long hard look at my very privileged self, I have to say embrace your Australian skiing and snowboarding roots. There's snow in them there hills and we are lucky to have it. Without it, many of us would never experience the joy of skiing or snowboarding at all and many of us wouldn't end up overseas enjoying the powder either.
Next time you start complaining about the state of the coffee while sporting ski boots (myself included), remember any one of these 10 things.
1. You get to ski in Australian bushland near where Ned Kelly left his trail, on terrain that Banjo Paterson wrote about in The Man From Snowy River and amongst snow gums found nowhere else on the planet.
2. On a late August day you can spot emus, kangaroos, echidnas and wombats all grazing along the side of the Alpine Way to Thredbo. (Trust me, I have the iPhone pics to prove it.)
3. Where else in the world do ski patrollers stop skiers and boarders mid-run as they escort a wombat across the slopes? It happens.
4. Because you don't know how long we've got until our land of desert and beaches still boasts snow. Mid-winter snow depths since 1957 have had a slow and minimal decrease, but spring snow depths have dropped by over a third, according to reports on the Protect Our Winters website.
5. If you can ski and snowboard in unpredictable and variable conditions – from full-blown, knee-deep powder on a sunny day to ice and wind – then you can ski and snowboard anywhere in the world and do it well. Just ask Torah.
6. Because we want the price wars to continue. Thredbo announced the only one-day online ski pass under $100 this season; Perisher introduced the $699 season pass a few years back and the resorts are finally getting price competitive. If we don't keep skiing they won't keep competitive.
7. You don't need a passport. Whether driving to the New South Wales resorts or flying in to Hotham, you won't have to clear customs.
8. Cat skiing is free. When the powder snow builds up, like last year, the motorised snowcats at Hotham start purring and take off-piste skiers and boarders out to the powder fields to access untouched virgin snow. It is all part of the lift ticket service.
9. You can understand everyone, even the locals. No pesky squabbling in schoolyard French over Euro bills for food you can't pronounce – you can just have the same argument over dollars in English.
10. Because when you travel overseas you'll have a story to tell about a land of red dust, 50-degree deserts and azure oceans that also boast home-grown world ski and snowboard champions groomed on bushy hills laden with snow and resorts founded and built by Austrians after World War II.
Will you be skiing in Australia this year? If so, where and why? If not, where will you be skiing and why? Post a comment on the blog below.
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