Monday, 26 August 2013

Skiing with wombats

Behind every great young skier or budding mountaineer, there is always a couple of parents who love skiing, and the mountains. Such parents, whilst vaguely noble, are inherently selfish - to wit, they want their kids to share the same insatiable passions as their own. My parents (thank you very much Annie and Roy - Mt Blanc was your fault!) were just such - they even invested in the Oz ski industry, which surely should have rang some alarm bells.. 
The challenges of getting young kids up and skiing (and passionate about it), are many and varied. Whilst many might consider skiing a sport, for us it is one of the more beautiful recreations. If my son grows up to to be more enthusiastic about golf for example (or my daughters more roused by twitter and Facebook), then I will consider myself a failure as a parent. I don't need them to win GS races (the odds of which, as Australians even with French alpine connections, are immeasurably minute) to appreciate the alpine environment. But I do need them to understand how to buckle their boots, assemble all their gear, carry their skis, ride a chairlift or Poma, take a timely wee, clean up their shit, and, most importantly, appreciate the costs involved, particularly in Australia.
We live on the driest continent. It is a miracle it even snows here, and some years it sucks. But it is what it is, and the the Australian alpine is unique and wonderful. And so the most important message of all in these times perhaps, is to turn off the fricking lights. 
I think that skiing lessons these days are no where near as important as lessons in tree-planting, offsetting one's own carbon pollution, and getting out there in the wild under one's own steam.
Despite (or perhaps to spite) a nasty hamstring injury last weekend, I spent a majority of my weekend with a three year old between my knees. Charlotte and Lucie are much improved, and it is as much a joy as always to see my beautiful ski buddy still ripping. Like me, she comes alive with a pair of planks attached to her feet. And we ate well.
As the seasons become slimmer, I am developing a heightened wariness of the backcountry. There were significant avalanches on the Main Range this weekend. When you have large amounts of precipitation hovering five degrees either side of zero, layers form.
I was happier to rest with the family this weekend.        

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I learnt to ski at Hotham as a member of Brush ski club. Probably the best gift my parents gave me. No doubt what will follow will be years of chasing snow around the world, visiting incredible places and meeting awesome people.