Some like it Hotham

How about those picture-perfect mountain days? They're not the norm for Australian skiing so you have to embrace and appreciate them when they come along.

The weekend of 20/21 August 2011 heralded the start of another winter warm spell that provided stunning Alpine views across the Victorian Alps while serving up rather challenging skiing conditions.

How can blue sky days be challenging you ask? If you're aim is to carve the mountain up, then challenging mainly because of the early morning freeze that renders the entire mountain rather solid and scrapey.

For those non-skiers, imagine running a knife across a frozen windscreen ... then imagine you're standing on two of those knives and trying to get a grip ... on a very steep slope. But, challenges are what its all about, right?

At Hotham, it was just like that for some time until our Sun did its work and softened up that surface for some fine Spring skiing. Some give and some movement ... thats whats needed.

And there's the trick... and the converse of the problem. Softening can quickly turn the nice snow to slush. Slush is nasty ... it drags on the skis. So, the key is to move around the mountain with the sun in these conditions. A tough job for a vacation skier.

Don't ask your Swiss, Austrian or French friends ... they rarely suffer this problem in mid-winter when the temperatures stay well below zero and keep the snow pristine.

Australian and New Zealand snow is unique ... and I maintain, the best conditions to learn in as it will throw anything at you!

Its also unique for other reasons - in Australia the mountain snow gums, wildlife like possums and wombats, winding mountain roads, bush accommodation and complete lack of mobile phone coverage!

So unique and beautiful and thats something worth remembering while we can still ski there - yeah, the snowline has been moving higher each year with global warming making each successive year more of a challenge.

Not a great year for Mt Hotham unfortunately, but we're determined to enjoy it while we still can!

When you're on top of and around this little part of Australia you can relax and look out on those hilltops, across those plains and down on those warm dry valleys below and be happy.

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