Wanderings, travel, photographs and skiing…

Day two – Falls Creek, Australia – better weather, but still not great

By on September 18, 2005 in Australia

Despite yesterday’s high winds, the snow that fell gave a fairly good covering at Falls Creek.

The village of Falls Creek was skiable.  All the roads in the village were covered, and it was possible to ski on (i.e. down from the hotel to the base station) and off (i.e. by selecting the correct trail) the mountain.  However, the roads lost a lot of snow during the day because it was warm (and sunny), and this wasn’t helped by the village bus, which is a snow-cat on tracks and therefore cut things up.

Skiing today was very good.  The mountain had been well groomed and the slopes repaired.  The stream from which I pulled a ski out yesterday (post) had been filled in, and a number of areas that had been skied off were looking better.  Considering it was very late in the season it was surprising that so many trails and lifts were open and we were able to explore the mountain.  We found some truly excellent runs and had a lot of fun (in and around the Ruined Castle lift – trail map).  In one area we found a trick park that had been set up and a group of skiers and boarders were practising some amazing aerial acrobatics and stunts (over on St Elmos Slice, near the Ruined Castle lift – trail map).

Slopes signs at Falls Creek Australia

Slopes signs at Falls Creek Australia

Skiing in Australia is odd.  For a start, the hills are the wrong shape.  In North America and Europe, the hills tend to be very spiky with lots of sharp summits and peaks, however, at Falls Creek the hills look much more rounded and smooth.  Also, the trees are very different.  In Europe and North America, the trees (when present) tend to be conifers with all their branches sloping downwards which makes sense as the snow can slide off and therefore not rip branches from the trees.  In Australia they have a tree called a Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora).  This tree has upward facing branches so the snow can collect.  It is surprising that these trees survive the heavy snow falls.

Lake at the top of Falls Creek Ski Area, Australia

Lake at the top of Falls Creek Ski Area, Australia

I have also answered last night’s question as to why I saw so many injured skiers on the first night, and met a woman on the hill on the first day, in awful weather conditions, who couldn’t ski (see earlier Day one – Skiing Falls Creek, Australia – what did I find?).  I would suggest that some Australians just think that as they are so naturally good at sports that they should also be equally good at skiing and therefore tend to try things they shouldn’t.  I saw an example of this today when a young skier had a horrific crash. The skier was coming down a blue run (Race Course), which was quite steep in parts, in a snowplough.  The run was far too steep for a plough, and he was gathering speed, and leaning back. He was completely out of control. Luckily (if that is the right word!) for him he crashed, because if he had continued he would have surely have hit one of the lift support pylons (Scott lift – trail map).

Skiing Falls Creek, Australia

Skiing Falls Creek, Australia – what is noticeable is the mountains aren’t very pointy.

Trail map: map

Falls Creek, Australia – map it

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