Party: Cat, Jiri, Tim, Pete, Marcus
After a very early Saturday morning departure and a bakery stop in Cooma, we headed up on the Kosciuszko Express, noting the grassy patches near the village and a complete lack of people on the slopes. On the chair up Pete sat next to a ski patrol employee, who out of politeness asked where he was going. Since we hadn’t really discussed it beforehand, Pete said he had no clue, and then promptly managed to get his backpack caught on the lift while unloading! I wonder what the patroller must have been thinking as the attendant stopped the lift and tried to free the bag…
Pausing shortly to allow the hard core AT skiers to put on their skins on (and then take them off and carry the skis on the first uphill), we set off in the direction of Rams Head. The weather was beautiful, and we casually found a nice camping spot protected from the wind on top of the Twin Valleys overlooking the Thredbo River. Dumping our packs, we enjoyed a nice 200m ski down the nearby slope before slowly heading back uphill to set up camp. Our group then headed up to Mount Stilwell, before enjoying a superb 300m vertical run down one of the runs at Charlotte Pass Ski Resort. A race to the bottom was a close call, with the last two to arrive shouting the group some beers. After finishing a beer and most of the cask of port that we brought with us our spirits were running high.
As the afternoon sun began to set over Guthries Ridge, I had the brilliant idea that we should take the chair back up to the ridge. (This was preceded by other brilliant ideas, such as taking the oversnow transport – to Perisher – or hijacking a snowmobile, all coming from Pete and Tim who also managed to flip the table we were sitting on). It was 4:10pm at this stage, and as we dashed to the chairs (hoping they wouldn’t ask for our lift passes amongst the confusion), we arrived just in time to be told that this would be the last chair up. Perfect!* The drinking continued back at camp (well, and on the way back for some)…
We were greeted by another beautiful day the following morning, with the sun rising directly perpendicular to our camp. Fortunately for us, but not so fortunately for the snow cover, the morning was incredibly warm, and we roasted while preparing breakfast sitting simply in thermals. Tim then headed back to Thredbo to meet Nadia and execute some amazing downhill turns, while the rest of us headed up to Seamans Hut and Rawsons Pass on the way to conquer Kosi. At Rawsons, I decided enjoying a cup of port in the sun sounded like a much better option than hiking up yet another hill! The others proceeded to climb Kosi, and ski down towards Lake Cootapatamba, getting in some nice turns down the steep slope. The last of the alcohol was finished off beside North Rams Head, and the descent to Thredbo followed soon after. Meeting up with Tim & Nadia at Eagles Nest, we took our own ‘schnappy test’, then had an amazing run down the Bluff.
An awesome trip, with amazing weather and great company, concluded with some coldies at the bottom of Thredbo. Whoever said that cold rivers weren’t good for something?!?
* Note: We later discovered that this was the last weekend that Charlotte Pass was open – we were definitely incredibly lucky with our timing here, as the beers went down wonderfully!