On days three and four of our Perisher trip we continued to have great spring skiing conditions. Fresh snow is wonderful, but a close second is definitely clear blue skies and un-tracked corduroy. The snow was packed and crisp in the morning, but soft enough we could still get an edge, and it quickly softened just the right amount under the early morning sun.
We’ve been really lucky with the snow for September in Australia – we could have just as easily been avoiding grass. Because Perisher has had such a bumper season the whole mountain is still open. Also, it hasn’t gotten too windy, so all the lifts are running. That’s been great news because Perisher does have a lot of T-Bars and I much prefer a chairlift.
Break Time at Jindabyne
Unfortunately, on day five Spring decided to assert herself and we had a bit of rain. We had pretty much covered the mountain by then anyway, so we took a day off and headed to Jindabyne – the nearest town to Perisher.
Jindabyne is about 30 minutes drive from the Perisher Resort day parking, or 20 minutes from the Bullocks Flat Ski Tube car park. It’s not a huge town and seems to be mostly residential. It sits on a the edge of Lake Jindabyne and the Nuggets Crossing Shopping Centre is full of outdoor and snow sports shops. The buildings all have a more North American mountain feel to them, which is different from the other parts of Australia that I have seen.
Walking through the shopping centre I had a wave of homesickness I haven’t experienced in years; it reminded me so much of Dillon, Colorado. I could have been in the shops looking out at the mountains and Lake Dillon. It actually took me by surprise because it really has been a long time since I’ve felt such a rush of longing for another home. It must be being back in the mountains. Being in the mountains anywhere has always felt like home.
We went to Bajo Paterson’s for lunch; it’s also home to the Kosciuszko Brewery. The food was good standard pub food. Among the six of us, everyone had either a burger or a pizza. No one was disappointed and the prices were a welcome change from the expensive mountain food (especially considering the food was better too).
After lunch we decided to check out Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery. It seemed like a lot of people had the same idea as us to get off the mountain for the day because it was PACKED.
I think being busy was actually a problem for the distillery. The entrance is a bit small and it serves as the restaurant reception and bottle shop. Tucked slightly off the the left of the entry is a small mobile bar where you can taste the schnapps and their three gins (the baked apple is AWESOME).
It was difficult to tell where you could taste, and if the many people in entry we’re in line for something or simply milling around. At one point my fiancé decided to buy a gin then gave up because the layout and length of the queue made it too inconvenient. There was one staff member at the desk answering restaurant questions, taking payment for meal bills, putting diners names on the wait list and taking payment for items from the distillery door bottle shop. While this might work on a less busy day, there were several people in line grumbling about the wait. What could have been a series of quick transactions was halted while the employer dealt with one person for the restaurant for several minutes. It was unfortunate because I’m sure they were doing the best they could but it gave the impression of customer service.
Overall, the distillery grounds and restaurant seemed nice, so if you want to go I would suggest trying to avoid a busy day.
Back on the Hill
Day six was pretty good, especially considering the rain on the day before. The sunshine came back out but the snow was just okay, not great. It got sticky pretty quickly and the skiing wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as it had been the first four days. Still, it was so nice to be outside in the fresh air with my fiancé. It’s so cool to be able to ski comfortable easy turns and see him out of the corner of my eye making the same turns a few feet away on the slope.
I am so lucky to have found someone who skis with me!