The First Ski of the Season

FasterSkierJune 17, 2004

I was excited. As I drove up the mountain road all around me was white. It was May, early May. It rarely has this amount of snow in Australia this early. I was down in our mountain region in Australia for a job interview at one of our big alpine ski resorts. As I was doing some job research on their website, I noticed their snow cams just showed white. It was snowing. I decided to throw the Fischer crowns in the car for perhaps a quick ski to steady the nerves before the interview.

I arrived at the end of the road at Charlotte Pass. The altitude is about 1800m and the highest peaks in Australia rose around me, their snowy white domes showing off a substantial early season cover. I bounced out of the car only to be greeted by National Team member Chris Darlington. He had decided to bypass a rollerski session to get some early season skating in along the Kozciusko Rd which leads to our highest mountain of the same name. I knew how he felt. After months of double pole workouts it was going to be great to kick that diagonal stride in again. I had a brief chat with Chris about his performances on the European circuit over the northern winter, took a photo of him skating off into the distance and he was gone.

After finally getting my all my gear together (winter sports have so much stuff!) I was off skiing as well. The Kozciusko Rd is never groomed and this was a bit of a backcountry ski on light gear. After negotiating a few snow drifts I managed to find that someone else had gone off for a classic ski ahead of me and had a set a nice trail for me to get into the groove again. I could see Chris’s skating tracks digging deep into the snow. Must be a strength workout for him I thought. The snow was dry and my Fischer crowns glided easily without the usual cheese grater sound of the pattern base. My body started working in unison with my skis as fresh snow flew up over my boots. The rolling nature of the terrain on the road was testing my balance as I was getting used to the slipperiness of snow again. However it was just great to be enjoying the beauty of the diagonal stride once again.


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