Sometimes the best laid plans can go to waste. With the big snowfalls that have hit Australia this season, areas which are often marginal in normal seasons have suddenly become fit to groom. So organisers started to eye off the Prussian Flat area at Perisher Valley to run the Australian Distance Championships around. Normally it has only a light cover but this year it has been thick white blanket all season and it presented beautiful rolling terrain for the men’s 30km and women’s 15km. A quick trip around the course two days before the race had me dreaming of miles and miles of V2 and V2 alternate.
Then a cold change hit the day before. Skiers trying out the course were blasted with 70 mile an hour winds and had to lay down flat on the snow in between the gusts to avoid being blown over. Then the snow started to fall and in bucket loads. It was wet and about 20 inches fell in 24 hours. Even the grooming machine could not go out and groom the course as it became bogged. Organisers at 7am were faced with a tough choice, postpone the race or run a European style stadium like race around a 3km course. And that’s how the Australian Long Distance Championship became Stadium XC- six times around a 3km course, probably the toughest 3km in the whole Perisher Valley network and in heavy new snow.