Australia’s Pub to Pub race is a pretty unique event. Take a 5km cross-country ski race, add in five beer stations, and 400 other people in fancy dress. At one time it was Australia’s biggest cross-country skiing event, attracting over 1000 skiers. Now, after a bit of a lull in the late nineties when the beer drinking was briefly taken out, the numbers are building again. The following 2007 Pub to Pub race report was provided by Ben Sim.
If you didn’t turn up to Smiggins in the worst clothes/outfit you could find for the 25th anniversary of Perisher Blue’s â€œPub to Pub,â€ you weren’t welcome. This year the theme was 80’s, but members of the Australian team chose 70’s: most of our fashion is 10 years behind anyway. My favourite outfits for the day were my old buddy Jake Molkentin and his friend each dressed as Borat in a swim suit.
The race started at the Smiggins Hotel with a 2km ski to Perisher (a downhill ski resort), and the first pit-stop was at the Sundeck Hotel (which incidentally is the biggest single fund-raiser for the Australian cross country team’s XC Towards 2010 project, donating $5,000 this year). The first beer was downed, and then 400 XC skiers raced down Perisher’s front valley in peak-hour alpine skier traffic to The Pub. The crew gave us each a schooner of beer, which wasn’t easy to get down, especially considering the Sundeck beer we drank only 30 seconds earlier.
The skis came off and we ran across the road for beer number three at The Man From Snowy River. Tearing ourselves away, it was back across the road to stop number four at Jax Bar. This was the last drink in Perisher before the somewhat hard but entertaining ski back to Smiggins. On the way home, the leaders pass most of the competitors still just heading towards Perisher. Upon arrival in Smiggins, the final beverage was finished and just in time after 5 beers and 25 minutes the side effects started to kick in.
My NSW team-mate Chris Darlington led all the way to the first drink station, but I was able to get away through the middle of the race and hold on at the end for the win. Second place went to Darlo, followed by the old war-horse Anthony Evans. Esther Bottomley was the first woman, followed by Michelle McFarlane and Sally Cunningham. I have to say thanks to Alan â€˜Barney’ Davis from Perisher Blue for organising the race, and also to Vodaphone as Esther and I received some pretty sweet mobile phones as prizes for first place. Here’s looking forward the Pub to Pub in 2008!