Dry white powder pushes Jonathan Porter over the edge at Thredbo
‘’Tips down and I don’t want to see you turning,’’ my ski buddy Rod advises me.
We are all the way over to the left on the mountain at Thredbo at the tippy point of the highest lifted point on of the loftiest peaks in the Australian Alps. The village is a distant speck.
We have skied under a rope barrier and our ski tips teeter over the void of the sheer vertical slope of a black diamond run.
It’s a blue sky windless day. I have shucked gloves and parka for sunnies and T-shirt. The hairs on my arms are turning fashionably blond in the sun. Virgin snow lies ahead of us; no one has skied here since the last snow fell. The nights have been cold and the piste is squeaky dry.
We tackle the unskied closed-off black diamond run like a brace of falschirmjagers, a rebel yell torn from my throat. Soon we are doing over 80 as I obey the injunction to not turn. The landscape is blue shifted and the howls of the kangaroos doppler away into the distance.
If you ski in Australia then you must ski in Thredbo, and you have to stay at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel, with its Hot Tub Time Machine vibe.
On this occasion we stay in the Doug Mulray Suites, named after a popular 1980s Australian radio personality. Mulray’s room or rhoum as I christen it (pronounced with a trill a la Inspector Clouseau) comes complete with a marble sunken hot tub and our own deck.
That night we dine at Segretto. We have brought some special bottles of our own – Tim Stevens’ finest from Mudgee’s Huntington Estate in western New South Wales and a Clonakilla shiraz viogner from the cold, cold hills around the nation’s capital.
That doesn’t seem to be enough however and we send the manager down to the cellar for a venerable Bordeaux to go with our awesome steaks. Sitting in the restaurant we are 1.5km above sea level and we need to keep up our red blood cell production.
Right now, this very minute, conditions are the best they’ve been in recent memory, says Thredbo Alpine Resort’s Susie Diver, with over 1.6m of pure Australian snow on the mountains.
“It’s certainly up to the best we have had in recent times,’’ says Ms Diver.
The most exciting change people will notice this year is the RFID technology incorporated across the resort, she says.
“People can sign up online and get a MyThredbo card which is delivered to them in the mail or they can pick it up at the office on arrival. All your day tickets will be loaded onto the card so you simply put your card in your pocket and you check your card at the automated gates. So it’s hands free – you don’t have to get your ticket out and it’s not flapping in the wind.’’
“It makes it more efficient for our customers to get on the mountain and jump on the lift.”
Diver says you can also organise ski hire on the card and there are plans for it to include stored credit and in the not too distant future track where you were during the day.