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 now 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 mountain feel to them that is different from other parts of Australia 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 has always felt comfortable to me – like putting back on your favourite pair of jeans.
We went to Bajo Paterson’s for lunch, it’s also home to the Kosciuszko Brewery. The food was good pub food. There were six of us and everyone had either a burger or a pizza. No one was disappointed and the prices were a welcome change from the always 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 about being 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, which is unfortunate since 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 guns (the baked apple is AWESOME). It was difficult to tell where you could taste, and what the many people were in line for something or 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 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 because what could have been a series of quick transactions was slowed while one person from the restaurant was dealt with for several minutes. The overall 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 considering the rain from the day before. The sunshine came back out. The snow was okay but 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 the 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 one lucky girl to have found someone who skis with me!