In the past 8 months two trips to the snow were planned, one during my time in Austria at the end of last year and the other during my Queenstown holiday (read all about it here) in June, both were unfulfilled due to the almost non-existent presence of snow. So third time lucky we planned a trip a little closer to home and hoped for the best, the weather gods’ definitely heard our prayers because the weather was spot on and there was snow all around!
We ended July with a bang at Mt Buller; approximately 208km east of Melbourne and within driving distance for a day trip – as long as you’re prepared for an early morning start! With a 4am wake up call and a 4:30am departure from home the 3-4 hour drive to Mt Buller commenced; luckily enough for me I slept for most of the drive while Jordan drove. We had planned to go with some fellow friends who we would meet up with in Mansfield, just under an hour from the mountain, and then we’d all go in one car – both for the convenience but also because then we would only have to pay one entry fee rather than two. A quick stop in Mansfield gave us the chance to grab something to eat from a local cafe, as well as enabling one of our friends to hire some snow gear from Buller Sports and the rest of us to purchase our lift passes (which meant we could avoid the long queues on the mountain).
We arrived on the mountain just before 9am which meant we would have plenty of time on the slopes. Unfortunately we just missed out on getting early bird entry (arrive between 7-8am on Saturday or Sunday throughout July and August and receive half price entry), but because there were 5 of us in the car the $47 entry fee wasn’t too bad once it was split amongst us (just under $10 each).
I’ve only snowboarded one other time and that was in July last year, so it was a frustrating day for me to be honest. I probably spent more time on my bum than I did on my feet, and at one stage I was ready to throw my board down the slopes and go home because I was getting so fed up of falling over constantly; one of the down sides of not growing up doing this sport. I did, however, persevere and kept trying my best to improve as the day went on.
After a long morning of occasionally shredding snow and occasionally face planting and eating snow, it was time to eat some proper food. Lunch was courtesy of Pats Italian Restaurant which can be found in the village. Aside from the chance to eat some good food, it was so nice to sit, relax and recover from all the falls briefly – it also allowed for my almost soaked clothes to dry properly! After lunch we hit the slopes again where I continued to fall constantly, only to feel like I was finally improving on our last run of the day. In fact my last run was probably my best ride of the day… until I stacked pretty bad.
Despite my countless falls, some which left me feeling like I had been hit by a truck the next day, it was a pleasant way to end the weekend and I’m glad that after multiple times of trying to make it to the snow we finally had the opportunity to.
↠ If like me you’re not an avid snow goer and don’t own any gear, check out Oz Extreme for all our hiring needs at reasonable prices,
↠ Organise to go with a bunch of friends, not only does it make it more socially fun, it will help out financially if you travel up the mountain in the same car as you can split the cost of entry,
↠ If you’re relatively a newbie to snowboarding/skiing, I would recommend trying to go for a weekend, giving you more days in a row to hone into your new found skills, but if you can only make a day trip try and make the most of it by aiming for an early start and staying on the mountain until the last lift – this gives you both more time to ride the slopes but will also make the most of your money,
↠ Patience, patience, patience; it was really frustrating for me because Jordan is a pro at snowboarding compared to myself as it’s a sport he’s been doing for years, so it was frustrating constantly falling over and not being able to ride as well as he could, but at the end of the day, if you’re a newbie like me, you just have to keep reminding yourself that you can’t be perfect after one day and you definitely cannot compare yourself to someone who has been doing it for years, so be patient with yourself and just don’t give up,
↠ Budget accordingly, going to the snow in Australia is expensive, it’s almost cheaper for Aussie’s to travel to New Zealand for a week of snow over there than go for a weekend in Australia. Research entry costs, lift prices and also check to see if they have any deals going on that might save you a few $$. For a rough idea here’s how much the day cost me:
↠ Gear hire (I hired a snowboard, snowboard boots and snow pants) $84
↠ Lift pass (being a uni student I got to save a few $$ by purchasing the tertiary student pass, which is $96) $101 (extra $5 for the B-TAG)
↠ Mountain entry ($47 per vehicle) $10 (split it between the 5 of us in the car)
↠ Chain hire $5 (again we split the cost of the hire between us)
So all up you can see I spent $200 and that didn’t include the cost of lunch on the mountain or snacks purchased in Mansfield – not a cheap day but definitely worth it!
PS: there’s a big difference between this post and all my previous posts and that is that I’m missing photos! Unfortunately I was too busy falling over, getting frustrated and trying not to break a leg, that I completely forgot to take 5 minutes and take some photos to show you guys the beauty at the top of the slopes! Not to worry, I will definitely remember for next time!
Are you planning a snow trip sometime soon or have any tips you’d like to share? Tell me about it by leaving a comment below ↓