It'll be nothing like snowboarding in Canada.
Well, not so fast. Don't talk yourself down just yet, Australia. Let's backtrack to life in Canada:
I don't live anywhere near the Rocky Mountains and the furthest west I've traveled in Canada is Thunder Bay, Ontario. The highest hill I've boarded down is 220m, taking a lengthy 2 to 3 minutes to reach the bottom. This history set me up for some serious leg burn when I tackled a hill with a 2000m summit. Especially when done on consecutive days.
Never would I have predicted that my best snowboarding experience to date would come in Australia. (Isn't it the land of sand and surf, not snow and skiing?) I say best primarily in terms of length of runs, the longest of which was 5km. Sadly, the ski hills of Ontario just do not compare. Now upon my return to Ontario, I will have the pleasure of saying I can't ski or board in Ontario anymore, not after snowboarding in Australia! (with an additional: these hills are pathetic!) That is, until I make it out to Western Canada, where most snow-loving Australians will not hesitate to jet off to for their snow experiences.
Believe it or not, the snow base was quite solid and it was consistently cold enough to add to the base overnight. Unofficially, the 2014 season has been the best one in 10 years. As a Canadian, even one who chose to move to Australia to escape the snow, it's hard to let that statement slip by without going to check it out for yourself. And the verdict, if it's not already clear: Australia, I'm impressed! Impressed by the amount of snow that falls in the Aussie Alps (yep, that's what they are officially called), the 24-hour equipment rental shops which offer snow gear in addition to all ski and snowboard equipment, the option to hire tire chains so that you can drive safely through the snow (the Aussie-equivalent of snow-tires), the amount of Aussie-born snow-enthusiasts, the amount of places to choose from on the slopes to grab a bite to eat/quench your thirst...
About those tire-chains. It was something I hadn't heard of until coming to Australia. I had been asked about them and could not help but display a blank expression. Winters in the Big Smoke must not be harsh enough for tire chains? Many people will rent chains in the event that during their drive to the snow there is actually snow on the road. I was very interested in the tire chain experience before coming to the snow. However, the roads were clear and the chains went unused.
About going "to the snow". I could not help but laugh the first half-dozen (or more) times I heard this phrase. I've spoken with many Aussies since hearing this phrase for the first time and embarrassingly, have even used it myself in a sentence...or two...or more. Needless to say, it's not something you would hear a Canadian say back home since they're usually no need to go anywhere far in order to experience snow.
About the drive to the snow. Staying in a nearby town outside the Alps meant approximately a 20 minute drive to the snow in the early morning. The drive from the town to the snow was quite interesting as there was no sign of snow for 95% of the drive. The landscape looked rather dry and full of leafy trees. It was not until reaching the parking lot that there were signs of an alpine village.
|You sure we're going to the snow?
|Making the most out of the short season
|No worries if you've forgotten something
|No more taking snow-tires for granted
|Kosciuszko National Park
|Plenty of snow enthusiasts
|Gumtrees in the snow