Snowy Mountains, New South Wales

When I was a kid we visited the Snowy Mountains briefly but all I can remember from that day trip was the fact that David and I went down a small hill on a toboggan, and the four of us later having instant noodles in the car park.

Fast forward 15 years or so – we decided to join a bus tour of the Snowy Mountains operated by some local Vietnamese entrepeneurs. The plan was a 5.30am start on Saturday, getting back home late Sunday evening.

The first proper stop was Cooma where we hired our skis. Cooma is basically a fairly non-descript town with lots of snowmen cutouts atop shop awnings. The main point of interest for me were the 40 mosaic panels which told the story of white settlement and industrialisation in the area. There was a cursory exploration of Aboriginal history in two panels – one called “Dreamtime” and the other called “Aboriginals” and some bizarre panels like one entitled “Community organisations” which seemed a bit ad hoc.

In the afternoon we stopped at Smiggins, which is part of Perisher Blue. Five of us took ski lessons from a woefully underpaid instructor named Lena; we each paid $66 for two hours – and she received about $16 p/h to teach us. I kind of got the hang of skiing but that was after falling down about half a dozen times.

The thing is, falling down in skiing is not the least bit terrifying like it is in ice skating – it’s actually kind of fun. I also discovered that lying on the snow is a pretty awesome experience in itself.

The next day we went to Thredbo, which was a great place for people-watching. I spent a lot of time watching two kinds of people: hot European guys snowboard, and small children zipping down the mountain on their little skis. They were so adorable! I wish I had some of that fearlessness when it comes to sports.

I also made a little snowman which is one of those fantasies I have from watching too many North American shows. And yes, that is a cigarette butt where his mouth should be – even snowmen have vices.

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