Yesterday I went on my first serious winter adventure for this year. With Clansi and 3 others I reached the summit of Mt Kosciuszko on alpine touring (AT) skis (see bottom of post for description of AT skis). The weather could not have been better to celebrate my first taste of skiing Australia’s back country.
Our party consisted of Clansi and myself, Matthew Clark and our experienced leaders Steve and Mel Wawrzonek. We caught the Kosciuszko Express chairlift up to the top of the Thredbo ski slopes, put on our skins, and set of towards Australia’s highest point. The sky was clear, and there was almost no wind – a perfect alpine day.
Almost 3 hours later and 6 km later, we reached the summit of Kosciuszko. It was a majestic venue to eat lunch, but the cold was quite an incentive to get moving again. Coming back down we experienced one of the joys of AT skiing: removing the skins enabled us to make the most of going downhill.
A bonus at the end of the day was an almost 2 km run down the slopes of Thredbo. It was a bit icy due to the lengthening shadows, which combined with my exhausted muscles and meager experience to produce plenty of falls.
Click on thumbnails for slideshow
Alpine touring skis have bindings that can be released at the heel so that your foot pivots upwards from the front of the boot (allowing a semi-natural walking motion), but they can also be fixed down. The skis have “skins” that can be stuck on the bottom surface to provide resistance to them sliding backwards which makes skiing uphill possible.