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Skiing Down Under #1 - Reporting from Australia!
By:  Andrew Wynd   (2005/06/20)

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As a new member of XC Ottawa, I find myself in the privileged position to be able to contribute to the website all the way from Australia. I guess everyone may first like a bit of a background story, so here goes.

As a 26 year old, I was introduced to skiing relatively late in life at 15, when a school ski trip caught my eye! This was the first time I had seen snow, since living in Melbourne is a long way from the skifields. Australia has snow only for 3 months of the year, and only in higher elevations, 1500m and above. The main ski areas are in the south eastern regions of the country, with the main ski fields being Falls Creek, Perisher Valley, Mt.Hotham, Mt.Buller and my home resort, Lake Mountain.

I have spent the last 3 years on the National XC Ski Team in the continental cup squad, racing here in our winter and then travelling to the Northern Hemisphere to compete in your winter. I have raced many times in Canada and North America and have travelled with the Australian Team throughout Europe and Scandinavia. This year I have decided living and training in the city of Melbourne is not enough to progress my skiing prowess, so I am taking off and heading to Ottawa at the end of the year.

Why Ottawa? As a physiotherapist, I am hoping to work in a professional environment and yet be able to train for skiing on-snow as much as possible. This will be very different to doing the majority of my training on rollerskis and cross training with triathlon type session. I am hoping this will take me to the next level in skiing.

The Australian season thus far. . .

Here we are all waiting for the first decent snowfall. Which actually may occur today coincidentally! The weather patterns are changing to a more temperate climate throughout the year, winters are warmer and summers are nowhere near as hot as they used to be. The official opening of the ski season was last weekend, but no one has been skiing as yet. Personally I am hoping the snow falls later, as I am currently rehabilitating from a stress fracture in my foot, so the later it falls the better!

The rest of the National Team is based in Falls Creek and reports from up there have been positive, with the ground being cool enough now to retain any snow that falls in the next few days. The closest cross country area to Melbourne is Lake Mountain (120kms), which boasts 37kms ( hey, thatís a lot for us OK) of groomed trails which are very undulating and often narrow through the gum trees that grow abundantly. The elevation at Lake Mountain is a little lower than other resorts, so we need very cold temperatures to get good skiing conditions.

Iíll be sure to keep everyone updated on the snow conditions and the race season as it happens, with our race calendar commencing in July. Furthermore I look forward to meeting everyone and having a ski later in the year. Stay tunedÖ..

 
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