Saturday, August 6, 2011

To Baw Baw and Beyond

Two and a half hours East of Melbourne lies the small but charismatic Mt. Baw Baw (like paw paw, with a B). Although often forgotten when talk of Australian alpine resorts is raised, Baw Baw has a charm which the other big players seem to have lost. I imagine it would resemble skiing at Mt. Buller/Mt. Hotham or Falls Creek 50 years ago. All the staff know each other, not just by name, but also by personality.

This was the setting for my first Chicks with Stix road trip of the year. Usually I'm in New Zealand at this time of year, training or competing. But a recent foot injury has grounded me for the Southern winter, giving me a chance to rediscover what Aussie skiing is all about.

At times, it's about roughing it.

After a winding drive through beautiful sub tropical rainforest (which almost had Ali spewing up her Subway), we pulled up into Baw Baw's village late Thursday night. Reluctant to move from keeping his one and only customer happy, the bar man made a gesture which meant we were to find our own room.

Inside we found snowboard coach Hannah Studd and friend curled up in their thin sleeping bags, attempting to keep warm. After convincing the bar man to let us off from renting, yes renting, pillows for the night, Zoe, Ali and I were soon to join them.

After the horrors of dorm style accommodation were passed, it was time for me to be reminded of the fun that small Australian ski resorts can offer. Arriving to a group of keen bean girls, excited to ski together and learn instantly made me forget about my bad nights sleep.

Zoe immediately got down to business, exchanging names and stories and explaining what Chicks with Stix is all about.

The morning was jam packed with working on switch skiing , 180s and conquering all the boxes that Baw Baw's sweet park had to offer.

After a delicious lunch at Kelly's (were I found a rad Ned Kelly mask), we were back to it. By the end of the day, all the girls had learnt how to slide the boxes sideways and a couple of them were even popping off them to switch! Talk about progression.

After a full day of skiing, it was time to say good-bye. But not without awarding some prizes first. Bec won a pair of limited edition Leanne Pelosi Dragon goggles, for improving the most throughout the session, plus demonstrating unrelenting determination. Emily then took out the best trick award for her mastery of learning edge control (scissoring) on the flat down box. Check her skills out below.

Thanks so much to Mt. Baw Baw for having us and to all the girls who showed up and made us proud. Next stop for Chicks with Stix is Thredbo, next Saturday 13th August. Hope to see you there!

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