The early bird catches the worm is our motto when it comes to the Year 10 Snow Camp! With a super early start time of 4.45am, 24 students promptly arrived at school on Thursday, 17 August for an exciting two day adventure to the snow with Mr Johnston, Mrs Hebblethwaite and Mr Halliday!
As usual, most were keen to catch some shut eye on the bus ride to Mansfield. On our arrival at the Alzberg Motel, it was all hands on deck to quickly unload luggage, be fitted with our all-important ski/snowboard gear and last, but not least, tuck into a warm breakfast to get us through the rest of the morning.
Reboarding the bus, we excitedly awaited the first signs of snow as we made our way up the mountain. Fortunately it’s been a good season, so we were glad to see plenty of snow when we arrived - although ‘seeing’ was not at a premium as visibility was hampered by alternating snow and rain and low lying cloud. However, while visibility was poor, the snow conditions were good which is always a blessing for Snow Camp!
Once boots were on, it was time for students to make their way to their ski and snowboard lessons, with students being grouped off into their experience levels. As the first timers had a little extra time up their sleeves before their lesson started, they happily pottered around in the village area to get the hang of their equipment before venturing onto the Blue Bullet Express chairlift.
As lunch time rolled around, students were grateful to have some time out at the Abom to dry off their snow gear and restore their energy levels. Despite the weather, excitement to put new-found/refined skills into practice was not dampened so it was back to the slopes for the afternoon on Bourke Street, Abom Express and Shaky Knees.
When 4pm rolled around, it was time to down the skis, boards and boots and head back to the Alzberg to unpack, settle into our rooms and try out the pool and sauna to sooth some aching muscles. We then sat down to a hearty dinner of roast pork with vegetables and bread and butter pudding for dessert.
After a good night’s sleep our second and final day started with a 6.30am wake-up call. It was another somewhat busy start to the day as we had to pack up our rooms before heading up the mountain. Despite the weather forecast being similar to the previous day, we were all super keen to get back on the slopes!
The snowfall started early and we were greeted by it not far up the mountain – something we had never seen in our previous snow camps. It was quite magical watching the beautiful fluffy snowflakes drift down onto the surrounding trees and the road – a bit like a winter wonderland! Although, while the snowfall was pretty to watch, unfortunately it caused havoc on the roads with cars and even another bus struggling to gain traction. Fortunately our bus driver Francis, with his years of experience, took it all in his stride. He fitted the chains with ease and we were on our way. Unfortunately with the traffic delays, we were unable to make it to our scheduled 10am lessons; however, our students were very understanding of this and grateful for the efforts of Francis to get us up the mountain safely. This meant they had more free time to ski/board in their groups which there were no complaints about!
With extremely poor visibility again, we limited our runs to Bourke Street, Abom Express and Shaky Knees; however, this was not a deterrent to students as they enjoyed the opportunity to make the most of the lovely fresh, soft snow.
As the afternoon rolled around again, it was time to bid Mt Buller farewell - though we had plenty of time to do so! With snow still falling, the roads again were a challenge for all traffic so it was a slow ride down. However, Francis did us proud once again and despite several broken down cars, and a car and bus that had run into a ditch, we again arrived safely back at the Alzberg with no issues. It was then a quick equipment drop off, luggage pick up and change of clothes before departing for a dinner stop in Yea and then home to Norwood.
While there had been many a face-plant, and time spent on hands, knees and bottoms, the can-do, super positive attitudes of our students were extremely commendable and made for a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable trip – despite the weather! For some this was their first time at the snow and for others their first time boarding or skiing. By the end, a number of them were completely taken with the experience and more than eager to return again soon for another opportunity to experience some more high altitude alpine adventures.
A big thank you must go to Mr Johnston for organising Snow Camp 2017 – he did a wonderful job coordinating the camp this year and we really appreciate the time and effort that went into it. We would also like to sincerely thank Mr Dane Halliday (CRT) for joining us - we really appreciate the extra time you put in to be on this camp with us. Lastly, to our bus driver, Francis – thank you for keeping us safe and sound on the roads. The collective efforts of the staff and students allowed this camp to run extremely smoothly and be an enjoyable experience for all involved. Well done to all!
Posted on Mon, September 11, 2017
by Julia Hebblethwaite