Monday, August 31, 2009
last night walking home through the whirling snow, a card fluttered from the sky and landed at my feet. lucky me ! it was the Ace of Spades ! I dont play cards or subscribe to the poker-mania that has taken over my friends in the past few years but I do know that the Ace of Spades is the big kahuna of cards......
but after a google search I have since discovered that it is, amongst other things, the death card; it can represent lost love; the US marines used it in the Vietnam War as an anti-peace sign; and more recently it was used to represent Saddam Hussein in the 'most wanted' deck of cards issued to US soldiers in Iraq...
crikey...now why would it land at my feet ?
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
but not today. the skies were clear this morning over the bluff but I was fooled (bluffed perhaps) and thus went skiing with too little clothing. silly me. the wind was a shocker ...minus 2 but with wind chill I am estimating minus 8. bitterly cold. to the bone. came home at lunchtime. getting soft. like the snow.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
whilst everyone is very excited about the recent MEGA snowfalls, we're all hoping that we get some sunshine by the weekend. actually I would like a 'bluebird Friday' so I can ski some of that new snow by myself - before the weekend warriors arrive. right now the mountain is covered in a vertigo-inducing fog and it's a bit hard to see anything at all, unless you are right on top of it. poles and people and trees tend to appear very quickly out of the mist....
no doubt the ABOM Mogul Challenge organisers are praying for a sunny Friday as well - must be a heck of a challenge to make a straight mogul course when you can't see what it is you are building. and obviously it's near impossible to spot the landing from 15 metres up. yeah, seriously - look at the photo and think about it. that's Buller boy Brodie Summers showing his style at last week's National Championships at Perisher - it's a long way down isnt it ?
photo: Drew Wilson
Monday, August 24, 2009
This weekend we're all heading up to the Summit area at Mt Buller to see some serious ski action: and to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the ABOM Mogul Challenge, a fun event for athletes and competitors alike. It's one of the oldest continuously-running race events in the ski world, attracting the best of the best - skiers who come to compete for the prestige and the prize money.
And in the lead up to a Winter Olympics year, this 21st ABOM Mogul Challenge is going to be an exciting preview of those athletes who are in their final preparations for Vancouver 2010.
The ABOM Mogul course is steep and scary and the competitors have to have strong nerves and even stronger knees to even consider tackling the course. In under a minute each competitor has to fly over a couple of jumps execute some serious tricks and tackle around 50 bumps on their way down the course. The dual competition is even more exciting. Its a great spectator event and on a sunny day there's no better place to be....
If you come up to Buller this weekend make some time to drop in to the National Alpine Museum where an exhibition of ABOM memorabilia and posters from the past 21 years are on display- it's a serious riot of colours and a trip down memory lane.
This year the poster was designed by Melbourne artist Jay Walker who is also responsible for the new look TBR website and seriously cool image update.
girls waiting for the course inspection to begin - this means you get to slowly ski down the side of the course with your coach, discuss all the tricky bits, memorise the scary bits and make a game plan.
on the other side of that little tent is a icy, steep drop and a race course....
Accidentally stayed at Dinner Plain last week as there was no accommodation on Hotham and I think I am now a convert to the very tasteful, colour co-ordinated, architectural vision that is DP. Everything is built from wood, stone and glass and the colour pallet is a variation on the gum tree - from muted greens to murky browns and everything in between - blending in nicely with the alpine scenery.
All very tasteful and just one thing missing - people ! seriously its mid-winter, peak snow season and on quick walk around the place, at any given time of the day, one would be lucky to see more than a dozen people. My daughter, who is not a fan of suburbia likened it to living in the Truman Show. Many 4,5,6 bedroom homes seemed deserted which seemed crazy as Hotham was literally bursting at the seams last week. On further investigation we discovered that real estate prices at DP are *sob* much cheaper than other resorts around the country, with a four bedroom stand alone chalet around one third of the price of comparable home at Buller. Therefore I have deduced that DP folk obviously don't feel the need to rent out their 'weekenders' to cover their costs.
DP has really got it together with some fabulous restaurants, cozy bars and live music every night of the week. bonus ! and the locals are super friendly.
The downside is it feels a little like a new tract-housing development on the outskirts of town, with lots of unfinished houses, empty blocks, one way streets and culs-de-sac.....annoying when you need to get somewhere fast, because if you don't know the shortcuts you have no chance, as I soon discovered - an early evening stroll to a friend's house for dinner turned into a cross-country marathon when I got a bit lost, stuck in the mud and started thinking about Stephen King movies, with deserted streets and empty houses staring at me. oh yeah and NO mobile phone reception ! (go Vodaphone).
Seriously though, its a nice place and going to be even better when they finish it.
early morning start for the races. kids up at 5am, meet team at 6am, a few warm up runs and then course inspection at 7.30 am. race starts at 8.30am. upside is sometimes you get to see a spectacular sunrise over the Australian Alps........
photo: Steve Lee
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
on a personal level, the 2009 ski season is turning out to be a doozy for accidents - actually three to date, which makes me hope I'm immune for the remainder of the season.....ironically though, only one accident was actually on the snow and before you ask, none were late at night.
I have previously debated the merits of a helmet but when I saw these jeans from Acne's 2010 spring/summer lookbook well, you can understand the attraction. and I'm wondering how I could possibly incorporate this look into a ski ensemble - visualising a combination of low-key metallic fabric and armour plating. something edgy, new age and shiny. space odyssey meets first knight. yep. thats what I need.
this mountain has some weird and wonderful stuff to pass the time. we've had Xmas in July; Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream in midwinter; a gnome walk; 80's day; and 'Talk Like a Pirate Day' (ha ha ??!!! reckon the marketing department was on some serious mind altering substance when they thought that one up). maybe it's assumed that if we all go around talking like pirates it will distract from the waiting-for-snow-pass-the-time-boredom........
anyway the favourite in this household is definitely 80's day....my kids just love it. they get to raid the special spot under the stairs where old ski gear goes to 'rest'.
the princess will kill me for this one - but here she is last year wearing a particularly attractive ensemble of mine from the late 80's....note the lighting bolt effect on the pants, which tuck into the boots - my original boots were white and green as well. the big joke on 80's day of course is that sometimes you can't tell the ironic-wearing locals from the punters STILL wearing their original 80's gear. they all mix in so well.
September 5th - come on up......give it a go ... step back in time, don some fluoro and punish yourself with the 'zipper test'. and I'm secretly hoping that someone reminds marketing to play 80's music ALL DAY.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Some things just make you go BOOM !!!!
I love fonts, typeface, letters, signage, packaging, whatever......I think they're quite beautiful. it could stem from my love of reading (books, magazines, anything) which my family says is bordering on obsessive (ya think ??!)
when I was a teen I had an obsession with my Dymo labelling apparatus - I labelled everything I owned including my beloved mixed-tape CASSETTE collection, with my trusty Dymo. so I was just in seventh heaven when a friend sent this link - all dedicated to font-making. and this particular story is about making an alphabet in the snow (sorry Gordon, but this beats snow angels hands-down !) its fun and interesting to watch the process and then you can download NOMAK font FOR FREE !!! RIGHT HERE
the fontmaker is Chank Diesel and isn't that just the best name ? you can go to Chank's site here Chank and look at his other fonts as well
I also like the 'atomic sea-snakes' story, made in Vegas.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Today I watched athletes from Australia's Olympic Aerialist Team train - wow ! death defying leaps into the air ! the athletes are here for the month of August on a training camp and it's such a joy to see them flying high and landing with so much ease. whether on the snow at the Chamois aerial site or down in the gym those girls look fierce and determined, and I would hazard a guess that the dream of Olympic Gold is set firmly within their sites.
The Australian aerialists have had more luck on the international stage, at the elite World Cup and Olympic level than any other winter sport discipline; and Mt Buller has the distinction of being able to claim Jacqui Cooper as one of our own. some locals will recall Jacqui stacking shelves and packing groceries at the local supermarket back in the day ! now she holds the undisputed title of greatest ever female aerial skier, is a five time World Champion and is currently in training for her fifth and final Olympics ! dogged by bad luck and even badder injuries Jacqui hasn't managed to snag a medal in four attempts, so we are all hoping that 2010 in Vancouver is the year it all comes together for her.
The Chamois site at Mt Buller has been a hive of activity lately with much toing and froing with snowcats and big boys toys pushing the snow around and building the impressive looking jumps - lovingly hand finished by a few coaches and TBR professionals with shovels.......
insiders say that this training ground could give our athletes an edge when it comes to next year's Olympics, as Australia has the only team able to practice on snow, right now. it may be just what we need to pull ahead of the super challenging Chinese team.
Its a pity we don't have any of the international aerial events here at Buller any more but the practice almost makes up for that. at this point the athletes seem to be only trying out single somersaults and I am really looking forward to see them train the double and in Jacqui Cooper's case the TRIPLE - its her speciality and could be just the ticket for GOLD in Vancouver next year. now that would be a nice finale to an impressive athletics career.
[aussie, aussie, aussie....!]
Monday, August 10, 2009
the worst sound ever is the sound of a helicopter landing at Buller on a Sunday night - because you can guarantee that it's no joyride up there - whirring helicopter blades usually mean that someone is being airlifted out. being a good catholic I make a sign of the cross and silently pray that it's no friend or child I know. but really you wouldn't wish that ride on anyone.
I heard that sound last night and that got me thinking : as frockwriter has been asking me about the helmet situation on the ski fields here in Australia and I assume that since the death of high-profile actress Natasha Richardson a lot of people have been debating the helmet issue; in particular a lot of mums.
it's a given that kids wear helmets whilst skiing, because the ski schools and their associated ski programs wouldn't think of accepting them otherwise. so pretty much everyone under 15 is wearing a helmet and one would think that everyone else would be following suit. especially mums and dads. makes sense right ?
I decided to do a quick straw poll amongst my ski buddies and came up with the following results: around 80% of mums are wearing helmets. around 50% of dads wear helmets; around 50% of ski instructors wear helmets; 80% of ski patrol wear helmets; 90% kids under 15 are wearing helmets; 20% kids between 15 and 20 are wearing helmets; negligible % of males between 18 and 30 are wearing helmets.
The biggest group not wearing helmets are the ones most likely to be at risk - boys aged 18 to 30 - they're the ones I think likely to go too fast, to not take a lesson and (yes I hate to say it) be snowboarding.....they're the ones who think they're invincible and they're the ones to avoid on the ski runs !
I have to declare here that I am not a fan of the helmet - find them slightly claustrophobic and hate having my peripheral vision compromised; and having a thick mane of hair I also seem to over-heat when wearing a helmet.
and while I do think the Richardson accident highlighted how easy it is to die from a fall it did seem to be a tragic serious of events - she was a beginner, on a nursery slope and not moving very fast.
but because of that particular accident and the MANY discussions ensuing since, I am open to the helmet idea and have been trawling some internet sites (namely MOMO the tres cool Italian motorbike helmet manufacturer) in the hope that some-one is making a design I can live with. Or maybe ...I can't live without ?
* sadly Fornasetti didnt make any ski helmets, but his plates are now available at Aurelio Costarella's flagship store POST EMPIRE - in fact he's got the whole range - that's if Bradley Perkins doesn't get there before you !
Sunday, August 9, 2009
a great weekend at Buller - with fresh snow on Friday and sunshine on Saturday and Sunday - only problem for the locals is the fact we had to share all that new snow with the weekend warriors ! but we managed to wring out every last minute - pic shows the last rays of sun just before the last run of the day and that was right before the last t-bar ride of the day.....doesnt get any better than that !
Saturday, August 8, 2009
ok, ImeldaMatt, the Despotic Queen has been asking for some GLAMAH from the aussie ski fields (an oxymoron Im sure) and I know that while this is not quite a shoe post, it is golden in a DQOS kinda way......
and all is forgiven because you don't see this beautiful juxtaposition of leopard print and snakeskin every day. yessireee.....shake a celebratory tailfeather.....that is real, authentic and genuine snakeskin on those skis and if you look real close, you will notice that the ski poles match.
.....snakeskin covered skis....yep real snakeskin with matching poles. Bogner is the brand just in case you're interested......
word slope-side is that the Toorak mamas living at Buller, will not have to forgo their cosmetic procedures next season, with a well-known Melbourne doctor negotiating to set up a clinic here. while we do have a great spa at Breathtaker for all the manicures, pedicures and waxing maintenance, it seems there could be a bigger, more varied range of options in 2010.
Dr 'snow-TOX' seems confident that his regulars will keep him more than busy next ski season. it's funny really because it is truly hard to get a decent blow dry or tint on the mountain and here we are - jumping right into the big time !
but what I really want to know is this: do 'fillers' work well in below freezing conditions? remember when you were a kid and people would say things like "your face will stay that way if the wind changes"? hmmmm......there could be a lot of funny looking mummies on the mountain whose faces freeze up as they're zooming down the ski runs... and don't even get me started on moguls !
at home later: "dont worry baby, mummy just needs a heat pack, so her face can thaw out"
Friday, August 7, 2009
so happy to report that we made it through the first FIS races of the princess's ski career, without injury or DQ's. the weather cleared for day two of the event yesterday, although the howling wind was coming right off the Antarctic (well ok...it FELT like it) and being situated in the Summit area, there was no reprieve for racers and spectators alike.
the FIS races have been renamed the Tom Mathias Memorial Race (Tom was a MBRC member who succumbed to secondary cancer due to melanoma recently) and his mum Julie came to the races on both days and awarded prizes at the presentation afterwards. It was happy/sad and a very emotional moment. Julie mentioned later that she was so pleased that Tom would be remembered in this celebratory way.
the contingent for the races was truly international with competitors from US, Austria, Slovakia, Canada, Israel, Scotland, UK, Sweden, Netherlands and of course Australia. bit of a thrill to hear 'next comes Hannah Lock representing Australia" I must say. princess finished a respectable mid-field but I was just happy to see here finish at all with around 20% of the competitors blowing out yesterday.
the tough competition means her FIS points go down, and apparently the idea is to go as low as possible: points start at 999 and go backwards; and points are deducted for time and position; who your racing against, where they are in the international field; and which way the wind is blowing I suspect....then its all sent to some guy in Switzerland to calculate...coz, yeah, the Swiss are good at counting.... !
frankly I dont understand any of it and as a helpful dad was explaining it to me, I found the colour on my skies to be particularly mesmerising yesterday......so really I'm none the wiser and, at this point, fully intend to go through the rest of her ski career like that...blissfully unaware.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
a whole new world has opened up to our skiing family this week: teen daughter at 15yrs of age has left the jolly world of children's ski racing and joined the scary, big grown-up world of F.I.S. ski racing (International Federation of Skiers). yep it seems that after 15 you are considered of an age to compete with the big people. and by big I mean BIG ! facial hair and thighs like xmas hams. 100 kgs of muscle poured into skin-tight lycra suits and thats just the girls ha ! joking (well kinda).
but really, as an aside, if you want to have a career as a ski racer you do need to make decision to give up those sass+bide skinny jeans...and that is a fact.
however you do get the opportunity to pour yourself into a lycra suit and stand around in minus zero temperatures before speeding down an icy ski hill really, really fast. and mum gets to watch.