This week we found ourselves on the year 9 ski trip to Mount Hotham in Victoria. We left Clare on Sunday night and slept at Chance's house in Adelaide. We got up very early and were at the airport at 7:00 ready to meet kids to fly out at 10:00 to Melbourne where we would catch our bus to Mount Hotham or to "the snow" as the Aussies say.
After a very windy road with a sheer drop off the side we finally made it to Jalanga Lodge where we would be staying on Mount Hotham for the week. All of the kids were very excited to see snow for the first time and it didn't take long for the snowballs to start flying! We had dinner and then got all of the kids settled down for the night as we had to be up at 5:45 to make it to the rental shop on time the next morning.
Our first day was interesting. It was very funny to see all of the kids trying to ski for the first time. Walking and standing up seemed to be a struggle for some but others figured it out right away. We had our first lesson of the trip and it was very crowded. No one was allowed to go up the lifts until after lunch. I managed to sneak Layla onto the tow-rope and to the bunny hill toward the end of the lesson and she immediately remembered what to do. We headed over to the Big D after lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon cruising down some green runs and picking up Aussie kids that had "stacked" it while attempting to go down the hill. The day just flew by and before we knew it we were back in the lodge having dinner and getting all of the kinks out for the next day.
Wednesday started off rather horribly as we jugggled between busses to find one that could take us up to the Summit. We finally got on two that were crammed and made it to our lessons 1/2 hour too late. The lessons went much better this time as our instructor took us right up the lift straight away and down a blue run...baptism by fire I guess. The snow was a lot different than at home. They have to make most of their snow and it gets really slushy by mid afternoon. It is very similar to late spring skiing at home. Layla did great going down the blue runs and we had a super day at the summit. That night we headed back to the Big D for night skiing (along with every other school group at the hill) and had a very hard time not getting run over by novice snowboarders. We decided to leave a bit early before anyone got too hurt; a smart idea as kids were starting to get really tired.
Thursday was our last full day of skiing and we definitely made the most of it. After going down the same blue runs we decided to take a different chair up to some other blue runs that go off of the "Milky Way" run. We took 4 girls with us that were not too great but were willing to try something new. After getting the edge of the first drop of the Milky Way Layla panicked and decided she was not going to ski this run. We walked down the first quarter of the hill and then had to turn on to a different run. After falling into a tree we slid on our bums halfway down the slope until ski patrol arrived and helped Layla down. It was blood, sweat, and tears at Mount Hotham but we made it down, vowing to never go there again! After our harrowing adventure we managed to find a good loop of blue runs that Layla was very confident to ski down. She has progressed so much in such a short time, doing parallel turns with ease and confidence. Leanne and I are so proud of her!
Friday was our last lesson, time to return gear, and last meal before loading up the bus to head back to Melbourne and catch our plane home. It was a great trip with no injuries, just some injured pride on behalf of some of the footy boys, but nothing that won't heal in time. We were grateful to get home to a familiar bed and be able to sleep off some of the ski hill.