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Journeys : August September 2009
Destinations Mobile range Cross-country calls at Falls Creek Chris Viney Falls Creek ski touring rings. I “Mate, g’day. Yeah, up at Falls. Magic, mate. Sun and snow and you know what. Yeah, me and Roxie, Pip and Davo. Mate, absolutely brilliant. Matter of fact we’re all on the quad chair right now, heading up for a couple of runs on Dick’s Folly. No worries mate, catch you then.” He hangs up before a flush gives him away. Victoria’s popular alpine resort of Falls Creek has some of the nation’s best intermediate downhill skiing, a funky entertainment scene and plenty of cheerful bars and restaurants like Cloud Nine and Dicky Knees, where the balconies are made for sitting in the sun, sipping a VB and chatting on your mobile. But when the lift queues lengthen and the blue runs are clogged with green downhillers, it’s good to drag off your big plastic boots, slip into something more comfortable and ski away from the crowds at a cross-country pace, building on a skill you’re already good at – walking! 16 June / July 09 August / September 09 ’m sitting in a cubicle at Cloud Nine. Next door, someone’s mobile phone In a good season, there are over 60 kilometres of groomed cross-country tracks at Falls Creek, radiating out from Nordic Bowl, a wide, tree-studded hollow near the hydro storage lake that fills Rocky Valley. Home base for cross-country skiers is Windy Corner, where equipment can be hired and trail tickets purchased – resortbased cross-country skiing doesn’t come free, but with a day ticket costing less than a couple of hamburgers, it’s a lot cheaper than the downhill slopes. The cross-country trail grooming machines do their work in the early hours of the morning, breaking the icy crust and leaving behind a broad, neatly-ribbed central swathe for the fast and graceful cross-country skaters, who make widelyspaced herringbone tracks in the snow as they spring forward as if they’re on blades; and two pairs of neat parallel grooves on the sides for the slower ones like me whose skis stay obediently side by side. From Nordic Bowl, groomed trails meander back along easy viaduct gradients into the Falls Creek Village; out into Sun Valley at the foot of the chairlifts, T-bars and pomas; and across the Rocky Valley dam wall Rocky Valley Dam Charlie Brown Charlie Brown
June July 2009
October November 2009