Jul 17, 2017

The Snow.

And after an epic 5 hour drive home/ test of endurance / battle of wills just like that, we are home. 

Preschooler SSG's treasures from our weekend away, as found in the bottom of my handbag.  His Grill'd lamb model only has three legs.  It's going to be a very long day....

Our bags are unpacked and stowed away, various delicate cycles of washing have been run for the ski gear (despite this, I will still need to go over them with waterproofing spray after they've dried) and the groceries have been bought for the coming week.

After an indulgent three days of chips and indulgent energy dense meals on account of the cold and all the energy I expended to 'keep warm' (under my thermals and ski gear),  these carrots and zucchinis from The Odd Bunch were a sight for my vitamin deficient eyes.

But I wasn't so vitamin deplete that I had to walk past these wheels of Margaret River Club Cheddar.  I'm on for morning tea at work this week and Good Cheddar is the cornerstone of any work related talk fest.

As far as first family road trips go, heading to The Snow isn't a bad destination.  Just driving far, far away from the city was a holiday in itself.  Endless, perfectly maintained roads ribboned in front of us.  The high rises and offices of the city gave way to warehouses before finally becoming a series of landscapes of farm land, forests and mountains.  

We were blessed with perfect weather, great coffee vans at our rest points and travelling in a group made all the little dramas less catastrophic than they might have been.  There were always at least two pairs of adult eyes on the boys and we automatically slotted ourselves into parent on duty shifts.  So we all managed to get sleep ins, a ridiculously long hot shower, phone time or just that luxury of some time not spent with your mind half on what your preschooler may be up to in the next room.

It's just as well, really, because I found myself lost in the view outside on our balcony on more than one occasion.

I'd start off trying to have breakfast at the dining table

before migrating to the couch to kick back and watch the beauty of the sunrise unfold before me.

Oh there was a lot of aged leather couch time.

There were two things I did with all that time.

The first was to drink endless mugs of tea made on the bench top of the kitchen that I was secretly hoping I could bring home with me to Sydney.  The clever use of space, the bench top, the beautiful exposed brick feature wall, the wooden finishes...

It was all Ikea and much more sturdy and substantial than I had imagined an Ikea kitchen would be in real life.

But, I digress.  The second thing I was doing was getting lost in the world of Dominic Smith's 'The Last Painting of Sara de Vos'.

You are in for such a treat if you haven't already read this novel by Smith, an Australian who now resides in the US.  Where do I begin?  This novel jumps time between centuries and decades, it drifts gracefully between cities (New York and Sydney), it is part modern-ish romance, part art history and part intrigue.

The Sara of the title was a Dutch artist of the mid 1600s who was the only woman to be admitted to the Guild of St Lukes in Holland as a master painter. It is her painting of funeral in the mid winter that Ellie, now a respected art historian at The University of Sydney and the Art Gallery of NSW successfully forged in a fit of young adult rebellion.

I loved everything about this novel.  As a person cringingly ignorant of art history, the insight into the world of 17th century painters, art forgery and the politics of modern art galleries was fascinating.  As an adopted Sydney sider with a long term casual but committed relationship with the US, I enjoyed reading Marty's views of Sydney as an American outsider (from New York, a very privileged part of it... Manhattan I think).  As someone who still believes in imperfect love stories in a rom com world, I was entranced by Ellie and Marty/Jake's liaison.

I did manage to tear myself away from the wintery printed world of Sara de Vos as well as Preschooler SSG's Frozen vision of winter as imagined by the Disney studios (the boys watched the DVD twice over the weekend) and get out the door to see some actual snow.

After we got past the good natured parking and security team at Perisher, that is.

So far from Sydney but I still couldn't escape its parking dramas.

Luckily the shuttle buses were frequent and efficient.

Preschooler SSG loved Perisher.  We spent the morning (two hours) on the very family friendly snow play zone towards the front of where the actual ski runs were.

For a first timer on the snow, he definitely was not his mother's child.

Plastic fruit bags do have a purpose in life.  They're great for keeping new woollen socks dry inside the supposedly waterproof snow boot you wore as you jumped in a puddle of melted snow....

He plunged head first into the snow, snow boot first into puddles and kept dragging his sled higher and higher up the hill on his own.

 Sometimes he'd take me along for a ride but mostly he'd tear down alone without fear.

I think he'll be in snow school skiing or boarding next year.  Whichever of the two puts a little less of a chill down my spine.

We forgot to bring our Sydney carrot to make a Perisher snow man but found this beautiful young man made by people more practiced in snow man creation than I.

How could you not love a place like the Snowy Mountains where villages are named things like Smiggin Holes whose trees look like this against a sky of endless pristine white cloud and bluer than blue sky?

Sunday was as picture perfect as Saturday.

After bidding farewell to our lovely apartment, we made tracks for Thredbo.  Where the skiiers and snow boarders are hardcore as is their accommodation.  There's a whole village bordering the runs and it winds up hill with as much organized chaos (and understated money) as the older suburbs of Sydney's east.

But first coffee, hot chocolate and donuts.

After a morning of competitive sledding, Preschooler SSG decided he was up for a chair lift ride,  Actually, we have to call it a 'flying chair'.

Because that's what Preschooler SSG felt like he was doing as we bobbed gently in the breeze too many metres above the ground.

There was so much to see.  So many numbers to count off.  So many signs to try and read while his mother tried to hide her moments of panic.

It was so restorative being up above the action.  Looking down on the skiers, the water, the trees and the snow with the sun on my face and my lungs full of mountain air.

I'll never be a skier.  A person who's earned those beers and hot chips at the bar after doing a few black diamond runs without breaking a sweat.

But I'll always enjoy the chance to just be out there in the snow.  To feel it crunching under my snow boot shod two left feet.  To take in the colour of the skiers against the snow.  To feel that sun, to breathe that air, to absorb the unforgiving beauty of a very special part of the world where I'm very much the guest and not the master.

Until next time.


  1. I will never be able to think of Smiggin Holes without thinking of Roy and HG. ;)


  2. I loved your wrap up of your snow trip SSG! It sounds incredible. I'd love to take my boys one year, although perhaps waiting until they are a little older and I feel a little more capable of handling such a different environment with them, ha!

  3. A few things -

    Ignorant American alert - I had NO idea that Australia had snow and mountains for skiing!

    Bags on feet! I thought that was unique to my little corner of the world! Every mother kept a stash of bread bags specifically to line our childhood boots.

    Best to start kiddos when they are young. My son started skiing at 2.5 yo with his grandmother.

  4. Beautiful. Love it. You are a great mum xx


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