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Trip Report elSpike's first Aussie SkiSki Trip 2019

Discussion in 'Falls Creek' started by elSpike, Jun 1, 2019.

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  1. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you see us do say hello. We are here today and tomorrow, then it’s back to the real world and no more snow until December!
     
  2. Becky

    Becky Hard Yards

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    We are actually staying at Ropers Apartments which is attached to Pretty Valley lodge so we may see you at the bar as we have access to the lodge facilities, enjoy you day today!
     
  3. Scooter

    Scooter One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Love the updates @elSpike - you have sold me Pretty Valley - I'm a fan of a good buffet and reckon I would consider staying there now just based on your pics :D

    I have actually stayed at Ropers Apartments previously (and plenty of other places) but not sure I have ever eaten or drunk at the Cock 'n' Bull

    Out of interest what made you decide on a down under ski trip (as opposed to just putting that spend towards another Japan ski trip)?

    Enjoy and keep up the updates :thumbs:
     
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  4. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ha! That wasn’t my intention, but I’m glad because I’d happily recommend it to anyone. Just good Aussie hospitality in an old school Lodge.

    My wife and boys were coming down to visit family for some of the school holidays (4 weeks at the Aussie school in Singapore) and the big dump happened a few weeks back And some stars aligned with this week at work so we thought why not. We’ve been eyeing off experiencing snow on the eucalypts for a few years as well. 9 months between snow under the planks is a long wait too.

    Being so close, and having so many airline miles due to work, we are super lucky and get to do 2-3 ski trips a year to Japan. We’ve actually never skied anywhere else until this week!
     
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  5. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    4 July 2019 - Day 5 - Bluebird Groundhog Day

    This morning’s wake up was to the lingering dreams of last night’s dinner of Porterhouse Pork Chop and an Apple Crumble dessert along with a lovely red from Barry’s cellar and some excellent conversation with two other families.

    Two bacon and egg sammys and a couple of coffees put fuel in the tank for what turned out to be a rather full, but repetitive, day.





    The ride up Halley’s at precisely 8.25am foreshadowed the absolute bluebird of a day we were in for. The sky stayed the same brilliant blue well in to the afternoon, with just a hint of cloud later on.



    The snow was refreshed overnight with a couple of centimetres of fresh man made and groomed to the usual high standard. With the crisp temps it was running fast on Wombats and Main Street first up, with some notable ice patches near the bottom of Main where it joins with Highway.



    Unfortunately it was the same few runs open again so we were reduced to lapping again, but fun is what you make of it.

    Nastar was again roped off and a slalom run set up, with almost zero usage throughout the day.



    So races down Drovers and finding sneaky little twisted between the trees on the edge of Main were the order of the day.



    Sometimes a sneaky duck the rope and ignore an orange sign was needed too.




    Unfortunately the fast conditions on Main claimed at least one casualty but the Ski Patrol was on the job and had them wrapped up in the stretcher in less time than it took to do another run.



    On the way up Eagles we saw the state of summit. It’s in dire need of at least another meter before anything starts happening over there.



    Lunch at Pretty Valley tried its best to out do all the previous ones with tacos, tortillas, beans, meat, piles of jalapeños, and salads in a Mexican buffet extravaganza. I won’t lie to you good people. I ate the lunch of ten good men.

    We then rolled ourselves unsteadily back down the hill to do it all over again, this time the boys off by themselves while the wife and I essentially did laps of main street for 2 hours.





    The crowds, smaller than yesterday’s anyway, died down to just a trickle by 3.30pm





    Finally Nastar was open and we raced the clock to get as many runs in as possible before the Area Closed signee came out.



    With a final two runs of Wombats Combat, we were done with our penultimate day.

    For those of you playing at home, with determination you too can do 34.7 km of skiing on the same five runs if you put your mind to it!

     

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  6. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    5 July 2019 - Day 6 - Final Falls Fun

    It was an early start for team elSpike as we had to pack our bags and check out before starting the day’s ski festivities. Pretty Valley asks you to be out of the room by 9.30am on your final day, but you can store your gear and make use of the facilities until you leave, including availing yourself of the now nearly legendary lunch buffet.


    Incredible blue skies greeted us, with whispy white clouds and the sound of snow melt trickling through the trees accompanying our first run up Halley’s.



    Maybe Friday morning is a slow start but we seemed to have the mountain pretty much to ourselves for the first hour with corduroy to carve on every run.



    Not long after 9.30 that changed almost instantaneously. Empty as we left the top and then, Bam!, the masses appeared by the time we made it back up.



    Unfortunately, no more runs opened up today so we were forced to keep lapping the same five runs. The path to Eagles via Junction and Broadway were essentially dirt tracks, with signs indicating you may have to remove gear and walk for part of the way.



    That said there was fun to be had and photos to take. Skiing is skiing after all.



    It got into positive temperatures pretty early so the snow started softening early, with Wombats getting quite sticky by lunchtime.





    Sometimes the lift queues were straight on, and sometimes they were not. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it today.



    What coverage there was held up well but I think this weekend is going to be a little crowded with the influx of the second weekers and the northerners starting their holidays.

    Mr 11 even got brave enough to try his first park experience. He didn’t particularly care for it, saying “No. I’ve done it. That’s enough.” When asked if he wanted another go.



    We finished the day drinking in the views and savouring the feel of snow under the planks before we unclipped one last time before the long wait until December begins.





    The wrap up
    Our family thoroughly enjoyed our first non- Japanese ski experience. It was novel skiing in July and absolutely worth taking the time off to come down.

    As is probably abundantly clear, we were blown away by how fantastic Pretty Valley Lodge was and will wholeheartedly recommend staying there if you can. Barry, the owner, was a wonderful and generous host. He has assembled a lovely staff and he offers probably some of the best value accommodation you could find, on or off a mountain. The food is to die for, the set up where the children are fed first and then taken away to be entertained, while the adults have their meal is genius. We got to meet some great couples and families from all walks of life. The little bonuses of lunch on the first and last days and free equipment rental with some excellent quality performance skis just sealed the deal. A++ would stay there again.

    I don’t think we can really say we have experienced the true nature of Falls Creek skiing due to the lack of snow, but we had fun and were impressed with the snow making quality and how well the team maintained the runs each night. I do wish they had opened up the runs we could see over near Scott’s and ruined castle. I think even a couple more runs would have made all the difference.

    I understand the whys, but I really didn’t like them closing off Nastar’s each day for the race club, especially when it sat unused for hours and hours. Marking it as open and available in the app and website felt deceptive as it was probably our favourite run of those open.

    Thanks again for all of the advice in the lead up to our trip. This forum is so welcoming and filled with people who genuinely want to share their hobby and expertise.

    Thanks again for reading along each day and I hope these trip reports help someone else while they are doing their planning as all your reports helped us.

    See you all in my next trip report in the Japan thread where we take on Shiga, Myōkō and Naeba in December!

    elSpike out.

     
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  7. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    So pleased that you enjoyed Falls and Pretty Valley, even if the early season cover left a lot to be desired.

    If you can come back, I really hope you can manage to do it in August, or at least late July or early Sept, and see Falls with more open.
     
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  8. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Glad you had a good time - now you also have to rotate through Hotham, Buller, Perisher and Thredbo too! And then there’s NZ....
     
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  9. nezumi

    nezumi One of Us

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    And once you've done that there's Charlotte, Selwyn, Baw Baw, Ben Lomond, Mawsons....
     
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  10. gettingtooold

    gettingtooold One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Pity you didn't see Faĺls with full coverage
    You'd love it.
    Great trip reports and hope you come back again to see it fully open. Cheers.
     
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  11. Mouse_M

    Mouse_M Hard Yards

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    I'm so glad you enjoyed Falls Creek. We love it there. We are Queenslanders and don't get to go the snow all through the season. However, we love our 10 days in August at Falls Creek. Your photos make me home sick (for what feels like my home away from home). We have never stayed at Pretty Valley but I think it may be higher up our list for another trip. We ask our girls (15 &12) where they want to go and they always say Falls...they have done those runs again and again, but there is something that keeps bringing us back!
     
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  12. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh. I forgot.

    My slopes tally for the trip was not too shabby.

     
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  13. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Impressive- how does that compare to a Japanese trip?
     
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  14. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    Great question!

    More vert and longer runs. Here is a 4 days and an afternoon compared to the 5 days and an afternoon above.



    Ninja edit. I thought the share image had it but it doesn’t. This is Myōkō’s four closest resorts. Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Ikenotaira Onsen and Suginohara.
     
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  15. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thx - a really interesting comparison.
     
  16. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Your trip reports are some of the best of any ski forum!

    I haven't skied in Australia but spent six months in Singapore a long time ago taking a semester off from college when my father was a visiting professor there. Can definitely imagine how refreshing it was to be on snow in July.

    Given what I've been reading about the crowds at Perisher and Thredbo this week, you did well to pick Falls and Pretty Valley. Not having to fuss about where to eat makes for a great family vacation. Getting to meet other families is a major bonus at a good lodge.

    Looking forward to the next trip report!
     
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  17. Scooter

    Scooter One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks - was curious what the motivations were if it was a dedicated down under ski trip from OS but as an add on to an existing trip - as you say why not :D

    Although I wonder how many booked (for what is still early and what that can entail) based on that first big dump. Just highlights how variable Oz can be - hero to zero in a really short period of time!! I've been lucky enough to be on the other end of that where the week before I went it was terrible, turned to epic whilst I was there (had an awesome few days), then it was back to terrible the next week. How the hell are you supposed to manage around that variability? My advice is where possible don't commit until you know what conditions are like but weather being weather even that is no guarantee and its all about the timing. For the record I have had a few less than ideal trips to Falls as well.

    Have friends that have stayed at Pretty Valley but if memory serves I think conditions weren't great (again early season) so their experience was a bit clouded by that but as I said based on your report and pics I would definitely consider it.

    Have enjoyed the report and pics :thumbs:
     
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