With the recent shortage of XC skiable snow the promise of a snowfall at Mt. Hotham seemed enticing. So I organized myself and drove up to my friend's house in Myrtleford on Saturday June 29th. The weather was windy , wet and wild on the drive up from Melbourne. Once I reached Myrtleford the storm arrived and I was glad to be off the roads and indoors. The following day I was up early before dawn and I was off to drive over the Mt. Hot Ham and cheese and tomato on toast summit. The morning rain began to turn into sleet and then snow began to settle at approximately 1100 M. on the drive up the twisty turny road from Harrietville. Quite soon afterwards on the slow and careful ascent , all 2WD motorists were being flagged off the road by men in high visibility garments and fitting chains became compulsory for those vehicles. I was waved through . By the time I descended from Mt.St.Benard Hospice it was become seriously sketchy crawling along in Low gear. In front of me a motorist in a Nissan X trail had slid off the road not far from the descent into the saddle near the Blow Hard hut. It was evident that the young woman had picked up speed in her automatic car , started to slide on the wind blown ice and hit the brakes and just totally lost it. Fortunately neither she nor the other occupant of the car or the car itself were damaged. Being in a 4 x4 or AWD does not make people 'safe' if they have no idea how to drive in those conditions. There is no traction involving tyre rubber on ice!. I then decided it was too sketchy and I had fit my own chains. The wind was howling outrageously and the snow was coming at me horizontally. The wind chill factor was considerable. My first attempt at fitting my own diamond pattern chains was hampered by the first linking clasp icing up so that they could not be connected behind the wheel. I had to spray them with W D 40 and put them inside the car to thaw out while I tried again with the other set. This worked and after some struggle in the rather unforgiving conditions despite having two pairs of work gloves on , I was chained up on both front wheels and equipped for the enterprise at hand and ready to proceed up the hill very cautiously in icy , windy conditions with poor visibility. The next thing I saw was a sign saying ALL vehicles must fit chains to wheels from thenceforth. Finally I went through the tunnel that leads to the resort and having crawled through the Hot Ham resort and out to the Alpine N.P. towards Dinner Plain , I found I was the only person availing themselves of the free car parking at JB Plain car park. I arrived at 11 am , an hour later than I had planned. The delays with the ice, snow , chains and traffic had turned a 2 hour drive into a three hour drive one way for a day from Myrtleford. I was keen to get on the planks.Having readied myself I put the Op Shop rock hoppers on and away I did ski. The snow was J U S T deep enough to ski on and was fresh dry powder snow. Not that icy crud we usually end up skiing on. Only one other person had skied it and I met him en route to Paw Paw Plain.He was skiing on Madshus Epochs, like mine, except he had AT bindings and boots. I had a couple of spills and the snow was not very deep so OUCH was the operative term. However I never say die when on XC skis and managed some nice descents with parallel skis, a few step turns, some diagonal stride skiing on one leg drills on flat terrain and some snow ploughs that broke through the thin cover. I ate lunch on a rock in the tree cover near Paw Paw Plain .It was properly windy and cold!. The thin cover on Paw Paw Plain was driven by wind blown spin drifts but the snow kept falling lightly on and off followed by sunny breaks which meant the outward bound ski tracks I made were partially covered on my return. The snowy scenery was Beautiful . Being a bit rusty , with only my 6th day on planks this season ;-P I think I did OK skiing on thin, fresh ,dry cover and descending and turning down to JB Plain with some confidence . I went and visited JB hut on planks. The visitor book needs a new pen. Both doors , inner and outer doors on the hut need their latches repaired soon. There were no matches or candles in the hut either. There was no firewood either. I will do something about this next time I am up there this season. Chains were compulsory on the return trip. I made it back to the Black Hole chain bay where chains were being removed and then I returned to Myrtleford by dusk. I was well skied and went to bed at 9 pm and slept until 6.30 am. Mt. Buffalo did not get enough snow over the weekend so a half day trip up there was not feasible for Nordic skiing. Today on the drive back home down the Hume Freeway my car conked out near Kilmore and I had to be towed back to Melbourne. :-0 The towing fee and the repairs involving installing a new alternator will render me impoverished but without the Tee Mobile I am grounded. It was the most expensive Alpine N.P. XC ski trip to the Hot- Ham, JB Plain and D.P. area I have ever had . I will return to that place and ski for free yet again. Photos will follow.