I got up at 5 am and was on the road at 6 am. I made very good time and was the 4th car on the hill.
I started seeing snow on vegetation on the drive up there and a sign said 2 WD must fit chains here.
The snow on the road became deep and slushy esp. on the final hill to the MSG car park. My RAV4 really was A OK in that situation , without chains. I could feel the All terrain tyres , the power to four wheels and the torque in low gear all doing the job.
I ate something ,drank some hot tea , lodged a trip intention form and got moving on my Epoch BC skis well before 10 am. I had some fresh tracks . Only about 5 other skiers and a pair of overnight camping snow shoe trekkers had touched the 9 cm of fresh snow that had fallen in the past 24 hours.
The snow was so soft and fresh. It was very nice to ski on. I did not feel like my usual energetic self but I carried on as one must and skied up the Main trail to veer around the MSG summit along the Cascades trail and out to the snow plain past the MSG summit. I followed the pole line up the AAWT towards Mt.St. Phillack. In hindsight I had enough time to ski to the Baw Baw village and back to the MSG car park without running out of daylight or legs.
That is now the goal for Spring 2020.
Maybe If I had a friend with me I would have been more motivated and braver.
The Mt. St.Phillack descent route is a black run along a narrow trail through the trees. Going up it was fine but the descent made me concerned. I did not quite make it to the top of Mt. St. Phillack and I turned around. Skiing down that track was hard . I had a few spills so as to avoid hitting trees.
I tried only once to click out of my skis after a fall and sank into the snow on one leg down to my waist !. That was it . I was side stepping down the fall line from there on until it became easier to ski.
Once I was out of the trees I was skiing better but I needed to eat so I could get some energy. The visibility was poor and the ice on the trees was dropping onto the trail in places making it icy where the rest of the surface was fresh and soft. Therefore crashing was not painful or injurious.
The Blue level terrain was often quite challenging compared with other places I have skied this season. There were lots of bumps, twists, traverses and uneven descents.
I followed the pole line up to the MSG summit doing a long herringbone sequence . It was socked in with no views of the Thomson dam or anything else.
I skied down the hill a bit and found somewhere to eat. The ski Patrollers came by and I had a chat with them.
Even when I am not skiing my best or feeling like I am ready to smash out 15 +kms in a day on XC skis , seeing total beginners in wet jeans unable to get up after a fall makes me realize that I have high standards for my own endeavours!. There were a number of such neophytes on planks. Without basic lessons or suitable weather proof attire they are a hazard to themselves and others.
After seeing those people I skied down the 'chutes' that the Main Pole line has after the summit. The route was becoming chopped up by many skiers and by people on skis who were not skiers , who were also ascending by that route as I skied back to the MSG car Park. The track needed grooming . The scene back there was snow ball thrower central and the car park had filled up.
I did not see too many footprints. The snow that was meant to fall in the afternoon did not appear while I was there. The sun came out as I was packing up. It is quite a changeable environment.
The rain set in on the long drive home. My guess is that some of it was falling as snow and some as sleet or even R**n higher up in the hills from whence I had embarked on my return journey. The Princes hwy . after Moe was very congested esp. near Pakenham. There were a number of crashes because of the wet roads.
Overall MSG and the BB plateaux have some good BC XC skiing now but get in quick because a hair dryer day this Wed. will melt a lot of the base. I will return in 2020 and head for the BB village .
The BB Plateaux needs more investigation on planks!. I will scout it out further this summer as a bushwalk.