The club runs instruction days and weekends using either professional or club member instructors. There is usually at least one instructional weekend for beginners. Instructionals may also be held for tourers, advanced telemarkers, skaters, snow campers and potential leaders. All instruction is based on learning being fun and is held in a positive and encouraging environment.
Back country ski touring trips ranging from leisurely day touring to extended snow camping trips.
Camping in the snow is a great experience and not as cold as you might expect. There is nothing like being snug in your warm sleeping bag while snow falls outside the tent. Then waking up to put some tracks in while the snow is still fresh. Snow camping allows you to get further afield in Australia’s extensive alpine areas. Through multi-day trips to places like Mt Jagungal, the Grey Mare Range or the Bogong High Plains you can visit areas that downhill skiers can only dream about. Many of the trips visit the historical bushman’s huts that are scattered around the Kosciuszko National Park so during the evening you can shelter in the hut and cook dinner and relax by the fire before retreating to your tent for the night.
Telemarking is a free-heel turn invented by the Norwegians around 1870 and is the turn that many cross-country skiers aspire to. This elegant turn involves dropping down on one knee and edging your skis. In the club we love it even though it is an art to learn. A lot of our instructionals concentrate on learning the art of telemarking and some members spend days practising on the lifts at resorts. There are also trips to the Main Range to leave some fresh tracks on the slopes or for the confident skier there are trips to steep slopes at places like Watson Crags.
A small but growing number of members prefer to lock down their heels for down hill runs doing parallel turns rather than freewheel skiing. Alpine touring gear (AT) tends to be heavier and the need to use skins for climbing makes it less suited to extended backcountry trips in undulating terrain but it does allow people with downhill skiing skills to get away from the resorts and ski some of the fantastic steep slopes that resort skiers never see. Some new models of AT skis have a pattern base for climbing so skins are only needed for very steep climbs.
The skating style of cross country skiing is a very fast form of skiing that is often used in racing, however it is also very effective for just cruising around. The style involves the transfer of most of the skiers weight from one ski to the other combined with using the poles to push yourself along. The movement is very similar to ice or in-line skating. The skis are generally skinny and light and generally not suited to back country touring of groomed trails.
Citizen racing is extremely popular in Europe and North America and some of the races in Australia have been going for more than 50 years. Serious races take place on the groomed Perisher trails. There are also some fun citizen races for everyone, something like Sydney's City to Surf on skis. Whether you are a classical skier (skis travel along parallel to each other) or skater (you ski like an in-line skater), there are fun races to go in from July to September.
Part of the enjoyment of cross-country skiing is sharing experiences with like-minded people. The club has always fostered a friendly atmosphere and this is evident in the meetings that are held once a month during the season. The meetings often have interesting speakers and are a good time to catch up with fellow members to discuss past or future trips. The October meeting is often an annual dinner with a roundup of the season’s events and usually a photo competition.
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