Yesterday I snuck off to one of my favourite slackcountry runs, The Paralyser. While the area is hardly a secret, and is relatively easy to access from Perisher, it is usually uncrowded. My attempt to escape the school holiday crowds got me thinking about the importance of having some sort of outlet where it is possible to escape the daily grind, the mundane or just a crowded ski run.
Growing up in Sydney, I found the solitude I needed surfing. To avoid crowds my mate Jon and I would get a bus to Maroubra Beach and hit the water as the sun rose. It was a good feeling sitting at school tired, sandy and salty. Once we could drive, there were endless surf trips up and down the coast trying to find the perfect, and importantly, uncrowded wave.
When I was a city slicker I would surf most morning before work and spend my lunch breaks in book and ski shops escaping the city grind. My favourite place to switch off for an hour was an antique print room, rifling through sketches and charts from Australias early days. The sketches of some of our weird animals were fascinating, what must have people thought seeing a platypus or a kangaroo for the first time? Equally fascinating were the early charts by Captain James Cook and co.
I have taken a similar approach to skiing, always looking for that secret line that no one has hit. Getting more into alpine touring the past few years has been a revelation. Ironically the very people I was escaping from at Perisher are on holidays at the resort attempting to escape their own lives!