Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An early Spring mixed bag

Well the last few weeks have been a bit of mixed bag. Usually August is the best month for skiing in Australia. This year it has been crap. We have had unseasonably warm weather for the past 3 weeks and a number of heavy rain days.

Despite the fizzer that has been the 2011 season, I have still managed to have some fun days out. A few cruisy days touring, another dusting of pow, some fun resort days and a few days on Nordics.

I’ve also been doing a lot of fishing in the afternoons but unfortunately haven’t been too successful. All I have managed to land was a small brown. On the other hand, my Dad has been killing it. Last week he landed two solid rainbows within ten minutes. I was fishing just metres from him and got nothing.

Holly and I had a great day in the resort

She even did Olympic, one of he hardest black runs at Perisher

I went for quick tour and got some nice spring slush. I hit one wind loaded bump and produced a nice shooting crack.

Still lots of snow on the Main Range

We then had a small storm that produced 5-10cm. I managed two very quick runs in the wet fresh. It was nice to see the snow gums covered again.

Next up my friends Troy and Kate came and visited us for a weekend. We had a great day skiing around the resort.

Holly and I spent a great sunny Sunday on the Nordic skis. We are both novices and it was fun skiing around the cross country loops as the very serious racers in their skin tight suits skied by.

Finally, an evening fishing on the lake with Mum and Dad.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Europe 2011: Retracing old footsteps through Devon

As an outdoor loving young fellow, my time living in the UK back in 2007 was a bit of a struggle. I loved the culture, museums and general civility of the place, however, the adrenaline hit of the night bus through London was not quite the same as what the ocean or the mountains could provide.

A job opportunity in Bristol brought me closer to the ocean. I researched surf options close to my new home and came across Croyde in Devon, arguably one of the best surf beaches in the UK. Some other surf deprived aussie friends made the drive from London to Bristol one weekend and we continued onto Croyde.

Rolling up tired and cold we were greeted by clean 4ft waves. The water was icey cold, around 10 degrees Celsius which meant copious amounts of thick rubber. It was so good being back in the water. I even grabbed some rail and got a little head dip barrel. I was severely unfit due to months of travelling and gluttonous eating and beer drinking habits.

Since that first surf, Croyde has been a special place. We had many more weekend surf trips to the area. Holly and I spent a great weekend there early on.

My first glimpse of Croyde Bay back in 2007, nice clean cold waves.

Visiting the UK this year we were really keen to spend some time relaxing and surfing in Croyde. The road through Somerset and then Devon is itself spectacular. We passed amazing Dunster Castle, a site over 1,000 years old.

Next up was the beautiful little coastal village of Lynmouth. The town straddles both the West Lyn and East Lyn Rivers and the ocean. Occasionally Lynmonth produces one of the best waves in the UK although there was no sign of the elusive left hand point break when we were there. We had great fish and chips while sitting on the cobblestone beach watching the ocean.

Confluence of the West and East Lyn Rivers

Boats and piles

As we continued on our way to Croyde we were constantly being bombarded by spectacular vistas. I was impressed by the native heath, a rare sight in the rolling paddocks of the UK. We got out at one vantage point to take it in.

We arrived in Croyde and got settled into our accommodation. We spent the next three days and nights surfing, walking, eating and drinking delicious local beer and cider.

The water was warm, I was overheating in my 5mm wetsuit. Despite the small waves I had some fun surfs.

The locals are really keen on surfing although not that keen on spreading out.

We went for some nice walks up the surrounding hills.

Mmmm beer.

We had a great time. Massive thankyou to Deb and Nigel at Home House for their warm hospitality and delicious full English fry-ups every morning.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A dusting and dry pow

We had a dusting of snow yesterday. I was in two minds whether to head out for a ski and check it out. After a few hours of work I took the opportunity to head out to Mt Perisher and have a look. I took the double chair then climbed up to the peak.

The back of Mt P is always wind scoured so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I dropped in. After a few turns it quickly became evident that the dusting I had seen in the morning was in fact 10-15cm of dry powder at this higher elevation. This, combined with pretty much no wind, made for my run of the season so far down to the Creek.

I quickly transitioned to touring and made the climb up the Paralyser in 20 minutes. Again, a quick transition and I dropped into the main face of little paralyser. Apart from my skin track there was no other evidence of two-legged activity.

Another awesome run in dry powder. I was due back to work and made a hasty exit to Eyre snapping a few photos of the beautiful snow gums on the way.

Moral of the story? I guess any new snow should alwys be checked out!