Olympic t-bar at Perisher is another lift likely to be the last to open, which is not surprising if you have ever seen the massive boulder heap it straddles in summer, again in crazy dogleg fashion. Ever since the Perisher Express opened over 30 years ago Olympic hasn’t even added much vertical to the total equation, and truth be told these shots were taken early July one year before it had even opened, after traversing over with a little step up hike from the top there.
Back in the day for basic intermediates daring each other to have a go it was the pinnacle of achievement to make it round the dogleg without the embarrassment of falling off, and then pick a spot to unload into the minefield of monster moguls that invariably awaited on the top section. If it wasn’t busy you could woose out and ski down the track to the dogleg where it got easier. On a busy weekend amid competent skiers you felt (ok, OK, what you, I felt!) like the drop-in at the surf break when it got way too big.
Character building though, and as it deterred most people sometimes it was less crowded in the 80s, when a Perisher pass got you just Perisher & Smiggins, not half the known ski universe as you get today with the Epic Oz Pass.
It’s got the short but steepest line in the Perisher zone of the resort too, and is always fun to charge out of at speed, or pop the cornice line. So when you see on the lift report it’s open you know the season is in high gear, and it’s time to get your ass into gear too.
If the Inter at Falls deserves a Heritage Order than Olympic does too, even if (when?) Vail Resorts whack a 6 pac bubble lift up the guts of Sun Valley to the ridgeline it would be nice to see it stay, after 45 years faithful service so far.