Who loves Thredbo when it goes all time good? Who has been lucky enough to be there for that?
During Snowmageddon back in 2014 it did, and local legend Randy Wieman was there to file this report for us. Few if any others have caught as many all-time times at Thredbo as Wieman, because apart from being there, you have to be able to ski it all to make the most of it.
Randy’s Thredbo years go back to 1977, when Ski School put him on an ‘A’ Contract at the then princely sum of $19 an hour, plus return airfares. Still, after 35+ seasons there by 2014, it got good enough to provoke this reaction:
“At one point we turned left into an area that in all my thredbo years i had never skied.”
The winter had not started well, the mountain was all green and the locals were anxious. The only hope of change would be the high-pressure fronts coming in from the Bight. This had been seen before without any consequences but this time it would be different. It started to snow and did not stop. Overnight the mountain and the Village turned white and it just kept coming. The Thredbo Ski Patrol had a day to get the mountain ready with work that usually takes a couple of weeks.
I was standing with Duncan Burns, this year’s winner of the Top to Bottom, in the longest ‘first lifts’ queue of the decade. Everyone was keen to have their winter’s first run in what could be the best snow of the season.
Bethany Palmer had leapt out of bed after working until 2am to find her good friend Timmy Byrne for a coffee heart starter in the waiting crowd. They managed to get on the fifth chair to powder paradise.
We were further back, but this would not be a problem as our pleasure factor increases with speed, and the fastest line down Crackenback is under the lift. Twice we hit the powder on the side of Supertrail and World Cup, stopping in time to get back on the Kossie Quad.
There was still fresh off The Bluff and down Cannonball. Nowhere in Australia can so much vertical be had off one lift. As it only takes us a couple of minutes from top to bottom, this is the best leg burning, heart pounding skiing in the country.
It was time to go further afield. Beth and Tim headed to Bushranger for the rest of the morning, where after 16 ski seasons around the World, Beth was proud to proclaim this her best Aussie ski day ever. Duncan and I headed up Karel’s T-bar and cut over to the Golf Course. Excitement levels rose. There were no signs of tracks as we dropped into glades of fresh with plenty of room between the gums. After many years of getting to know this terrain we were able to fly like Red Bull jets using trees as markers, blowing past groups adrift in the trees, down the undulating slope and onto the traverse at the boundary line.
We did a couple more laps in the Golf Course before heading to Merritt’s Bowl on the other side of Thredbo. The skiing was OK but much of the mountain had been skied out. At one point we turned left into an area that in all my Thredbo years I had never skied. Unbelievable! Faceshot, hip deep powder. Skiing past gum trees like birch trees in Japan. Onto a track and then back to civilization. Amazing. Did we just do that?
If you want to find out where it is, write me. If not, I will write about it again after Thredbo’s next epic powder day..
– Randy Wieman
Randy still holds the record for most laps, 47, of the Kosci Chair in a day – check more on that story here
For more #Snowmaggedon memories check the rest of our series: