Hate is strong word. Which is why I say instead that I really, really don’t like ski boots. Really. And unfortunately those clunky uncomfortable things are quite central to skiing.
But this week in the Australian alpine resort of Falls Creek, I discovered a wonderful way to explore the snow that doesn’t involve putting my feet into those torture devices. A snowmobile tour.
Not realising just how easy a snowmobile is to drive I asked to be a passenger on the tour, and was paired up with our guide Steve. A great guy to share a snowmobile with, Steve has been up at Falls Creek for around 25 years and is a wealth of knowledge.
After teaching the others how to drive their snowmobiles, we set off to explore the backcountry areas of Falls Creek. Gorgeous, relatively untouched places where the only tracks in the snow you see are those of four legged snow bunnies and other furry creatures.
Steve managed to hit the right balance between riding along in the snow, and stopping for photo opportunities along the way. Though I had a bit of an advantage over those driving their own snowmobiles, as I could snap away from the back seat as we went.
We also got a taste of just how quickly the weather can change, when the blue skies gave way to snow. Snow which actually moved up the side of the mountain to swirl around us, rather than down from the clouds which was a new one for me.
While snow’s old news for Steve, the rest of us were pretty excited by the sight; especially the couple who had never seen snow falling before and were worried they might not have the chance before they had to leave Falls Creek the next day.
Within half an hour, the snow had gone and those blue skies were back. Now as I’ve already established, Steve’s good in the snow. But I think he may also be a little bit psychic.
Just as I was wishing I’d been brave enough to drive my own snowmobile, and feel what it’s like to be in control, Steve asked if I wanted to take over. The answer as I’m sure you can guess was yes.
It was great to discover it really is as easy as it looks. There’s the throttle to make it go, the brake to make it stop, and a kill button that will stop everything dead if you get into a panic.
But with no gears to change and with us pottering along at a nice slow speed there was no need to get panicky. It was pure, simple fun. Kind of reminded me of riding my brother’s PW50 when we were little kids.I couldn’t get enough of the stunning scenery and the beautiful patterns the snow makes on the trees.
It was like being let loose in an alien landscape, (well alien to this gal who is more accustomed to warmer climes that is).The tour routes change regularly, but on ours we were lucky enough to get up to Mt McKay, the highest mountain in Australia that can be reached by road.
Snowmobile tours at Falls Creek last for around an hour, but you should allow for two hours to get up there by ski lift and have the safety briefing and so on. And if you’re going to be up front you’ll need a current drivers licence.
If you’re already in Falls Creek you can book simply by popping into the Falls Creek Sports in the Village Bowl. Or you can call ahead on 1800 20 44 24.
And of course there are lots of other fun things to do at Falls Creek that may or may not involve ski boots. You can check out a list of activities on the Falls Creek Resort’s website.
Amanda Woods travelled as a guest of Falls Creek and QantasLink
Heading for the snow? You may also want to check out some off piste travel insurance tips.