Pg. 050 Chang­ing Moods

Chill Factor - - Introduction - Words and pho­tos by Jake McBride

Jake’s McBride’s pho­tog­ra­phy cap­tures the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments that make up an Aus­tralian win­ter

Some­thing about the western faces of the NSW snowy that never get old. This knoll is a favourite spot to a lot of back­coun­try crew. It has in­cred­i­ble views in all di­rec­tions as well as be­ing the main rout to the famed Wat­sons Crags.

One of my favourite things about ski­ing in Aus­tralia is the

ever-chang­ing na­ture of our moun­tain en­vi­ron­ment.

The pro­tected lower val­leys of our re­sorts can at times, even in mid-win­ter, be an ex­tremely tame place – sunny with light winds, al­most pic­nic weather! Of course a nice low pres­sure sys­tem aimed in the right di­rec­tion com­bined with the right el­e­ments can

change all that. Sud­denly the T-shirt is packed away and re­placed with your full win­ter gear.

There is noth­ing bet­ter than cozy­ing up in­side your ski jacket, gog­gles and beanie on, and your jacket hood se­curely hold­ing the whole lot to­gether while the el­e­ments rage vi­o­lently around you. Travers­ing the up­per slopes of the moun­tain, the an­tic­i­pa­tion grows as the wind

con­stantly whips snow­drifts across your path, hope­fully fill­ing in your favourite run ahead.

You can travel all over the world to ski and find that al­though our moun­tains are com­pa­ra­bly tame, our weather can at times be world-class hor­rid, es­pe­cially the wind! This re­ally is a bless­ing in dis­guise as the in­vis­i­ble devil scours the main range, blow­ing snow into the up­per bowls,

turn­ing a ten cen­time­tre snow­fall in our re­sorts into 20 cen­time­tres or more.

Of course, the only thing bet­ter for the hard core skier than hunt­ing around the re­sort dur­ing a good old-fash­ioned Aussie bl­iz­zard is the day af­ter, when the sun comes out, and you can get into some of our unique back­coun­try. Here, the op­tions are truly end­less, from quick

for­ays into the side coun­try, right through to a week­long camp­ing trip.

What seemed im­pos­si­ble to ac­cess in yes­ter­day’s Antarc­tic-like con­di­tions is sud­denly opened up. Just a quick hike from the re­sort and you will find a frozen desert lay­ing in wait, ripe for ex­plo­ration. A moon­scape dot­ted with frozen fea­tures sculpted by the same wind

that de­posited the deep snow­drifts in-bounds the day be­fore.

Jor­dan Houghton sam­ples some of Thredbo’s best spine ac­tion on a crys­tal clear Au­gust day.

Jor­dan Houghton throw­ing buck­ets on one of the days of the year, Thredbo.

This is the kind of line most Aussie skiers will never get to shred be­cause they don’t know its there! Coen Ben­nieFaull with su­per drawn out carve. Yew.

Ry­ley Lu­cas con­tem­plat­ing what he’s about to do. OP­PO­SITE: Har­ri­son and Ry­ley dis­cussing who’s the guinea pig.

We were camped out deep in the back­coun­try last year when Per­isher ski pa­troller Sam rocked up late one af­ter­noon and joined our posse. He was in­stantly the most pop­u­lar guy in camp be­cause he man­aged to lug a 6 pack out with him! The next day was su­per

windy with cloud com­ing in and out. Here Sam picks a line down Mount Twynam dur­ing a semi break in the weather.

Not far into the back­coun­try and the weather de­cides to come in and play havoc on Scott Kneller’s day trip. Looks pretty cool though!

Days like this can be de­ceiv­ing, one minute it’s blue­bird, then all of a sud­den a few clouds roll through and then boom, white out! Coen Ben­nieFaull fol­low­ing the trails home af­ter a long day in the Aussie back­coun­try.

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