Magic bottled snow and much more at Mt Stirling
OVER the years, Craig and Barb Jones have prided themselves that Stirling Experience has one of the best cross country ski schools in the Australian Alps.
Wishing to continue this tradition of bringing the best instructors to the mountain and continuing the resort’s association with the graduates from the University of Tartu [Estonia] Sports Academy and the Otepaa Ski Institute, Craig and Barbara visited Estonia in January to catch up with former staff and find new instructors for 2014.
Temperatures of minus 20 degrees did not dampen their enthusiasm and they explored many regions, including an Ice Island, Kihnu and exploring the Kohlta underground mine with Kristen Tattar and Janek Valliman [2011 and 2012 seasons].
They are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby daughter, Isabelle.
Craig enjoyed skiing on the frozen lakes and beautifully prepared cross country trails.
As with past seasons, four Estonian instructors will again join the Mt Stirling Ski School for this season.
Ave and Joosep on their first trip down under, Siim Elio returning from last season and Varhur Teppan from 2012.
Siim has spent the year working and exploring the east coast of Australia.
When we last heard from him he was picking bananas near Cairns and intends to drive back via Alice Springs.
Vahur Teppan, known locally, as V-Man will be flying back once again.
Vahur has launched his own ski coaching business in Estonia.
His work van, filled with skis and tuning equipment and sign written with a large VR (Vahur Rocks) travels the country following the race calendar and running student cross country ski programs in many schools throughout the winter.
After resort skiing in Austria and cross country skiing in Estonia, the one thing that really impressed Barb and Craig was the manner in which European resorts embraced all forms of on-snow activities.
It was wonderful to see people of all ages and abilities enjoying being in the snow, walking, sledding, snow shoeing as well as skiing.
European resorts equally cater for everyone, encouraging visitors to enjoy the mountain environment.
Walking, snow shoeing and sledding/tobogganing trails weave seamlessly through the landscape adjacent to the ski trails, visitors are not corralled into separate little sections as we so often do in Australia.
Everyone is encouraged to enjoy the mountain and it is our desire that we achieve the same welcoming spirit and that this should be the way forward for Mt Stirling.
As part of this aim we will again run our Ski School, Sunday Experience program.
This is an opportunity to enjoy a day of ski touring in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, led by one of our qualified instructors.
The ski school will also offer snow shoe tours of different length and duration catering for those of varying fitness levels each weekend.
Vahur has experienced the vagaries of Australian snowfalls and has presented us with some special Estonian Magic Snow - just add water.
Craig and Barb invite all to ‘come on up to Mt Stirling and see if it has worked’.
BACK ON STIRLING: Estonian ski instructor Piibe jumped for joy on arriving at Mr Stirling.