Weather is no barrier when it comes to Hitting the downhill slope indoors
A NEW downhill opened at Mt Hotham last week but you won’t find it listed on any trail map.
Hotham 365, a play on the days of the year, is an initiative of the resort management board and is tucked away in a shed at Stop 10 on the snow bus.
The only one of its kind in Australia is seen as an add-on to the mountain ski experience, opening on nights that don’t clash with traditional night skiing in the resort.
But most significantly Hotham 365 will be used as a training ground for people with a disability who are looking to take up skiing, and their guides.
Disabled Wintersports Australia man on the mountain Phil Knight said it opened up a whole new world of opportunities for their members.
“DWA will be investigating how best the weather proofed ski slope will be able to be used by our members and for guide training over the coming months,” he said.
“For those of our members coming to the snow for the first time there is a series of factors that they need to come to terms with – the snow is one aspect, adaptive equipment, altitude, getting on and off lifts, exposed to the elements.
“There is enough of a commonality with the indoor slope to replicate the skiing experience without having to battle the elements or tackling getting on and off lifts – this is a way of easing people into the skiing experience, taking it one step at a time.
“We have some 900 people who are part of Disabled Wintersports Australia, 200 of those are guides.
“About 35 of those guides are at Mt Hotham and there is no secret of the fact that we want to grow that number and I believe that this slope, the only one of its kind at ski resorts in this country, will help and encourage that training.
“Hotham has been incredibly supportive of our organisation – last year launching another first Disability Visitors Guide and now Hotham 365 that will allow us to train our athletes and volunteers year-round and without being weather dependent.”