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29
Jul 02
Mon

Hotham

It was a fantastic week. Snowed three times, twice overnight and once while we were on the slopes. It’s 8 hours down to Hotham and the general consensus was that it was better than Thredbo, Perisher and Selwyn – but naturally, anywhere overseas is better. We were accommodated at a beaut lodge in Dinner Plain, 15 minutes from Hotham, arriving Sunday afternoon, ready for 6 days of skiing. I haven’t gone skiing for 5 years, but its one of those sports that’s really easy to pick up again and by the 4th day we were hitting all the blacks. My leg muscles are big now, but I give them one week to atrophy again.

Hotham slope map – highlights are runs I tried (186k)

Big D: Isolated from the rest of the mountain, this is a waste of time. If you’re a first timer, head to the Summit instead.

Summit: Windy and flat. Rambo’s Revenge and Australia Drift are not worth the time it takes to waddle across to the area. Take Sun Run over the bridge and head towards Heavenly Valley.

Blue Ribbon Area: Probably the best area. Long slopes with variety, and not heavily trafficked. On the Saturday, all the other lifts were packed, but Blue Ribbon was queue free. Boondoo’s a nice run, as is Varsity Drag (which we kept accidentally calling Varsity Blue). Return to Hotham central via Davenport access.

Basin Area: Avoid Noticeboard (ice, moguls). Avoid Wall of Death. Wall of Death should be double black.

Heavenly Valley Area: A decent area, except for Slalom Gully which turns to crap by midday – snow’s very inconsistent, full of bumps. The blacks feeding into it are pretty good though, if slightly icy. The Cornice, followed by Black Snake makes a nice run.

Orchard Area: Terrific area, but it does get monotonous after a while. Not as heavily trafficked as Heavenly Valley. Snow’s good, especially in the morning. Avoid Watershed, but try Bushwhacker, Big Slope and Twirligig. If you can return via Spargo’s as opposed to Greenline, do so. Spargo’s is very steep, especially the last part (there’s a sign at the end section saying “steep descent, use low gear!”) but definitely doable. It was rated double black the for half of the week (icy conditions, and a no fall zone) but that shouldn’t stop you if you don’t mind the steep – the run is smooth and there aren’t any bumps to stuff you up.

Photos in the gallery.

Unfortunately my digi camera’s not waterproof and it’s a bit of a brick so I never brought it onto the slopes. I also figured that if I fell on the camera, the camera would do me more damage than I might do to it.