[SUBW-A] Trip report - Skiing around Pounds Creek

Roger Butler R.Butler at lake.com.au
Thu Jul 25 09:10:16 AEST 2002

Party members - Cameron, Marcelle, Joe, Wendy, Albert, Roger.  Joined by
Ben, Richard, Jan, Chantelle, Mitchell, Christian, Alex, Andrew Mitchell,
and Andrew Jacob at various times during the weekend.

Our party of six travelled in two cars and met in Goulburn for dinner on
Thursday night.  It was then a straightforward trip to Cooma, where we hired
skis.  Unfortunately, Albert and Wendy had planned on hiring warm sleeping
bags too, but the hire shop had just lent out their last one.  We searched
Cooma and then Jindabyne for an open hire shop, but to no avail.  None of
the motels had vacancies either, so Albert and Wendy spent a cold night
rugged up in the car, before easily hiring good bags the next morning.  The
rest of us headed for Island Bend.  Joe and I decided it was such a
beautiful night that a tent was superfluous.

Our party rose early to discover that the next tent was occupied by Ben Kong
and a friend, who were downhill skiing at Perisher.  We were soon on the
snow at Guthega, some of us skiing for the first time, and others practising
turns on a gentle slope near the resort.  The snow was also good enough for
an easy ski from the overnight carpark to the resort.  Wendy and Albert soon
joined us and we made a late start up the Snowy River towards Illawong.

The going was tough for the first kilometre or more, with a creek crossing
and a slope to traverse, all with full three-day packs.  But the terrain
flattened out and we were soon at the Illawong cable bridge.  We crossed the
Snowy and climbed up the other side, looking for a campsite.  We found a
fairly sheltered one with spectacular views over Pounds Creek and the Snowy
valley.  Everyone was exhausted and happy to settle in to the tents for an
early night.  

Saturday dawned windy and cold, and we made a slow start up to a partially
sheltered bowl, where we practised the finer and coarser aspects of skiing
without a pack.  Albert sated his need for speed and Marcelle discovered
that skiing downhill wasn't scary after all.  We returned to the campsite
for a late lunch as the snow started falling.  Joe and I headed out for
another ski and ran into Richard, Jan, and Chantelle climbing towards us,
not enjoying the snowy conditions.  They were glad to find our nearby
campsite and a warm cuppa.  

Richard had been skiing around with Alex for a week, but Alex broke a ski
and hitched back to Jindabyne to fix it.  That left Richard without a tent,
but he did have the club's new snow shovel.  So Joe and Cameron began
digging a snow cave with vigour.  Chantelle and Jan were supposed to be
skiing with Mitchell and Christian, but their car had broken down and they
were still in Jindy.  I'm sure these stories will be told in further trip

Wendy and Marcelle spent some of the afternoon building an anatomically
correct, pregnant snowwoman.  The snow continued and we retreated to the
tents for dinner and daiquiris, which were not a big hit in the cold
conditions since their main ingredient was snow.

Sunday was simply amazing.  The wind and snow of the night before had
retreated completely, and in their place was a cloudless blue sky and a
perfect cover of fresh powder snow.  Everyone was woken to the strains of
the Lucksmiths' "Wake up, wake up, it's T-shirt weather".  

Richard was itching to go touring and downed a quick breakfast before
heading off into the Pounds Creek valley at full pace.  I followed ten
minutes later and we climbed up towards Mann Bluff.  Richard continued to an
unnamed peak on an impressive mountain range.  I watched him drop off a
spectacular cornice and disappear from sight into a trackless bowl below.
We met again on Mt Anderson and skied on to Mt Anton and Mt Twynam.  The
conditions were a little icy on the tops and a northerly wind was blowing.
But the views to Mt Jagungal and across the Main Range to Mt Kosciusko were
superb.  Our descent route followed Pounds Creek from its headwaters all the
way back to camp.  I have never skied on better snow and our telemarking
skills were honed on the trackless powder.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party had headed back up to the bowl we were
practising in the day before and all learnt to turn with some confidence,
which really helped the ski out with packs.  We were all soon back at camp
enjoying lunch in the fine conditions.  Mitchell and Christian had found us
and Mitchell entertained the group with an ambitious ski down the hill on
Richard's unskinned skis.

It was time to venture back to Guthega and most of the group donned packs
for the ski out.  Richard went ahead to look for Alex and his food for the
next week.  The rest of us enjoyed the ski back down to the Illawong bridge
and through the valley on the other side, saying hi to Andrew Mitchell on
the way down.  The sun went behind mountains and the slope iced up, which
made life difficult, but we made it back to Guthega around sunset.  We
encountered Alex, Andrew Jacob, and Richard near Guthega and wished them
luck on their moonlight ski to the campsite.

Albert and I collected our snow-covered cars and loaded everyone into them.
We returned to the overnight carpark to find Jan's car still stuck in the
snow.  A few of us pushed it out and we negotiated the icy roads down to
Jindy and Cooma, where we stopped for snowfights using the snow still on the
cars.  The famous Food Factory had run out of food but the pub next door was
offering well-received buffet dinners.  The night was cold (-3deg at
Pheasant's Nest) and the snow on the cars lasted until Sydney's outskirts.

A great trip in fantastic conditions.  Stay tuned for an ad for the next

Photos here:
<http://www.photoisland.com/servlet/GuestLogin?USERNAME=rogerbutler>  and
then enter the password guests.  Navigate to the album Pounds Creek Skiing.

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