After sitting out last ski season with a fractured knee, East Melbourne’s Tristan Creed has been watching this week’s bumper snowfalls with delight.
Creed, his wife and their six-year-old daughter, Pippa, will be among the first skiers to hit the alpine resorts this weekend, which open for the official first weekend of the season.
Tristan Creed and his daughter, Pippa.Credit:Justin McManus
Pippa, who says she has been skiing since she was “zero years old”, stayed at Hotham with her mum during one of the state’s COVID-19 winter lockdowns, leaving dad back in Melbourne recuperating from his injury.
This weekend, the whole family will partake in Hotham Race Club events, which have been brought forward due to the heavy snowfalls.
Ski lifts have already been running for days, after an early blanketing allowed them to turn on a week early.
Victorian ski resorts are emerging from two years of shortened seasons, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Many are already booked out for this weekend, which will see the return of guests and international ski instructors – some flying in for the first time in more than two years.
Creed’s family has strong ties with Hotham Alpine Resort. His father co-founded the Bembooka Ski Club 40 years ago. This weekend, he will be staying at the lodge with his parents, four siblings and their families.
The state’s ski resorts will kick off their opening weekend festivities with celebrity appearances, fire twirling and live music following the largest snowfall for a season opener in two decades.
Falls Creek regular Sam Thomas and his family of skiers are also counting down to the weekend.
Thomas’ children, Coco, 11, Archie, nine, and Jimmy, eight, are members of the Falls Creek Race Club.
Thomas said he couldn’t remember the last time there had been this much early snow and the whole family was “looking forward to getting the ball rolling”.
Director of marketing and communications at Mt Buller, Rhylla Morgan, said the opening weekend was all about “skiing and boarding and having a glass of champagne and having a schnitzel.”
Winter Olympian and gold medallist Jakara Anthony will join the festivities at Mt Buller, celebrating her gold medal from Beijing with the community that taught her to ski as a three-year-old.
She will be joined by popular Australian duo Client Liaison, who will perform a DJ set before the annual fireworks.
Heavy snow at Mt Buller ahead of opening weekend. Credit:Rhylla Morgan.
“Everyone is all hands on deck around the resort, frantically trying to dig everything out,” Morgan said.
Falls Creek will celebrate the season opener with marshmallow roasting over fires, face painting, fire twirling and fireworks.
Falls Creek’s director of marketing and communications, Sarah Watt, said the resort was expecting around 4500 visitors for the opening weekend.
Hotham Ski Resort will have fireworks and live music in most of the bars and cafés.
Mt Buller, Falls Creek and Mt Hotham started operating their chairlifts last weekend, with unexpected heavy snowfall allowing them to open early.
Resort managers said the last time snow surpassed this year’s early falls was before the Queen’s Birthday weekend in 2000.
Watt said opening a week earlier in Australia was unusual yet phenomenal.
“It feels like it’s a really good season in the middle of August.”
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