Summer holiday in Thredbo
I was a ski racer for more than 20 years so I have spent a lot of time at Thredbo. Although, as a poor ski bum, accommodation was always a bit of a challenge. It was pretty common for me to overnight in my old valiant. When you sleep in the car, you're never late for a 7.30am training start!
So the invitation to stay at Kosciusko Alpline Club with my family over the Australia Day long weekend was irresistible. A real bed, in a real heated room. Heaven!
I've stayed in few lodges before so generally knew what to expect. But there were still a couple of surprises. The first came a few weeks before they called to ask about dietary requirements. Now my wife Penni is well used to shopping, lugging and cooking food on our weekends away. It took her a few minutes to register but, after getting off the phone, she actually danced and shouted across the house "THEY COOK FOR US" like she'd just won the lottery.
The food was exceptional. The kids ate separately - there's a holiday right there - and we were served up dishes like duck and salmon. We enjoyed adult conversation with other adults and didn't have to clean up.
Although I have spent much of my life in Thredbo, it was always in the winter. Since retiring from ski racing, I have really enjoyed exploring it in the summer months. It's a totally different landscape, with new challenges. In Thredbo, you get two favourite holiday destinations in one!
On the first day, my daughter Matilda (11) and I rode the Thredbo Valley Trail (TVT) all the way to Crackenback. We'd done it before but, as she gets older, she gets faster and more confident. We had a blast. Along the way we caught up with Penni and our son Angus (9) who were walking from Ngarigo to Crackenback. Some important advice: smother yourself in a strong repellent because those march flies can turn an awesome adventure into a living nightmare! Angus and Penni were smart, Matilda and I not so. Actually, that may explain her increased speed; it turns out you can out-ride even the most determined march fly! Also, the pizza at Crackenback is awesome. Do the walk or the ride and reward yourself!
Day two and we ventured out to Geehi Reservoir. I've done some big rides in the area and always take the chance to swim in the cool Geehi waters to get clean and cool. It's a magical place and I have long wanted to take my family there. The water is clear and it's super deep but also very cold from about 2m down. Park at the boat ramp and swim to the other side of the reservoir (it's about 3km return) or go out to the middle and scare each other by talking about what lies beneath!
Dinner that evening was again exceptional and then the other families had an early night and we stayed up to play board games. I am a big fan and there was quite a selection. We played a Harry Potter Diagon Alley game for hours and it was a really nice way to end a great day with my family.
Our last day. Matilda and I did the TVT again (this time with lots of repellent) but from Thredbo to Ngarigo this time. I'm told the extension to Jindabyne will be finished for next summer. We can't wait to ride it and to have many more father-daughter cycling adventures! Angus and Penni walked from the top of Kosciusko chairlift to Dead Horse Gap. Angus has skied the route many times so it was great for him to see a familiar landscape in a new way. It's a long walk and he struggled near the end but he was pretty chuffed with his achievement.
So, it was a weekend packed with great company, wonderful food, awesome adventures, amazing scenery and fun activities. But, as it turns out, none of those things rated when I asked the kids "What was the highlight for you?". Matilda really enjoyed the table soccer and Angus thought that throwing the dirty linen over the bannister came pretty close to the best thing he had ever done!
Thanks Thredbo and Koskiusko Alipne Club for a great weekend.