Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - Athlete Perspective
Aussie Report: Cheers

By: Sarah Peters

I am back in Ottawa after a bit of a detour on the way home. It got up to 34 degrees today and all I could do is wonder why I am here. I mean I could still be skiing - real Aussie spring skiing.

Luckily, I finished off my time on Aussie snow with two amazing skis. The first one was the day after the Hoppet. I was worried about deep slush so I decided to try some classic. I pulled out some Toko orange klister, which is a God-send to Australian skiers, and threw some on my skis. I headed out on the trail without expectation. To my surprise, I had amazing grip and glide and it lasted. I had an AMAZING ski. One of those days when klister is the next best thing to sliced bread and you never want to use anything else! I skied in the sun for two hours with great skis and figured that it couldn't get much better than that. Wrong again.

On Monday morning, my last day on snow, Belinda and Dave took me out crust skiing. We woke up fairly early and hit the snow by 7 am. We followed a downhill run up to the top of the range and then quickly left the track. The sun was out, the crust was solid and you could ski anywhere! We went out to the Frying Pan, down into gullies, up onto the top, took jumps off of frozen drifts, and basically acted like a big bunch of nordic yahoos! It was fantastic but exhausting so that by the end I was ready to go.

Jacinta, a Victoria skier who works in Royal Gorge during our winter, picked me up and drove me to her place outside of Melbourne. I stayed with her and her family for two nights and then flew out of the Melbourne airport. On my one day in Melbourne, I hopped on a city bus and headed out to the Healesville Sanctuary. Healesville Sanctuary is an open air zoo where they specialize in breeding for populations that are rare or facing extinction in the wild. They are also known for having a fabulous Platypus area.

Having been amazed by the platypus from a very early age, I headed straight for the World of the Platypus. This building is kept dark during the day as the platy is a nocturnal animal. Once you walk into the building you are surrounded by a stream cut in cross-section by one way glass. Two platypi were out swimming in the stream. They are little, crazy looking, amazing and not to be missed. I watched them for over a half hour eventually dragging myself away to see...well the list is extensive.

That evening I headed into Melbourne for dinner with Jacinta and her friend in South Bank on the Yarra River. This is in the heart of Melbourne, which was very attractive. The next morning I hopped onto an airport bus leaving Australia at 9:30 am. I would hit Auckland, Los Angeles, and Toronto before a brief pit stop in Ottawa. A few hours later, I was off to Dan and Tasha's wedding and eventually home.

A beautiful Snow Gum tree in the Perisher Valley.

Chris and Katie skiing on the 5 km course in the Perisher Valley.

The race course at the Martini Classic on Aug.14/02, Perisher Valley.

Sarah playing the role of tourist in front of the Sydney Opera House.

All photos by Sarah Peters

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