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Solstice’s Saving Grace

Solstice’s Saving Grace

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RPP Intern Andy Macindoe took a day off from the station to check out the opening of the snow season at Mount Buller. Andy is an aspiring journalist and filmmaker who is completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Film, Television and Journalism, with plans to travel and experience the industry overseas. With a growing folio of productions under his belt, Andy’s passion lies in documentary and portraying real life stories that make a difference. A current production he is producing for Parkinson’s Victoria is title ‘MSA: The Ian Macindoe Story’, which will premier at a fundraising event in August 2017.


Winter solstice, this year falling on June 21st, marks the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. Yes, this may signify the official beginning of winter, with its dreary weather and entourage of colds. However it also brings the opening of the snow season! To celebrate, I went on a day trip to Mount Buller to see how things were shaping up for the season ahead.

On the road by 5:30am, my mate Alex and I have a long drive ahead. By the time we first see the rising sun poking through the thick fog we are well into the mountain ranges. There is a layer of frost over every inch of grass, leaves on trees and road signs. You can even see the clouds of steam coming from sheep’s mouths with each breath, dotting the surrounding fields. Four hours later we are pulling into the car park at Buller, ready to layer up for the day ahead.

First stop, topping up our ‘B-Tags’. Gone are the days of attaching a ticket to your jacket and flashing it every time you want to jump on a lift. Now you simply add lift passes, lessons, or whatever else you may need at the snow, onto an encrypted card that you keep in your jacket pocket. As you approach the lift gates, a scanner picks up your card and lets you through.

Riding up the Blue Bullet Express, I look around the vast mountain. The snow is very patchy further out, but there’s enough on the main runs to get going. The slopes aren’t too busy, but it’s a great day for beginners and they’re out in force! We’re well above the clouds, leaving the sky a brilliant blue and the sun shining. It doesn’t take long to warm up and I’m unzipping everything I can.

Sitting in the snow at the top of Bourke Street, I tighten my bindings and find my balance on the board. Ready to go, I start sliding down the slope and picking up speed. The biggest challenge is dodging all the novices, and every so often you get the expert zooming past at a million miles an hour, missing you by what seems like inches. Things are going well, I get a few turns in and go a bit faster. Alex starts showing off with a couple of jumps. Then, just as I start building up confidence, a lapse in concentration and WHACK! I’m lying flat looking up into the sky, every bone in my body hurts and reality is instantly shaken back into me. All I can hear is Alex’s uncontrollable laughter as he pulls up next to me, no remorse whatsoever…

There are only two lifts, a Tbar and carpet open this early in the season, but with plenty of snowfall predicted over the coming weeks, it won’t be long until the rest of the mountain is ready to shred. Mount Buller always has different activities and events going on. Being a three and a half hour drive from the Mornington Peninsula, it’s a great day out for the family and any keen snowboarders or skiers.

photos and story by  Andy Macindoe

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