I can’t move…

…my arms, my legs, my back.  Everything aches.  My fingers are even struggling to type these words.  Much editing is proving useful to making sure this post sounds as though it was written by an astute adult rather than a deformed domestic animal stepping on the keys, which, in case you’re wondering, looks more like this:

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And yet, what a magnificent couple of days spent on the mountain.  Clear blue skies, very little wind, and many happy customers.  I woke this morning to a beautiful snowy mountain sunrise, as you can see;

Ben Lomond Sunrise

For so early in the season we have amazing snow cover at Ben Lomond at the moment, and were extremely lucky that our first open weekend was over a long weekend.  Tomorrow, this hard life (#notreally) continues as I head back up to the mountain for another couple of days at the snow.  I apologise for the brevity of this post, and the reasonable lack of content, but as soon as I can move my bones again with a respectable amount of agility for someone my age, I’ll be sure to make up for it.  If I don’t, punishment by death will ensue.

~storytelling nomad~

The money making part of my day

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It may come as a surprise to some, but on occasion I actually do work, of the paid kind.  It threatens to tear me away from my writing dreams but it also rewards me with cash that I like to throw up in the air with joy!  Well, to be honest, it is usually sent directly to my account and then swiftly spent on life’s necessities such as food, rent and books before I even see those colourful pieces of plastic…but no matter.  The important thing is I’m fed, housed and literate.  Today I will be working on a beautiful mountain, Ben Lomond, in the north of Tasmania, manning the ski lifts and selling tickets to the customers.  With little reception (read: none) and no electricity, I suspect my chances of blogging are relatively low.  How will I survive? What will this absence of posts reduce me to? Fear not, dear bloggers.  I am confident I can make it through the day, just.  In the meantime, take a look at the pretty slideshow of my Ben Lomond photos and imagine me there, in the fresh air, feet crunching in the snow, greeting the first skiers and boarders of the season.  Winter is here my friends, and it’s my favourite season.

Jacobs Ladder - This is the only way up the mountain. I took this photo only a week ago but now I am told it is covered in snow, with drifts in some places over a metre high. If you do not hear from me after this day you can safely assume I met my fate on Jacobs Ladder

~storytelling nomad~

Ben Lomond, Tasmania

Bag End Lodge

A view of our ski lodge, Bag End, at Ben Lomond

A quiet day left me staring upwards. Clouds sailed by with an alarming speed in what seemed to be awfully low gusts of wind, occasionally breaking to let through a patch or two of kingfisher blue sky. The fresh air invaded every inch of my body, deep breaths cleansing my lungs before escaping in small fleeting mists of hot air as I exhaled. I felt both invigorated and mildly concerned about the cold chill, even despite the layers upon layers of clothing, some of which I wouldn’t be caught wearing dead at any other time (hello thermal underwear!). But there it was okay, expected even. I did a little foot-to-foot shuffle to keep my blood moving, the crunch crunch of the snow under my boots keeping the rhythm.

When I first applied for the job as a ski lift attendant at Ben Lomond Alpine Village, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only just moved to Tasmania and really knew nothing more about the apple isle than the following: people supposedly had two heads, it was freezing cold, and not a lot of ‘mainlanders’ went there. Not a very encouraging review, but I made the move nonetheless and thought that if that wasn’t change of scenery enough, working at the snow would be.

Ben Lomond soon became one of my favourite places in Australia. I say ‘one of’ because, let’s face it, Australia is one country where you can have many favourite places. But in light of the insufferable heat wave that recently passed through NSW I have found myself thinking a lot lately about the cool days on the small mountain just an hour’s drive from Launceston. It’s no ordinary drive either. Jacobs Ladder is the appropriately named narrow road that weaves precariously up the cliff side of Ben Lomond, the only access road to the slopes, and requires a certain amount of courage to attempt. The trick is to not look out the driver side window – the jagged rocks below are known to be a bit off-putting.

The absence of phone reception doesn’t help the nerves either. Ben Lomond is practically a technology-free sanctuary, so you can leave your mobile at home. Your hair straightener too (much to the dismay of a friend of mine who came to visit). You see, there’s also no electricity on Ben Lomond. I can assure all is forgiven, however, once you reach the top and are rewarded with some of the most beautiful scenery that Tasmania has to offer. Not only that, but as it is a protected National Park, Ben Lomond is also home to many of Australia’s favourite native wildlife. I was surprised if a day went by when I didn’t spot a wallaby bouncing by or a wombat wobbling past the ski lodges.

I know some may think that a no reception, no electricity, freezing cold, two headed Tasmanian getaway sounds a tad disconcerting, but I for one can vouch that the two months I spent on that mountain were two of the most enjoyable I’ve spent anywhere. Even on the miserably cold and wet days when I was stuck doing my fascinating snow shuffle, dreaming of Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays (another of my favourite places in Australia), the nameless face of one committed skier or another with only an icy red nose visible beneath goggles, hat and neck warmer would appear out of the hazy fog, hand outstretched offering me a hot chocolate. In those moments I would smile, quickly reminded that I was working in one of the friendliest and most beautiful places in the world. A small community of skiers passionate and proud of their little mountain return every year to brave the elements, a testament to the enchantment of a mountain that in many ways can’t compete with the big guns, and frankly doesn’t care.

I can also since confirm that all the Tasmanians I met had only one head, it was cold (but not always), and the mainlanders that don’t go there, are quite simply missing out.

~storytelling nomad~