It was Travis Rice that said “Australia is snowboarding’s last frontier. ”Well maybe I made that up and maybe Australia isn’t the last frontier, but it’s definitely a snowboarder’s last resort. But where else are you going to ride on a giant fuckin’ rock surround by an ocean full of man-eating sharks. If you consider yourself gnarly, you don’t know the meaning of gnarly till you’ve smashed your face on some mangled piece of metal found in one of our many fine terrain parks. Rip the scab off a tinny, we’re going snowboarding in Australia.
Ride: In case you’ve been living under a rock, Shaun White chose Australia as his exclusive training ground right before the Sochi games, and look at the wonders that did for him. So if you consider yourself a champion or a chump like big Shaun, Australia is the perfect place to hone your summer riding skills. There are a bunch of resorts spread throughout the Australian alps, however all pretty much sit on the same mountain range but are spread out over two states NSW (New South Wales) and VIC (Victoria).Whilst most Australian resorts have terrain parks, the most comprehensive set-ups can be found at the likes of either NSW resort – Perisher or Thredbo. Both have all the mod cons you’d expect from any world-class resort like dingo jibs, boomerang bonks and hay bail booters. Outside the park, most resorts offer a diverse range of terrain – Australia is the land of the cliff drop to flat. Our mountains are also littered in low lying ‘snow gum’ trees which makes those between-the-trees powder days all that more challenging. So pack a full face if you plan on going in there as the snow gums have a tendency to ‘coat-hanger’ riders.
Australia’s highest mountain can be accessed on foot in a single day during the winter. Mount Kosciuszko is just at the backside of the NSW resorts and hosts a bunch of solid riding terrain however avalanches in Australia do happen and do claim lives, so wear wrist guards out there.
Resort Just like everywhere else, working at the resort should always be the last ‘resort’. Beside the perks of a free season pass, working for the ‘man’ of the ski world blows. Resorts in Australia pay the lowest off all snow and snow town jobs here, they also require the most effort.
Australia has had the privilege to host many global snowboard stars, but none have immersed themselves in the scene like Andrew Brewer. Rumor is that he quit professional snowboarding to work as a lifty here sometime ago.
Industry If you’ve got a good set of kneepads and keen desire to work in the ‘Australian Snowboard Industry’ there is work here. A cushy’ industry’ job most likely consists of fixing core shots on Oxygen hire boards from the turn of the millennium.
Entrepreneurs There are plenty of Australian start-ups pumping out homemade hoodies and doing a decent trade. So If your harboring some crappy snowboard business proposals, chances are that they might just work down here. Crocheted peanut beanies and fluorescent tall-tees are still hot property in Australia. Here was have the quintessential Australian Snowboard specimen doing what they do best – drinking from a ‘goon sack’ which hangs from a ceiling, wearing a home-made ‘hooey’ and sporting a saggy peanut beanie. You’d be mistaken in thinking doing a season in Australian is like doing a season is some fucked Canadian interior resort like Fernie. And you’d be right.
Everyone else For majority of the snowboarding vermin there are plenty of shifty cleaning jobs in nearby Mountain Towns, which you may or may NOT need a working visa for (favoring the later). They pay all right, around $22 an hour. Like all cleaning jobs you’ll be spending your days cleaning spew covered blankets, tiles covered in feces and fishing used rubbers out of vacuum wands.
There’s no better place to rip the scab off a green bastard like the shores of lake Jindabyne. If you plan on doing a season in Australia, you’ll more than likely be sharing this same view at some point. Cheers.
Eat: Given that you’ll most likely be working a fairly crap job with fairly crap pay your bound to obtain a fairly crap diet whilst doing a season in Australia. The order of the day is ‘Homebrand’ pies, these dull pastry pieces filled full of generic meat will become your staple meal combined with Mie Goreng – the South Pacific’s version of top ramen. But actually tastes better and contains a entire sachet of palm oil, which is kind of unethical since the habitats of orangutans are being destroyed for that stuff. In hindsight best replace the noodles with cheap garlic bread, stick it in your boot after a days riding to defrost it and your good to go. There are no fast food chains in Australian resort towns, which makes dining out a little bit of a squeeze. You’ll have to substitute jack-in-the-box for the local fish-n-chippery or pub meal. However none of these sell any ‘$1 sausage biscuits’. If you’re into sledding, Australia is your kind of place. Not only is recreational sledding banned in our entire alpine area, the only way you can actually go sledding is in Falls Creek, Victoria. And by ‘sledding’ I mean riding bitch on the back of these home made contraptions.
Live: If you choose to work for a resort they’ll offer you some kind of pay tradeoff for accommodation type deal. Living in staff accommodation is similar to being on a reality show, you’ll be stuck with all kinds of people – considering the migration of snow scum comes from all over Australia, chances are you’ll be stuck in the same room as some future serial killer who sniffs your underwear whilst you shower. Creepy. Best option is to pre-arrange a group of flat-mates and hire a place for the winter. You’ll be either up on the hill or down in the town depending on where you’ll be living. In NSW, you’ll want to find somewhere in Jindabyne – a quiet lakeside town that turns into the STD capital of Australia come winter.
To your dismay, no Australian drink Fosters – it’s not even for sale down here.
Play: The Australian Alps are subject to really harsh storms, which can often make riding unpleasant. On these ‘down-days’, there’s not a whole heap to do in the townships of Australian resorts other than to ‘sink piss’. By ‘sinking piss’ what your actually doing is rallying together a bunch of other fellow ‘piss sinkers’ and having a good old fashion ‘piss up’. An event involving the excessive drinking of ‘goon sacks’ – a foil bag filled with cheap wine. The ‘Goon Sack’ is arguably one of Australia’s greatest inventions. Despite what you think, no one drinks or sells Fosters beer in Australia, so get that out of your head and pick up a slab of green bastards – which is the technical term for a case of Victoria Bitter (VB). The Drinking age is 18 here, but most Australian’s start punishing their liver around the start of high school.