Saturday 6 August 2016

An afternoon of tobogganing at the snow

Last weekend, I had a lovely visit from my sister, who came from Sydney to spend 24 hours in Launceston. When deciding how we should spend our Saturday, we thought that we should probably take advantage of the fact that the snow is only a 45 minute drive from home, and that late July is one of the best times to visit the ski slopes.

So, after a quick breakfast of halloumi and chorizo burgers from the Meat Bread Cheese stall at the Harvest Markets, we got ourselves organised and hopped in the car for a drive to Ben Lomond National Park.

I had visited Ben Lomond National Park in March for a hike to the peak and back, however it looks like a completely different place in July. I did notice the ski lifts and ski village when I was hiking there in March, which appeared to be quite abandoned at that time of year, so it was hard to believe how popular the skiing village is in winter.

We drove to the national park and left our car about halfway up the mountain, where we then jumped into the shuttle bus which drove us to the top of the mountain. If you have a four wheel drive and snow chains, you can drive up to the top yourself, however we thought it would be simpler to pay the $15 return bus fare and not have to worry about attempting to attach chains to a four wheel drive that we would have needed to hire for the day.

The Ben Lomond Snow Sports Centre has all the skiing and snowboarding equipment that you need for a day on the slopes. There are also options to get skiing or snowboarding lessons, and there is some accomodation on the mountain if you want to spend the weekend there. You can also grab a bite to eat or a hot chocolate at the Ben Lomond Snow Sports Cafe if you want to take a break before or after hitting the slopes.

We decided to stick with the tobogganing option, and each hired a toboggan for $15. Despite the fact that the toboggans were probably designed for children (which we realised when we were pretty much the only adults in the tobogganing area, apart from one other lady), we still had a great time playing in the snow and sliding down the (somewhat icy and bumpy) slopes. We even managed to find a makeshift igloo (well, a hut that had snow on top of it) to get some fun photos.

After a couple of hours we decided to call it a day and make our way back to Launceston. The fact that you can head out of town for 45 minutes and be at the ski slopes is definitely still a novelty for me, having grown up in Sydney all my life, and I'm sure I'll be back at Ben Lomond in the next few weeks to have a bit of a ski before the season ends.

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