Some trees have it hard. Perisher, NSW, Australia. September 2008

My wife and I went down to the “snowies” (short for the Snowy Mountains) last Thursday to meet up with some friends and we came back on Sunday. We enjoy spring skiing because the weather is usually much clearer and better behaved, plus the snow is a bit easier for poor skiers like us.

It usually comes as a surprise to people from the northern hemisphere that Australia has ski fields.  As matter of fact, the three contiguous national parks (Kosciusko National Park NSW, Namadgi National Park ACT and Alpine National Park Victoria) that make up the snowies cover an area of about 14200 square kilometres (about 5500 square miles). Although we have enough snow to ski on for about 4 months a year it’s not what most experienced skiers would call quality snow.  To tell the truth the snow here is mostly either, ice or sloppy crap, but it’s all we have so we make do.

Engogirl on her telemark skis heading out from Dead Horse Gap

Most of my friends and I avoid the resorts with ski lifts like the plague and we use heavy touring skis with telemark bindings to go out into the less infested parts of Kosciusko National Park.

Playing around on the the blue trail at Perisher

The only reason why we get any snow at all on the mainland of Australia is because of the altitude of the (laughably named) “Australian Alps” (should be called hills, even if it is the highest part of the country). Since much of the park is at about 2000m (about 6500ft) only the most hardy of plants can survive the harsh conditions of freezing cold winters with high winds and hot dry summers with bushfires. In the winter, snow covers the low heath and the only trees that one tends to see are battered and twisted Snow Gums.

It's hard being a tree at Perisher

 Even the incredibly tough Snow gums have a hard time coping with the conditions. Large areas of Kosciusko National Park were burnt in bush fires a couple of years ago leaving these stark remnants behind.

Sometimes even the Snow Gums can not handle the conditions

7 thoughts on “Some trees have it hard. Perisher, NSW, Australia. September 2008”

  1. The photographs of the snow gum tree tell a whole story don’t they? My goodness what strange and lovely creatures against a blue sky. I’ve just posted Weather Art, The Series, beginning with Rain. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever seen a photograph of yours where rain plays a part??? Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any.

  2. Wow. The starkness of the trees + the cool of the snow + the bright blue sky (+ Engogirl, naturellement) is quite a combo. Great pics and good to have you back.

  3. Once again, I find you extremely lucky to live in the midst of such beauty. I know you just photographed what was in front you… but I guess I like how you position yourself! 😉

  4. I had no idea you were an Aussie. I’m half (waist down). My old man bought a gum tree that survives cold weather and planted it in our back yard on the west coast of Canada. He’s now on his 3rd attempt and finally this one doesn’t seem to mind the wet, damp winters. Every time my father gets a chance, he’s out in the back yard breaking off a leaf and rubbing it between his fingers. When he smells them, I know he is transported back to the place he wants to be the most. Like me, sometimes we end up completely off course and have a hard time finding our way back. My Dad is a true blue Aussie that’s stuck in Canada. He loves it in Canada, but there really is no place like home. Too bad he isn’t into skiing. That is one of the things I’m afraid Australia can’t compete. Brilliant pictures by the way!

  5. Nat

    It’s funny that I didn’t really appreciate how beautiful Australia was until I left for 11 years and came back.

    Landscape photography….. be there and f8.

    Kelly

    So you’re an Aussie from the waist down? That’s the half that most Aussie men are mostly concerned with. Gum trees don’t like rich soils with too much phosphorus. I imagine most of the gum trees from higher altitudes in the Australian Alps or Tasmania would grow well in Canada (particularly in places like Vancouver).

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