7 days ago, we experienced our first snow as a couple atop Mount Wellington. Today would be our second time, with a little (okay, not so little) twist to it.
Today, we were going skiing on the mountain of Ben Lomond.
Day 8: Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond Snow Sports is the lone ski resort and school on this particular mountain. However, at that time we couldn’t find much information on where and how to get up there. We ended up calling its office to get the details.
Thankfully, the website seems to have been updated with more info now. It mentions that the resort has two shuttle buses that will pick you up “from the bottom car park at the Parks and Wildlife Service registration booth.”
Even if you’re driving (like we were), do take note that the last 7km up to the peak are “subject to ice and snow.” In other words, it’s really, really dangerous to attempt to drive up by yourself – even though the website says that you can if you have fitted snow chains onto your car. The steep ascent and sharp turns make it extremely tricky to navigate, even for an experienced driver.
My advice: don’t even try to drive up. Just leave your car at the car park (don’t worry, our car was in perfect condition when we got back, albeit quite muddy) and take the shuttle. The drivers are very skilled – ours told us that he’d been driving this route since he was a kid!
Don’t believe me? Have a look at our journey uphill in the shuttle bus:
Also, don’t worry too much about having proper clothing and all. Anything and everything can be rented from the ski school at a fairly reasonable price.
If you do have some thick jackets and clothing, though, you’d be able to cut some costs like we did. In the end, this is how much we spent:
- Full-day ski lesson with skis, boots, and poles included (A$90 x 2 = A$180)
- Pants (A$15)
- Locker (A$20)
- Shuttle bus return trip (A$15 x 2 = A$30)
Total amount spent: A$245
Be warned that your own clothing, if not made for ski conditions, might not make it through the experience. My Uniqlo ultralight down jacket, for example, came out of it with several tears, with feathers flying.
Like when we arrived at Mount Wellington, we were unprepared for the strong, cold winds that greeted us atop Ben Lomond. Add on to that the slippery and icy paths, and we were in for quite the experience.
Welcome to winter!
Once we were there, we got fitted for our snow clothing and equipment. The staff were very helpful and efficient, and it was done within 10 to 15 minutes.
Once our instructor was done with the previous group, it was our turn!
Our instructor was friendly and patient, bringing us through the training slopes multiple times before heading up to the “big boy” ski slope. Unfortunately, if you want to make more trips up the main slope, you’ll need to pay an additional fee per chair lift ride.
The training slopes, however, were available for unlimited usage, and were sufficient for our needs.
All in all, it was a very tiring – aches and bruises to be expected! – but fulfilling day.
We were so tired that (and yes I’m ashamed to say this) we ended up eating McDonalds that night. To be fair, they have really, really cheap McNuggets.
Next up: Day 9: Grindelwald Swiss Village