Skiing Home

Australia is a great place for cross-country skiing - reasonably reliable snow, excellent variety of easily accessable terrain, low avalanche risk and pretty good weather. Canberra is ideally placed for weekend trips to the snow, so every ski season the ANU Mountaineering Club runs an extensive cross-country (XC) skiing program for everyone from first timers, through to experienced skiers.

What is XC skiing?

XC skiing is a form of skiing where the ski boot is only connected to the skis at the toe. This allows you to ski up hills as well as down giving the freedom to ski anywhere rather than just next to the chairlifts at a resort. This also makes it a relatively cheap sport as the only cost is transport to the snow. A weekend XC skiing can cost as little as $50 (ie $40 for transport, $10 gear hire plus around $60 if your doing a lesson). This compares favourably to downhill skiing which costs around $140 for a day or $500 for a weekend.

Why should I try XC Skiing?

XC skiing is a flexible sport and it can be anything and everything you want it to be! Most people are attracted for one or more of the following reasons:

  • first timers who have never been to the snow are attracted by the fact that XC skiing the cheapest way to try skiing
  • downhill skiers are attracted by the adrenalin of backcountry downhill which gets you away from the crowds at resorts and out to the fresh snow in the backcountry
  • the amazing beauty and remoteness of Australia's alpine areas attracts “bushwalkers on skis” who want to go for a relaxing tour but have that downhill thrill you can't get with snow shoes
  • resort telemarkers want the challenge of telemark skiing without leaving the convenience of the lifts (and luxuries like pubs) at the ski resorts
  • the fitness and challenge of racing attracts competitive people to XC ski racing.

During the season the ANUMC will have trips that satisfy all of the reasons to try XC skiing from from challenging overnight trips to downhill night skiing under lights (or enjoying a beer by the fire while others night ski).

For more info about XC skiing check out the other webpages related to skiing (links on left) including the Lessons page, the XC Info Sheet with a list of gear to bring and the Club Ski Gear Page and the Trip Costs page.

“It's hooting with glee as you link turn after turn down an untracked slope in 6 inches of fresh snow, it's the silent beauty of an alpine forest blanketed in snow, it's that feeling of apprehension and expectation when setting out on a week-long trip miles from anywhere (and anyone), it's screaming with frustration as you crash for the twentieth time that day (and groan with the effort of getting up with a 15kg pack on your back), it's struggling into a 20-knot southerly blasting snow and ice into your face, it's cooking dinner under a clear winter sky of stars, and it's snuggling down into your cosy sleeping bag at night while a storm rages outside your tent.”