Oh the Weekend Warrior. Just the very thought of it fills my heart with apathy. Or is it empathy? Because now it’s Southern Hemisphere winter, I’m back at work and weekend warrior-ing has become my thing.
I’m a proud weekend warrior; making may way from Sydney to the Snowies, most weekends. My younger self, a seasoned snowboard bum and weekend crowd avoider, would shudder at what I‘ve become.
For those of us that LOVE skiing and snowboarding, a weekend of 12 hours driving for a max of 14 hours skiing is totally acceptable. After all, two days on snow is better then a weekend not skiing right? That’s my excuse anyway. My work colleagues don’t quite get it but they smile enthusiastically and get me sympathetic double shot coffees on the Monday morning.
This season has been the weekend warrior’s dream. Snow-pocalypse has fallen right on our favourite day, Friday. Extending through the weekend and warming our cockles like a strong mulled wine at Thredbo’s Black Sallee’s. Oh how lucky we have been.
So how do you make the most out of the weekend stash and dash? It’s taken a few seasons to get this right and I’m always fine-tuning my methods but so far, these are my hot tips to maximise your snow time and minimize the pain.
Fill up, load up midweek & save on cash
Fill the car with petrol midweek when it is cheaper. Check the tyre pressure to maximise your kilometres per litre, then check your oil and coolant. Now your car is ready for the 900km round trip, get your friends ready too.
Load the car up with skis, boards and water so you’re ready to leave quick-smart on the Friday. Three in the car is my ideal comfort to petrol dividing ratio. If you are going solo, need a ride or want to keep costs down by filling your car with potential new mates check out Jindabyne to and from – a great Facebook page to sort rides to and from Jindy.
Sort your ski pass before you leave
No one wants to spend precious shred time in a lift pass queue on a powder day. So make sure you have sorted passes online before you leave. If you have an old pass you can charge it digitally and go direct to the lifts. If you don’t have a physical pass yet, you can order it online and pick it up at the desk. Simple.
Doing it online before the weekend is such a time saver, and sometimes even a dollar saver. Make sure you check the resort’s website to see if there are any promotions you can benefit from. Thredbo offers a cheaper lift pass if you buy it online rather than in person.
Avoid the Sydney traffic
You’ve sent that last email, left your dirty lunch plate on your desk and tripped on your way out the office door, shouting “I’m going to the snow, I gotta go!”. Then. You. Sit. In. Traffic… SO much traffic. Second gear becomes the highlight of your next hour. Your forehead is bruised from bashing it on your steering wheel in frustration.
At times, leaving at 7pm will get you to Jindabyne the same time as leaving at 5pm. To avoid this, get on the trusty Google maps and see what the traffic is doing. Being live data, you can see the red lines and figure out ways to avoid them by swinging southwest, or through some residential streets to avoid the M1 to M5 hell. If you can, leave around 3pm.
Eat well on the Road
The organized amongst us have brought extra at lunch to wash down with our litre of hydrating coconut water for dinner on the road. For those that forgo lunch so their boss would let them leave early, stale servo sandwiches and McDonalds doesn’t have to be your only option. Eating well on the road will help you ski better the next day.
My favourite stops en route are Heatherbrae’s Pies in Sutton Forest (the Jillaroo with beef, bacon and parmesan is excellent + a sausage roll for the next day’s mountain snacks). Or if you can make it all the way to Queanbeyan before hunger strikes, Lime Leaves Thai is excellent (call ahead for maximum efficiency).
Just remember to drink as much water as you can en route and pick up any muesli bars for the weekend’s on-mountain snacks when you get petrol.
If you’re going to rent
Call ahead and tell them your size, angles, din and any other info so they can set everything up for you. Less faffing in the store the night before will mean more sleeping and energy for skiing. I highly recommend ESS in Jindabyne or Rhythm in Cooma for drive in convenience.
A regular weekend warrior needs a place to rest their head. Some hardcore warriors amongst us rent their own place for the winter or keep a caravan down in Jindy. Those without reliable local friends or money to book a comfy stay, do what every true ski bum does and camps. Just make sure you have a good sleeping bag!
Some great budget accommodation options to give a call for last minute stays are The Mad Moose Guest House in Jindabyne for a roaring fire & communal comfort or the House of Ullr in Thredbo if you have the cash to stay in the resort village.
Maximising time on snow
It goes without saying you should be aiming for first lifts. Don’t get temped by the morning D-tour, bakery run in Jindabyne for your fresh coffee and muffin. Try to get on the Alpine Way up to the mountain as soon as possible unless you want to second-gear crawl through the roundabout and up the mountain at a snail’s pace.
First out of Jindyabyne also means first to the Thredbo car park for that primo rockstar parking spot. Boot up, remember to lift your windscreen wipers up if its due to dump, and go pick up those passes you have already ordered or just head to the lift knowing your RFID car was loaded up online. Send a mate to get you a takeaway coffee with the locals at Cascades and wait for the lifts to start spinning. Winning.
Timing your lunch break
If you must stop for lunch or a drink, make sure you avoid the 12-1.30 rush. When everyone else is inside eating, this is the perfect time to get your speed laps in on the empty chairs. Fuel yourself with those muesli bars you picked up at the servo the night before, and then reap the rewards.
Leaving the mountain
During Snow-pocalypse no.1 this year it took me two hours to get down from Thredbo to Jindabyne. It was dumping like crazy and the ploughs were clearing the roads to make it safe but my timing and choice of exit were terrible. Plan ahead and try to time your departure so you don’t end up adding an unnecessary two hours to the journey home.
Fueling up for the ride home
It’s now Sunday and the lifts have just closed. You’re frothing from the weekend but wet, tired and not looking forward to the long journey home. After putting on your spare dry clothes, it’s time to start that long, dark mission home. Again resist the bakery as normally this late they don’t have too many options left anyway. Instead get on the road and plan to eat in Cooma.
The awesome team at ESS gave me a hot tip. When you get to Berridale call ahead and order a delicious pizza from Capital Dial-A-Pizza. It will be ready for your arrival and eating it on the road will save you time.
While every practiced weekend warrior will have their own systems, tricks and tips, these are my fail-safe, tried and tested methods for max shred time. Always keen to improve on efficiencies to maximise powder turns, let us know your go-tos when on the road for that much needed weekend powder stash and dash.
See you out there!