How not to be an offensive bogan skier on Australia Day

aspen Australia Day
Aspen Australia Day

For many, Australian and non Australians, January 26 is an excuse to get seriously rowdy while skiing and snowboarding overseas. Inner bogans get channelled with mullet wigs and you drop strewth into every sentence (funny for a while), meanwhile real bogans are pissing in the streets in Japan (not funny at all).

Bogan or not, if you’re an Aussie or a non Australian joining in the Aussie Day snow fun then you might want to investigate the meaning of Australia Day first so no unintended faux pas are committed while inhaling Tim Tams and drinking beer.

Oh, and keep your pants zipped up. Can’t believe I even had to write that.

What is Australia Day?

It is a day for Australians to celebrate what being Australian means to them. Officially Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip.

A National Australia Day Council, founded in 1979, views Australia Day as “a day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation,” and a “day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the generations to come”.

It is also the day that Australian of the Year is announced. Former Australians of the Year include Rossie Batty (domestic abuse survivor), Adam Goodes (footballer and Indigenous rights activist), Ita Buttrose (journalist), Tim Flannery (scientist and global warming activist), Fiona Wood (plastic surgeon).

What is Aboriginal Sovereignty Day and why does it matter?

For the original Australians, the indigenous Aborigines of Australian land, Australia day is known as Invasion Day or Survival Day and is a day to mourn their history and loss of their sovereign rights to their land, loss of family and loss of the right to practice their culture. To put this loss for indigenous Australia into perspective know that there is not one single Tasmanian Aboriginal left in Australia.

How is Australia Day celebrated in Australia?

With a damn good BBQ party, preferably on or near the beach. Both the red white and blue of the Australian Flag and the Green & Gold of the Boxing Kangaroo are key theme colours to many an Aussie Day party. Expect lamb, steak and snags with fresh seafood and lamingtons and pavlovas for dessert.

How to celebrate it in style while skiing overseas?

Check out this blog we wrote this week of which ski resorts are doing what, where and when on Australia Day. Yes, there’s free beer at Vail and Jackson Hole for those with Aussie ID, parties at Whistler and Aspen are opening their gondola early so we can get in some Aussie turns before hitting up the bar.

What to wear

Onesies are always a good idea. Kangaroos, Koalas, Wombats, Echidnas, any marsupial onesie you can find. Dress up as Steve Irwin, a cricketer, Dame Edna, Kylie Minogue, Gough Whitlam, a shark, the Opera House. Think of it as Australian Halloween and you’ll be set.

What to absolutely NOT wear

Be cool. Dressing up as an Aboriginal Australian is highly offensive as the day represents the beginnings of racism and genocide in Australia not to mention the stolen generation.

Didgeridoos, boomerangs and other indigenous elements only add insult to already serious injury. You may think it’s all good fun to paint sacred Aboriginal markings upon your face and body and ski down the hill half naked but you can be guaranteed the indigenous of Australia and their friends won’t find it so.

Some sensitivity goes a long way. If you want to dress offensively then dress up as Warwick Capper or Pauline Hanson. That will do the trick and have us all genuinely laughing.

If you’re not Australian and want to join in the Aussie Day dress up fun then ask an Australian what is and isn’t ok. Hopefully you’ll find an intelligent one to set you straight.

What to drink

Beer, beer and more beer. Throw in some good Western Australia white wines some reds from Barossa and some Bundaberg Rum and you’ll be spewing like a schoolie on the Gold Coast come lunch time. Oh dear.

The rest of us will just take in some Wild Brumby Schnapps every few laps on the hill before hitting the après bar for some Aussie tunes come 4pm stepping over the ‘schoolies’ passed out on the deck to get there.

How to speak

Aussies can entertain the locals and pepper Australian vernacular into their every day language on January 26. Wannabe Aussies can do the same if they can master the accent.

Just channel your inner Alf from Home & Away.

Strewth, stone the flamin’ crows, ankle biter, bloody oath, this arvo, pash, stoked, trackie dacks…and so on.

How to recover on January 27

One word. Berocca. Two words. In bed. Three letters – Triple J to live stream the Hottest 100 on January 27.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.

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