The Charlotte Pass Open - One of the Lesser-Appreciated Treasures of XC Week

I think the only time I saw the sun during Cross Country Week this year was when Paul Thackray and I were leaving Perisher Valley on Thursday morning. Prior to that we had an unremitting diet of high wind, snow, poor visibility and more snow.

With only seventeen (17) pre-race entries, I was surprised, but highly delighted to find we had another dozen turn up on the day. Thankfully, the weather lifted slightly so we could run a course around the flat below The Chalet and our twenty nine (29) enthusiastic starters put in a great effort (although, their effort in getting through the magnificent lunch prepared by Stefan and Jules at “The Lodge” was not far behind).

Our visitor from Switzerland from last year, Christoph Gasche, returned and once more took the honours. First woman over the line was Marg Hayes.

As always, thanks to Peter Ward, our inimitable track setter, and to Geraldine Blanch, who performed the role of Technical Delegate for the day.

I cannot speak highly enough of Stefan’s and Jules’ efforts and I would also like thank all those members and guests staying at “The Lodge” for whatever inconvenience they may have suffered during the course of the race and the subsequent lunch and presentation.

Peter Southwell-Keely has clearly reminded me that the Charlotte Pass Open is quite probably the longest running ski race in Australia (outside of State and National titles). Accordingly, I think it is a really worthwhile event, notwithstanding the small numbers we attract each year.

The atmosphere at lunch is always terrific. The conversation stimulating and the prizes from the KAC Captain’s Locker leave little to be desired when it comes to repurposing items of otherwise questionable value. The great thing is, nobody really cares as it is all about the fun.

The ski back after the race was a terrific experience, given we had the wind at our backs, plenty of snow on the ground and the prospect of an excellent meal waiting for us at “Alphenof”.

I would also like to thank Lachlan and Didge at Charlotte Pass Village for their continuing support of this event and the track preparation which they did prior to Peter Ward cutting the classical track for our competitors.

Graeme Hearl