We drove through the night, slept in the car, hit the snow, camped in minus 10 degrees, cooked lunch on top of a mountain and drove home with a blissfully tuckered girl.
Indira didn’t agree that is was winter. “It’s not winter, there’s no snow” she would tell us.
After explaining that the snow only falls on the tallest mountains in Australia, Indira and I packed our bags, hired a car, dropped in to Patagonia to pick up a couple more layers, and at 6pm on Friday night we were on the road out of Sydney.
Indira wasn’t interested in sleeping but by 11pm my eyes were feeling pretty heavy – so we pulled into a road side, folded down the seats and took a few hours kip. At dawn we made our way into Jindabyne for groceries, coffee and skis before making the final leg up to Thredbo. Over coffee we took some YouTube lesson’s of 3 year olds skiing to get Indira into the groove – “another one dad, another one!”.
Into the alpine village we headed straight for ‘Road Runner’, where the snow virgins practice their plough before getting any speed. Indira took a few runs between my legs and a few more on my shoulders. Nearing lunch we decided to set up camp and cook lunch before coming back for another session. As soon as we set up tent it began to snow and Indira wanted to ride her bike around the camp.
Overnight temperatures dropped to minus 10 celcius. The limit of our sleeping bags. Every hour or so I woke up and stuck my hand into Indira’s sleeping bag.. making sure she was still warm.. she didn’t seem phased at all, though occasionally she’d stick her arms out and they felt like popsicles.
In the morning we woke to a deliciously warm fire and friends Aaron, Lara, Jeremy and Belle; and a fresh pot of coffee!
Indira and I headed back up the mountain but she was more interested in skiing on my shoulder than her skis – so we hiked up one of the ski runs and made our way back down. After that Indira was more interested in climbing things around the village than skiing – boulders, fences, stairs, statues and anything else that looked climbable.
It was a stunning day in the mountains and we took the Kosciusko Express chairlift to one of the highest points in the ski fields. Indira had an absolute blast on the chairlift, so we went up and down a couple of mountains. On the second we set up our cooker and made lunch before some play in the snow. On the chairlift down Indira was falling asleep. We made our way back to the car and as we exited the village the lights were out for this beautiful girl.
When we returned home Indira was noticeably changed. Her confidence was at a whole new level – such a wonderful thing to observe. Whether it was the experience of being in nature, of learning something new she’d only read about, or some solid one-to-one time with a parent, I don’t know – but I do know I’ll be encouraging all of it more often.
So right now the world-traveling Moots is being rebuilt for some action and in a couple of week Indira and I will be headed back into the wilderness..