Ski trail bikes

I mean snowmobiles of course, pretty much universally referred to by the popular brand name, Ski-Doo. These noisy smelly machines have been out of control in Australian alpine areas forever, but recent behavior is beyond acceptable. Guys, there’s a basic etiquette; it goes like this:

  1. Don’t. Snow sports are supposed to be about healthy outdoor activities, not noisy two-stroke internal combustion engines. But if you really, really must, how about showing some consideration for other alpine users.
  2. Groomed cross-country ski trails are off limits. There’d be places in the world where if you operated a ski-doo anywhere near a cross-country trail, your machine would be impounded and your permit cancelled for the season. Maybe we need some actual enforcement here. I see dopes churning up groomed trails even where there are clearly marked separate snowmobile routes (Ruined Castle at Falls Creek comes to mind).
  3. But if there really is no alternative and you must use a groomed trail to get to your job (there would be no other reason, would there?), then always use the side, not the middle — if available, the side without classic ski track grooves (if you don’t know, ASK) … and, if available, always the side a ski-doo has used before, whether right or left.
  4. And in both NSW and Victoria, the area beyond the resort boundaries is all national park. Ski-doos are only permitted there for official purposes, which do not include your joy ride. That’s even if you happen to be riding a government-owned or hydro-owned machine!

Ok, bitch session over.   Hey, isn’t the snow nice. Thin, yes, but extensive, and with a decent surface. After a terrible start this season seems to be going pretty well now. And the resorts are empty … if you ever thought you might try skiing, now’s the time.