As part of the Year 9 Outdoor Environmental Sustainability enrichment, students have had the opportunity to study the alpine environment as the main focus area. Last weekend, the students embarked on their first fieldtrip to the Australian Alps with an overnight cross-country skiing camp to Mt Stirling near the town of Mansfield. With some students having skied a few times before and others having never seen snow before, the class was very excited to finally set foot on the white stuff.
Recent weeks have seen better than average snow falls across Victoria, which made for a picturesque scene upon arrival. Snow and weather conditions were ideal with light winds and blue bird skies for miles. After receiving equipment, meeting our instructor and learning the basics, the group made head way up the hill through the Alpine Ash and Snow Gum woodlands to the Cricket Pitch Alpine Camp; a seasonal camp set up by our hosts, Stirling Experience, complete with seven separate tents, communal tee-pee and the much-loved fire place. Icy conditions in the morning made for a challenging descent, but most persevered and developed effective speed control throughout the day as the snow softened into the afternoon. There were plenty of tired and some sore bodies by the end, however the experience certainly helped students better understand the unique characteristics of Australia’s alpine environment, whilst enjoying the challenge of learning a new skill. For one student, an encounter with a cute and friendly antechinus (Australian marsupial mouse) made the trip even more memorable.