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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18



The Melbourne Bushies - Fifty years along the track (1940-90)

substantially true on the flat and uphill, given a little co-operation from the waxes. On the downhill slopes it was a different matter, falling over or the risky arboreal arrest being the favoured technique in dealing with unwelcome speed.

The above techniques were just too dangerous on steep slopes. One frequently used variation relied on very careful and precise alignment of the skis along the desired path. After pushing off with the stocks speed was gained rapidly and it was very important not to be distracted from the task in hand by small, unforeseen obstacles. Waxless skis with their patterned bases tended to generate a whine that increased in intensity and pitch with speed. Sometimes the crescendo was hard to ignore and rather off-putting. Times have changed a little since then. With the increasing number of skiers, even tourers are now seen practising the telemark turn. No longer is a bushwalker identifiable from a great distance through style alone.

When discussing bushwalkers and skiing, about one of the last things to come to mind is skiing style. But style we have in abundance, perhaps not a lot of elegance but style it is - very practical, derived from the desire to get about the mountains in winter, and generally refined by the complete absence of professional tuition. Those who have skied with Ken MacMahon will recognise a classic style. One could only watch in amazement as Ken disappeared headlong into a field of boulders, arms and legs waving around in the air. Surely he must have fallen after disappearing from view over the last rock. But no, he heaves into sight again, briefly, no more off balance than before, just to disappear then reappear again until gravity or lack of snow or caution finally stop him. Quite a few have been tutored by Ken (Come on, you can do it') and have thus incorporated parts of his style. This was not necessarily a permanent disadvantage provided a little thought was given before doing anything particularly silly.

The mid-seventies and onwards saw the Bushies taking to skiing in large numbers. It was quite an adventure touring around with some of the groups. Part of the fun was just watching people negotiate fairly straightforward obstacles. To a certain degree it was expected that everyone would provide their share of entertainment. Woe betide anyone seen taking a more cautious route around a difficult patch that the others had negotiated with varying degrees of success. Sometimes they would be asked to go back and do it the 'proper way'.

The obligation to entertain could sometimes be taken too far, even if not deliberately. In July 1980 Graham Hodgson was a member of a rather large party touring around the Horn on Mt Buffalo. Graham has