One day last year after a Thursday afternoon skiing with some of the fabulous Falls Creek ladies, we popped into the Frying Pan Inn for a quick beverage. The lovely Pip Hunt (Marketing Manager for Traverse Alpine Group) suggested I pop down into the lower bar as there was a local artist exhibiting his drawings. His name was Ben McDonald-Stuart.
I was immediately impressed by the artworks on display, and so started chatting with Ben & his gorgeous girlfriend Meg about Ben’s art. We made a plan to catch up after the season to discuss the possibility of Ben creating some custom illustrations for I Dream Of Snow. When that time came around, I explained my desire to create products with Australian alpine animals at their heart, in the same way that European alpine areas often create products with bears, deer’s, mountains goats and foxes at their heart. Long story short, that’s exactly what we did. Ben went away and worked his magic and came up with illustrations of a skiing wombat and a snowboarding koala, known as Agent W & Agent K.
It wasn’t till I had children myself that I realised that Australian alpine resorts and businesses still regularly use European or North American alpine animals in their depictions of snow sports and business offerings. There’s nothing wrong with that. Anyone who’s visited my store knows that I love a stag (as well as a gondola…and until recently Australia didn’t have any alpine Gondolas!). That is not to say that Australian alpine resorts never used Australian animals in their marketing, promotions or souvenirs. I can clearly remember an old advertising campaign run by the (I think) Falls Creek Chamber of Commerce which, and I’m paraphrasing, was along the lines of Ski Falls: Switzerland with Koalas. I think the Falls Creek Museum has a copy of this ad somewhere in its collection. I also had, until a few days ago when I sold them, three Skiing Kangaroo ‘Ski Australia’ jumpers in my vintage clothing collection. So clearly indigenous animals have been referenced by alpine businesses in the past but have fallen out of favour recently.
Australia has a proud alpine tradition. We have the honour of having the world’s first snowsports club in the Kiandra Snowshoe Club that was formed in 1861. Australia has a whole passel of successful winter Olympians and world cup medallists including Falls Creek alumni Malcolm Milne, Mike Clark, Steve Lee & Britt Cox to name a few. By choosing to create images that use Australian native alpine animals, I’m hoping to reinforce the unconscious message that snow sports are something that we do, and that it’s a leisure and sporting activity that is embedded in our Australian culture.
So, if you are interested in seeing Agent K or Agent W in person, pop into the www.idreamofsnow.com Store on Level 1, St Falls Resort West. Keep your eyes peeled for the signs and follow them to get to the hidden treasure cave that is my I Dream of Snow shop. It’s definitely worth the effort!
Have a great week and see you in store!
Underneath PowedervKeg Bar & Slides Cafe, St Falls Resort.