If you've been at Falls Creek over the last few days, you may have noticed quite a few group lessons occurring on the Hill. To be frank, this is pretty standard stuff at an Alpine resort. What is different however, if you watch closely, is that many of those people learning how to snowplough and basic christie look remarkably familiar with the technique already.
This is because it’s APSI exam time! Across most Snow resorts in Australia, sorry you’ve been left out Ben Lomond in Tasmania and Corrin Forrest in the ACT, the Australian Professional Snowsports Instructors were conducting training and examinations to find the next cohort of Alpine, Snowboard, Nordic, Telemark and Adaptive instructors for our snow industry.
Level 1 exams occurred at Falls Creek last week and this week, gifting our beautiful mountain with a fresh batch of enthusiastic instructors in time for the start of the school holidays. We’ve also been very lucky this year, due to fanatic snowfall and good planning from APSI head office, that the APSI was able to offer Level 2 examinations for those missed out on sitting their exams in 2021.
This means we’ve welcomed more people into the blue and black outfit that makes up the Falls Creek Snowsports Instructors uniform in 2022.
Ah, the clothing that is and was the Falls Creek instructor’s uniform. It’s changed quite a bit over the years. We’ve had many iterations, many brands, many colours and varying levels of waterproofness of this uniform over the years. I’ve loved the style of many of Falls’ instructors’ liveries, loathed one or two and kicked off a passion for collecting snow wear that currently numbers in the 100’s and almost every size, colour and pattern possible.
The 2022 Falls Snowsports uniform brand is Helly Hansen, that Norwegian stalwart of outdoor wear. Safe to say the current attire isn’t going to win any fashion awards, however the colour blocking blue and black is easily identifiable on the slopes, if a safe attire choice. I’ll not comment on its ability to repel Australian snow at it's worst.
In the early 2000s we had a flashback to a red uniform, in two-piece with white chest, arm and leg stripes and a blue chest band. Snazzy, while not being as flashy as its 1990s predecessor. Modern, but safe.
Roll back the clock to the 1990’s and there was a magnificent purple with pink, green and orange shoulder flashes two-piece suit (I’m going to say the brand was Nevica as it fits the profile for that time, but I’m not 100% sure). It was slightly iridescent from memory and very 1990s! I have something similar in my snow suit collection. At first, I loathed that uniform, but grew to love its gaudy colourful fabulousness eventually…i.e. once it was replaced. I feel confident that in the design there would have been a matching headband. I mean, it was the 1990’s.
However, my very favourite Falls uniform is from the 1980’s. In the last 12 months, long time Falls instructor, artist and owner of Falls Creek Guides immortalised these uniforms in public art installations throughout the village. I speak, of course, of the red one-piece suit with two blue bands wrapped around the chest. Iconic, stylish, simple, questionably waterproof and, I have on good authority, easy to turn inside out if you’ve stayed at the pub past 5pm and are not allowed to be in uniform. I still have one of the red beanies that accompanied that uniform. How I got it is another story altogether.
I know there are many more uniforms, but these are some of my favourites. Plus, I had photos of these ones.
First Published in This Week in Falls Creek & Mt Beauty 24 June 2022