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Mount Hotham snowkiting

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mount Hotham rises to an altitude of 1861 metres. It enjoys high snowfalls which attract droves of skiers to the 3.2 square kilometres of ski area. It includes 35 kilometres of tree-lined cross-country trails and a network of 13 lifts. The longest run is 2.5 kilometres, and there are plenty of runs for skiers and boarders of all levels.

Snowkiting is an amazing new experience for those adrenalin-seekers. It has taken Europe and North America by storm and now skiers and boarders at Hotham can see what the fuss is about.

It is similar to kitesurfing, and combines either skiing or snowboarding with a small parachute. With experience and confidence, new opportunities — and terrain — open up.

It gives the thrill of coasting along flat ground or going uphill on skis or a board. Breathtaking aerial tricks off banks are done by advanced riders.

Hotham has a range of snowkiting lessons offered by a team of experienced professionals. One or two lessons a day, with all equipment, are part of what's on offer. Lessons take place in safety zones in the Orchard area, above the Summit chairlift.

The first lesson takes in how to fly a kite, learning its power and how to use it to propel yourself. The next lesson combines those skills with the board.

Lessons come in three levels:
Level one — kite pilot A 90-minute lesson with an introduction to kite set-up. For beginners, lessons are aimed at having a solid grasp of the basics, including becoming comfortable with the equipment.

Level two — new rider
90 minutes of kite boarding and skiing, J pattern work, edging and turning. This is for those slightly more familiar with snow kiting equipment. It teaches how to move on the snow and how to use the kite to edge and turn easily.

Level three — cruising
A three-hour afternoon lesson of intermediate moves, holding up-wind and jumping. This is where the real fun cuts in with the adrenalin aspect of the sport. After this, you can call yourself a bona-fide snowkiter.

The Getaway crew stayed at Blowhard, Hotham Heights Chalets, Hotham Village. It is a culmination of superb architecture and wonderful handmade furnishings. The 10-level lodge is a resort within a resort. It has a sky bar, spa, sauna, cinema, games room, sundecks and undercover parking. It has five separate living areas and comfortably accommodates 12. It also features three ensuite rooms, each with a spa bath.

Location

360kms north-east of Melbourne.

Cost

Mt Hotham Alpine Resort 90-minute snowkiting lessons start at $90 per person.

Virgin Blue has flights to Melbourne.

From One-way fare
Adelaide
$ 95
Sydney
$115
Brisbane
$145
Darwin
$199
Perth
$229

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the net. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at August 30, 2007 and are subject to change.

For more information

Hotham Alpine Resort
Ph: (03) 5759 4444
Website: www.hotham.com.au

Blowhard
Ph: 1800 468 426
Website: www.hotham.com.au

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789
Website: www.virginblue.com.au

For more information on Mt Hotham
Website: www.mthotham.com.au

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