News Single

08.09.08 21:00 Age: 10 yrs

Quikey finds snow!

Category: General

By: Roger and Megan

After a failed attempt a few weeks before, this time Quikey was really ready to find and take on the snow...

Now, we were kitted up with a sturdy fool-proof rack design, 4” wide Surly snow tyres, and even VIP passes and escort by Mt. Buller marketing.

Our trip started rather early on the Saturday morning, as to beat the snow traffic.  We had a brief stop in Mansfield to make our obligatory bakery stop, plus get hold of some snow chains and snow boots (KEEN sandals are great, but not made for snow!).  It was 9 AM sharp when we were ushered (VIP-style) through the resort gates to meet Prue (our escort).  Now this was how it is supposed to be done!

We followed Prue through to Telephone Box Junction to meet some very enthusiastic Ski Patrollers.  They were very intrigued by what we were unloading from the station wagon, and were discussing options for the day’s play as we were assembling the Quike.  Our big fat tyres didn’t go unnoticed - "aren’t they motorbike tyres??"  There, in the carpark, we also overheard a family discussing our contraption - “yeah, they’re the ones from the newspaper”... It turned out that there had a piece about our visit to Mt. Stirling in the Mansfield regional newspaper!

As soon as we were all geared up the Ski patrol guys took us up to King saddle for a spin.  Well they didn’t quite take us there... they headed up on their petrol-powered (scoff) quad bike and we said we’d meet them up there... eventually.  On the way we stopped to chat to just about everyone we saw - either we knew them (from Roger’s vast outdoor-ed connections) or they knew about us!

On that track we had our first real encounter with wet slushy Australian snow.  We tried a few different tactics for maintaining grip, but found that thinking like a low-range 4wd made it work.  We just dropped down to the lowest reduction gear on the Schlumpf to get a slow and constant turn on the wheels to maintain traction.  If we had the patience, we could keep going on the Quike without ever needing to get out and push.  But we’re not that patient!  Since Quikey is stable on his own (yay for 4 wheels), we’ll be able to just strap on a harness and tow, with the other person behind pushing. We’ve started putting some interesting plans together for remote steering and braking while towing (we’ll let you know how this progresses).

We eventually made it up to King saddle hut, where we had a ride around and then tried to tried to do an ascent on some steep slushy snow.  This was fun and amusing for all (especially the on-lookers), but not something we’d want to be doing for days on end.  The descent was pretty cool though - a nice controlled slide :).

After that we headed back to the car to re-pack for an overnight ride. We wanted to try out some ice-riding with our special studded ice tyres, and the best chance of finding ice was first thing in the morning, out in a south-facing
gully track a few km’s from the carpark.  We found a nice spot next to a creek and set up our tent, had some din-dins, and were about to retire to sleep when we noticed that the tent wasn’t actually waterproof. (Those of you from MBC might remember this particular tent - it’s probably about 10 years old, orange & purple, TNT3).  The floor had lots of repair patches on it, but that just meant the
water was seeping through everywhere BUT the repair patches.  We may as well have been sleeping on cotton.  So we improvised, and by doing so we found that our waterproof Crosso bags make a good tent footprint.

When we woke in the morning we were dreading doing the tyre switch with cold morning hands.  But then when we went for a quick wander down the track, we found that the snow was a bit crusty, but not really icy per se. So we rode the Quike on the fat Surly tyres for about 100 m down the track and to try it out, and had absolutely no troubles.  Obviously, these weren’t really the icy conditions that would be a test to the spike tyres.  So we decided to just pack up and head back on the fat tyres to find some other track to play on. On the way back we passed the practice ski slope (a short and couldn’t help but wonder...

After getting the OK from the Ski Patrol guys, we unloaded we Quike and returned to the practice slope.  Our first attempt down the run was quite slow as we were trying to keep control and not run through the barrier at the end.  But when we got to the bottom we had absolutely no problem braking, so we felt that we could probably ease off the brakes and glide down a bit faster.  Woohooo!  A passer-by skier agreed to take a little movie, and by the 4th take (being our 6th run in total) we had a nice little clip of Quikey cruising down the slope.  The stability and ease of control of the Quike was rather impressive, if we do say so ourselves.

When we’d had enough of playing on the practice slope we went back to the car to pack up. But last of all, we had to try out the toboggan run... but we didn’t have any toboggans... Once again, we improvised and found that Crosso drybags made pretty good toboggans :)

And then it was off home again.

Outcome: success!