Matty J's Tips On How To Survive A Snow Trip With Your Partner
Without wanting to kill each other...
"I've been snowboarding since I was 16," says Matty J, ex-Bachelor and The Living Room regular. "I have grown up going to the snow, it's one of my must-do holiday things."
It could have been tricky then, for this long-time lover of snowboarding to get his partner -- the lovely Laura Byrne, who isn't such a snow bunny -- to accompany him on a trip to Thredbo, but somehow the sweet-talking star managed to do it. He even convinced her to let him head off on a solo backcountry snowboarding adventure for the day.
"Not only was I suggesting a snow trip, I was also saying 'I also want to spend an entire day not with you, I want to do this backcountry tour'," Matty tells ten daily. "She was like, 'we’re going to go somewhere I hate and then you’re going to leave me for a whole day', and I was like, 'YES!'" he laughs.
So while Matty was off tackling the backcountry wilderness (more of that in a moment) Laura got to have a private snowboard lesson.
"I remember dropping her off at ski school and snowboarding off and hoping she was okay -- it was like dropping a kid off at school!" says Matty.
"I was hoping she wasn’t in a corner crying somewhere! But she wasn't -- it was nice to come back and pick her up afterwards and see a big smile on her face. In that day she had made so many advancements in her ability and could finally enjoy the snow for what it is."
She could also enjoy all of the luxuries that the mountains have to offer -- Matty made sure the pair stayed in the village to get the most out of their trip.
"My rule for staying at the snow is that the accommodation has to be as close to the ski field as possible, so we stayed at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel -- you're spitting distance from the chair lift, and as you pull back the blinds in the morning you can see up the mountain.
"The nicest thing is the village is at the base of the mountain -- it’s a lot nicer and prettier than other ski fields and it has more places to eat and cafes. It’s nice to have a village feel, it’s like being in the French alps where the village is at the base of the mountain and it’s picturesque and beautiful."
So while Laura could learn at her own pace, and enjoy a little apres ski as well, meanwhile, Matty himself was tackling something slightly more challenging -- a Backcountry Tour at Leatherbarrel Creek.
"This year we tried the backcountry tours as part of a resort activity -- the tour that we did was about $200 for a private guide, and there are about six different routes you can go on, ranging in difficulty.
"We did about two and a half hours of just hiking uphill," he says, "and there is definitely a thought in your mind sometimes where you think I could do with a chairlift! But It does make you appreciate the downhill so much more. There’s a backcountry saying, “You gotta earn your turns”. So when you get to the top it’s so much more rewarding -- and you’ve reached there all by yourself."
Not only do you have to hike up to earn those turns, you also have to carry all your gear while you do it.
"You have all your equipment with you," says Matty. "Beacons, shovels, your snow shoes, poles and board -- you have an extra 10-15kg on your back. It definitely changes the way you move, and the first couple of turns you're getting a feel for it as well... when you’re riding ungroomed runs it’s a lot more technically difficult to navigate through."
"The hike was hard work but incredibly stunning -- especially once you passed through the tree line so you could see the gully below. Even more impressive than the view was the packed lunch I devoured halfway up the mountain -- ham and salad sandwiches and muesli bars have never tasted so good!"
The group only had about five minutes to enjoy the view before they started packing away snowshoes and strapping into their boards. Matty tells ten daily the effort was well worth it.
"Even though the hike was beautiful, the highlight was definitely the ride back down. Being away from the crowds means you're able to pick your own lines and enjoy fresh tracks -- that's crack for snowboarders/skiers! The descent was challenging at times, especially when you're required to make multiple sharp turns through trees in the fresh snow. It's these challenges that make it so much more enjoyable, almost like you're experiencing a snow obstacle course."
And of course, while we get the idea that Matty will be heading back up to the backcountry on a regular basis, what we want to know is, will Laura go again? Has he done enough to convince her snow is the go?
"Yes! we’re going to New Zealand later this month to do a bit more of a snow adventure and she’s really excited about it! She was even talking about what kind of snowboard she would buy!"
Feature image: Supplied