Mt Buller

Like most MTB-aware ski resorts in summer, Mt Buller offers both DH and XC riding. Unlike most, Buller only runs the lifts from Boxing Day to the beginning of February. Very short season.
Rocking up a few days before Christmas meant lots of XC work prior to the descending. We rode all the trails at least twice each. By far my favourite is a recent addition named Misty Twist. It tightly winds its way down the side of Corn Hill before winding its way back up again. I could ride trails like that all day long. In a few places the bushes encroach on the trail enough that you can’t see where the next corner is, but other than this it is about perfect. Right down to the lovely grippy soil under the tyres.
Buller itself was dead. No one was around. Nothing was open. We saw one or two groups out on the trails each day.
On Christmas Day itself I tried the Delatite River Trail which runs 16 km from Buller Village to the town at the bottom of the hill. On weekends there is a shuttle to return you to the top, but not this day. So at the bottom we turned around and rode straight back up. I wouldn’t do that many other days as there are some blind high-speed bits that descenders wouldn’t expect oncoming traffic in. We saw one person on Christmas Day!
Taking just over a half-hour to get down, we found the stories of the difficult river crossings were a thing of the past - almost all the crossings are now bridged. The way back up has a couple of super-steep bits and then less than 2 km from the top is where it gets really steep. So we turned off onto the paved road and finished our ride on tar, gravel and a bit of singletrack (Snowgum it is called). Not the most exciting activity but worth doing.
The DH stuff started on Boxing Day with a pretty good opening day crowd. Turns out there are really 2 trails down. ABOM, the race course and original trail and International, the steeper and rougher technical option. ABOM offers some high speed fun. International is not quite steep enough to compensate for its rock gardens (by contrast these trails in BC are actually easier to ride because they are steeper and you have less trouble getting over the rocks). The crux move at Buller is this wooden berm at the bottom of a steep and rough “stair” case ending in a bit of a drop. Once we cleaned that we had a sense of satisfaction.

The tyre that lasted 22 days in BC lasted 3 at Buller. Rough!

The drive to/from Canberra is a bit long and arduous but it was definitely worth going.