Corin Forest ski field brings skiing and snowboarding back to the ACT
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Corin Forest ski field brings skiing and snowboarding back to the ACT

For the first time in two decades the ACT will have a ski field to call its own.

Corin Forest, south west from Canberra, will this winter open a beginner's slope and lift from which it will run ski and snowboard lessons.

Dane Liepins, Emma Fish and Andrew Snell on the ski slope at Corin Forest. 

27 May 2016
Photo by Rohan Thomson
The Canberra Times

Dane Liepins, Emma Fish and Andrew Snell on the ski slope at Corin Forest. 27 May 2016 Photo by Rohan Thomson The Canberra TimesCredit:Rohan Thomson

It has been a long time in the planning for the area's owners, who took over in 2013. "When it became apparent that it might be feasible to have a ski field on the outskirts of Canberra, that was such an interesting and fascinating idea to me," executive director Dane Liepins, a skier, said.

He and the team studied old photographs of skiing at the forest in the 1980s and they checked climate patterns. They looked at why it wasn't still happening after skiing had briefly returned to the forest in the 1990s.

"The reason for its demise weren't reasons of technical impossibility, they were to do with financial reasons and business reasons," Mr Liepins said.

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"Before taking over, we did three years of research in monitoring the weather patterns in determining that it was still technically viable."

The result of their research was significant investment in the area. The group quadrupled the number of snow guns from two to eight, and invested in ski hire equipment, a ski school and ski first aid.

There's a magic carpet lift in place to service the 80-metre-long and 60-metre-wide green slope, which will hold a maximum of 150 people at one time.

The forest opened as a play area in 2013, where Canberra parents could bring their children for snowball fights, to make a snowman or go tobogganing.

What Corin Forest is not, Mr Liepins said, is trying to compete with Perisher of Thredbo. "We offer a taste," he said. "It's a cheap, close to home experience to give you the basics."

After a warm autumn, snow is forecast again this weekend, still two weekends before the ski season officially begins. The first snow of the season fell over Thursday night at both Perisher and Thredbo, which both recorded five centimetres of a combination of natural and man-made snow.

If snow falls at Corin, the forest's snow play area will open next week.

"It's a really exciting time. We'll see how it all unfolds."

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times