An opportunity to ski the slopes of Mt Buller comes very rarely for our second year REEF participants. This year we hit the slopes in July to challenge the patience, resilience and comfort zones of the 15 REEFies.

Ollie was very excited to see the winter wonderland, snow-capped trees on Mt. Buller. He didn’t enjoy the walking in ski boots and carrying the heavy skis from the lodge to the mountain.

On day 1 skiing on the magic carpet, the burn of his calves form ski boots and pain in his thighs as he snowploughed did not excite him. However, Ollie was patient to tears and determined that his resilience would enable him to ski well. After all this opportunity was not likely to come around again and he had to make the most of the experience Cottage was able to give him.

Ollie moved beyond his comfort zone on Day 2 to start turning his skis and taking it slow down the magic carpet run. It was starting to come together and he could feel the thrill of gliding through the snow.

Bourke Street was his next goal, with a bit more confidence and support from his peers and Camp Leaders Ollie skied his first run. It was slow and painful but he did it, he could ski, he could turn and he could stop! It was all worthwhile.

Then Ollie hit another hurdle, his knee started to hurt and weight bearing was painful even walking it was sore. Ollie did not let this stop him though; he had a taste for the skiing adrenaline rush now and did not want to miss more chances to experience this. His adventurous side had kicked in and he was off skiing Baldy and Bourke Street, run after run with a big, gregarious grin.

On the final day, Ollie challenged himself further by skiing Burnt Hut Spur with its steeper slope and slushy snow further improving his skiing skills and joy of skiing.

Ollie could not believe he was able to push himself so far beyond his comfort zone, especially his pain threshold and experience so much success. The skiing bug had well and truly caught Ollie and he was disappointed that on Friday, we were to return home and not ski the slopes again, rumour has it he is planning to find a way to get back on the slopes again. Maybe a Cottage Mentor ski day in the future will help keep this ski bunny happy.