A 40 Year Love Affair With Thredbo
Posted on 13 Sep, 2020
Skiing is a leisure activity for many. For Tim Robertson, it’s a lifetime love affair that has taken him around the world, introduced him to his wife and has been passed on to his son. Recently celebrating 40 years as a ski instructor at Thredbo, Tim’s passion for skiing and the mountain community remains as fervent as ever. We caught up with Tim “Robbo” Robertson to find out how it all began…
‘‘I was introduced to skiing when I was about 9 when my dad worked overseas (as a diplomat) in Lebanon of all places. He went skiing and I joined in and ever since I put my skis on I just loved the sport.’’
After returning to Australia, Robertson got to work bribing his dad to take him skiing at every opportunity.
‘‘I cleaned his car twice a week, mowed the lawn three times, we had the best lawn in town just to get up to the mountains so we could go skiing. I fell in love with the sport and I was always trying to go skiing every time possible.’’
Fast forward to 1981 and Robertson, then in his early twenties, was keen to progress his skiing so he enrolled in a hiring clinic at Thredbo.
‘’I was a bit of a punter and one of the best ways to improve your skiing without paying for lessons was to jump in a hiring clinic and go through the process of learning to ski and how to teach.’’
On the second day of the clinic he was pulled out and asked to teach a lesson.
‘’I didn’t know anything about teaching at all, I was pretty raw so they were pretty desperate for ski instructors. I taught this lesson, I had no idea what I was talking about and anyway I must’ve done a good job because the guy rebooked me the next day.’’
Since that first lesson, ski instructing has taken Robertson all around the globe, from Beaver Creek in Colorado to several countries in Europe, and he’s made a lot of friends along the way.
‘’There’s a great skiing instructor community and I love that idea of catching up with people in different parts of the world. You could be anywhere in the world, far reaches of continents and still run into somebody you know from years back.’’
Robertson met his wife Gabi at one of Thredbo’s après-ski venues, Schuss Bar back in 1988.
‘’She had never skied before so that winter I put her in a lesson and I’ve got to say there’s one thing I’ve learned… and that’s never try teach your wife to ski and never try to teach your wife or girlfriend to drive, put them in a lesson and then your love life will be perfect.’’
Their son Sam was born in 1983 and it wasn’t long before he was taking after his dad and hitting the slopes.
‘’When he was old enough about 2 or 3 years of age he went skiing. We took him to Friday Flat and he just worked his way up to more advanced runs and I just gave him a couple of tips and showed him the love of skiing. He took it on with a lot of vim and vigour then he went on to represent Australia in two world championships in Schladming and Beaver Creek. He has a love for skiing that’s just as passionate as mine, if not more.’’
Aside from his family, being a ski instructor has given Robertson many proud moments over the years.
‘’The most common proud moment for me is skiing with people in a lesson and they’ve really enjoyed it and they really want to learn and you can see the smile in their face and you see them ski after the lesson and they’ve just had a great time and you can see they’re going to come back years to come and that’s something really to be proud about.’’
Now aged 62, Robertson still gets a kick out of teaching people to ski and plans on returning for many more years to come.
‘’I want to hit the 50-year mark in ski school, if my body can hang out there, then I’m going to push as hard as I can. I still enjoy the skiing, still enjoy the teaching. You’re going to see me in another 10 years time.’’
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