Once there was a young wombat named Benson who lived in a nice, warm wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.
Benson was reading an interesting library book about a country that had lots of snow everywhere, on the ground, on the trees, even on the houses. There was a picture of someone skiing down the side of a mountain, with snow flying everywhere around them.
Benson looked and looked. He imagined the feeling of sliding down the mountainside, clouds of fluffy, white snow blowing past him. It looked amazing. He decided that skiing was what he wanted to do more than anything in the world.
He closed the book and went outside to find some wood to make skis with. After a lot of looking, he found some big, thick pieces of bark, long and flat and perfect for skiing.
He found two sticks the right size for skiing sticks, and he got some very strong string out of the drawer in the kitchen. He put on his woolly winter hat and his thick winter coat, just like the skier in the book, and he got his swimming goggles. Perfect. He was ready.
He asked Aunt Lillibet, “Where’s the highest mountain you know?”
Aunt Lillibet was reading a very interesting book about racing pigeons and she didn’t look up. “Oh, I suppose Windy Hill is the highest place around here,”she said vaguely.
“Where’s Windy Hill?”Benson asked.
“Go past the playground, then turn left just after the fallen silky oak and keep going,” she said.
Benson put his skis and his sticks on his shoulder and he set off.
It was a long walk in the hot sun and the skis got heavier and heavier, but Benson kept thinking about whooshing downhill in a spray of white snow. When he got to Windy Hill, it was a bit higher than he expected. It was hard climbing up with the heavy skis, but he kept going. When he reached the top and looked down, it looked a lot steeper. Long green grass stretched down and down and down to the bottom.
He sat down and tied his skis to his feet with the string, nice and tight. He straightened his goggles, pulled his hat down firmly and waited for it to snow.
He waited and waited.
The sun got hotter, and after a while he took off his woolly hat to wipe the sweat off his face. He took off his goggles because they were all steamed up. He took off his coat and sat on it. Still there was no snow.
He waited and waited.
After a long time of waiting, Snippet, one of his echidna friends, came along. “Hi, Benson, what are you doing?” he said.
“Skiing,” Benson said nonchalantly.
“Wow, skiing!” Snippet said. “Can I watch?”
“Sure,” Benson said.
“It’s a shame we never get any snow here, isn’t it?” Snippet said.
“No snow?” Benson said.
“No,” Snippet said.
“Not ever?” Benson said.
“Never,” Snippet said, shaking his head.
Benson was very disappointed. If there was no snow, there was no point waiting any more. He stood up to go. Snippet said, “You were pretty smart to think of grass skiing.”
Benson was just about to ask him what grass skiing was when his left foot slipped on the long, green grass and before he knew it, he was skiing down the hill.
It was a lot faster than he expected. The sticks flew out of his hands. The skis slid over the grass like butter over a hot frying pan. Before he could take a breath he was flat on his back at the bottom of the hill.
Snippet clapped and cheered. “Wait for me!” he yelled. “I’m coming too!” He rolled himself into a tight echidna ball and rolled down the hill after Benson, yelling, “Wheeee!” the whole way.
At the bottom he uncurled and said to Benson, “That was great! Let’s do it again!”
They climbed back up to the top of the hill. Benson skied down again, this time with his eyes open, and landed flat on his bottom. Snippet rolled down even faster than last time, shouting and laughing. Before long, Snippet’s friend Snickle came along to see what all the shouting was about, and they had races to find out who could roll down the hill the fastest. Then Benson’s friend Mick came along with his sister Bonnie Lou, and Mick wanted a turn on the skis and Benson found out that if someone pushes you hard enough, you can slide all the way down a hill even without skis.
After a while the string holding the skis on broke, and Bonnie Lou found out that if you sit on a smooth piece of bark, you can slide down a hill just as fast as you can ski down it. Two other young wombats Benson had never met before and a bandicoot heard all the noise and wanted to play too. Before long everyone had their own piece of bark, and they were all having sliding and tumbling races down the hill.
“That was such a good idea, Benson!” Mick said, lying on his back at the bottom of the hill, covered in grass.
Benson and Snippet looked at each other and grinned.