Benalla’s Ethan Viant spends the season at Mt Buller

By Tara Whitsed

Nestled in Mt Buller’s village square, George's Ski Hire stands out as you enter the resort's inner sanctum.

Benalla’s Ethan Viant sees customer after customer, fitting them with hired skis, boots, poles, snowboards, helmets and more.

He looks as if he has been behind the counter at George's for years, but Mr Viant says it is his first season working at Mt Buller, or any snowfield for that matter.

Mr Viant said he graduated from Year 12 at FCJ College in Benalla last year after moving to the area a couple of years earlier.

“I went to an agricultural boarding school for three years in central New South Wales until my parents moved from our 50 000-acre sheep station to a much smaller 800-acre cattle farm near Benalla,” he said.

“I started at FCJ in Year 10 and became the college captain for 2018.”

Mr Viant, like many school leavers, said he decided to take a gap year to see “what else was out there”.

“Seeing as though I already had an interest in the snow I thought why not work at Mt Buller because it just seemed so different and that intrigued me,” he said.

“I chose Mt Buller because it was a mountain I’d been to before with my dad and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I just kind of said why not get paid to be up there?”

Under the guidance of George's Ski Hire owner Rob Aivatoglou, Mr Viant said he had been “absolutely loving it”. 

“(I) would highly recommend working on a mountain to anyone with or without experience because just the general vibe on a mountain with everyone is just straight up amazing,” he said.

“Some of the biggest highlights have definitely been the people up here; they’re all just chilled, laid back and all super easy to get along with.”

Despite being among the cold and snow, Mr Viant said he had not found anything too challenging living on the mountain.

“As long as you’re willing to give stuff a go you’ll be fine,” he said.

And after getting his first taste of snowfields life, Mr Viant said he would possibly work in Japan or Canada during their winter.

“And who knows? I might be back (at Mt Buller) next year,” he said.