I can’t find a good photograph of Diane Ainsworth – one that does her justice.
Thirty years ago, she had a cheeky smile, deep-set eyes, mousey-coloured thick wiry hair, and a very thin waist.
We were friends at boarding school, and in the same hockey team: I was the centre-forward and she my fast and fearless left-wing.
After high school, she went to art college. But rather than becoming a professional graphic designer, ended-up the head-housekeeper at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel.
If she had become an artist, she would no doubt still be alive. As it turned-out, twenty-years ago last week (30 July 1997), Diane was buried alive under a landslide on the slopes of Mount Kosciusko.
“As the unstable slope above the four-storey Carinya Lodge (owned by the Brindabella Ski Club) slipped downhill, it hit the east wing of the Carinya Ski Lodge, tearing it in two. This initial landslide removed the support for the Alpine Way road which in turn collapsed, shearing the western half of Carinya from its foundations, allowing it to slide downhill and crossing a road before colliding with the Bimbadeen Ski Lodge at high speed, destroying both. Bimbadeen Staff Lodge was then hit, and it, too, collapsed. Witnesses reported hearing “a whoosh of air, a crack and a sound like a freight train rushing down the hill“.
Diane Ainsworth was 34 years young.
Today, I’m going to lunch with her sister Barbara, and two of her other best friends from boarding school – now, like me in their 54th year.
What would Diane think about us surviving twenty years longer – than her?
She would probably just insist we make the very most of every extra year alive on this beautiful Earth.