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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Koala spotted in logging coupe near Baw Baw plateau

Volunteers from Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) have found a koala on one of their wildlife surveys in an area on the slopes of the Baw Baw plateau where that species had not been sighted in almost two decades.

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BackcountryHuts.net

Many backcountry huts in the Australian Alps are either intended only for emergency use or are fairly uninviting places to stay (in contrast with many of the ones in high visitation areas of the Tasmanian high country). But the best ones can be fantastic spots for a winter camp when the conditions outside aren’t great.

The best resource I know for locating huts in the mountains is Backcountry Huts. You can search by area or state and find a huge number of buildings, from the ruinous to the fabulous.

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The backcountry – know before you go

The absolute majority of skiers and boarders enjoy their sport in resorts. Yet the continued interest in ‘side country’ and backcountry skiing and riding continues. While here in Australia, the backcountry (BC) does seem busier, it’s hard to tell if more people who mostly ski or ride in  resorts are spending some time in the side country, or whether it’s mostly people who are new to the sport who are venturing into the backcountry. It’s probably a mix of the two.

Either way, it does pose an issue. If people who are not familiar with ‘un managed’ winter environments are getting out of resorts under their own power, are they likely to get themselves into trouble in the backcountry? How can we help people to be ready for the conditions and terrain they might find?

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Mersey Forest Road reopens access to Walls of Jerusalem National Park

The Examiner newspaper is reporting that the Mersey Forest Road has re-opened. There is a 1.4 km walk to the start of the Walls track, and access is still not available to the end of the valley (ie the track into Chalice Lake, Arm River, Lee’s Paddock.

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SplitFest 2017

The NSW Splitfest DownUnder will be held on weekend of the 25-27th of August in the NSW main range.

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The 2017 Alpine Industry Conference

In early May, the Alpine Resorts Co-ordinating Council (*) (ARCC) hosted the ‘Alpine Industry Conference’ in Marysville.

While many participants were understandably focused on the imminent announcement about what will happen to the alpine resort management boards, and the overall theme of the conference was ‘managing a changing landscape’, a key issue was the threat posed by climate change to the very survival of the ski industry.

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Backcountry film festival – Sydney

The NSW Nordic Ski Club is screening the Winter Wildlands Backcountry Film Festival.  12 stunning short films from the backcountry: skiing, snowboarding and mountain cultures from around the world.  You can book tickets here. Tickets $15.  (free for NSC members).

26 July 2017.  7:30 pm

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The Hunt for White October

For the past six years, Mountain Journal has co-hosted the Australian showing of the Backcountry Film Festival (BCFF). The BCFF is a celebration of human powered outdoors adventure, with a strong focus on snow sports – skiing, splitboarding and snow shoeing. This season features 11 films over one evening (see here for dates and full details for the shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra).

In Melbourne, we have – in addition to the BCFF – a short film made at the end of the 2016 season. It follows Charlotte and her dad Mike as they make a late season foray to Mt Loch, in the Victorian High Country. The festival will screen on tuesday May 30th at Melbourne University.

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Reducing the impact of our snow obsession

Outside magazine recently posted a great piece on the environmental impact of skiing/ riding. Well, one particular aspect – the amount of carbon pollution we produce through driving or flying to get to ski destinations.

They tracked and collated the travel mileage during winter of their most snow-obsessed staff, then consulted a carbon offset specialist, who estimated they would have to plant 704 trees to sequester all the carbon generated.

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