Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Time for that Tassie trip?

As some forecasters suggested early in the year, 2017 seems to be turning into a less than average and slightly erratic season. The ephemeral joy of winter snow seems even more fleeting than usual this year, with the lesson that you should get out and enjoy it wherever and however you can when it arrives.

The most recent fronts appear to have brought the most snow to the southern mountains of Tasmania, which also got me thinking about the ephemeral wonder of Tassie’s peaks after heavy snow.

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Avalanche AST1 & CRS Courses at Mt Hotham

With the continued interest in backcountry terrain in Australia, and a growing number of Australian skiers and riders heading out of bounds in NZ and the northern hemisphere, there are more opportunities to learn avalanche skills here.

Mountain Journal has previously advertised avalanche courses that are being held in NSW and Victoria this year by Main Range BackCountry.

Now Survive First Aid has teamed up with Dave Enright from Evergreen Outdoor Centre Hakuba to provide Avalanche AST1 & CRS Courses at Mt Hotham this winter.

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Action now means more snow later

We all know that winter is in trouble. Climate change is already impacting on snowfalls and winters are becoming more erratic.

A recent report commissioned by the Alpine Resorts Co-ordinating Committee (ARCC) confirmed, yet again, the grim prognosis facing the snow industry and snow lovers if we don’t take serious action to radically reduce our contribution to global warming.

Continue reading “Action now means more snow later”

It’s here!

OK. So its probably not going to be mind blowing, but at least the long awaited snow is here. Forecasts show snowfalls and snow showers for the next week, but with small figures in terms of depth. At this point Tasmania looks like it will do best from the fronts that are coming through.

Check the forecast for Mt Mawson (southern TAS) here.

Check here for the seven day forecast for all Australian resorts.


Here it comes!

The much anticipated front that’s expected to bring decent snow falls is finally on it’s way. After the last system was ‘shunted off’ to the south by blocking High Systems (something that is expected to happen with increasing frequency as a result of climate change) we appear to have a system that’s strong enough to push through and hit the mainland.

It’s not expected to lead to deep falls, but at this point I reckon we will happily take whatever nature can provide. It is expected to cross the VIC Alps on friday night and saturday morning and snow showers could continue until next monday.

The image at the top comes from MountainWatch.

World telemark day, September 2017

Saturday September 2, 2017.

This is the annual day for telemark skiers (and any other backcountry inclined skiers and riders) to get together, share some turns, make new friends, and generally enjoy getting out in the mountains.

WTD was initiated by Telemark magazine, with events both in the northern and southern hemispheres.

At this point there are plans for gatherings at MT HOTHAM and the SNOWY MOUNTAINS. Any tele skiers are encouraged to come along to the organised events or plan their own on their local hill.

Full details are available here.

In praise of the winter road trip

The snow roadtrip. Most snow and mountain obsessed Australians end up traveling overseas to explore and ride bigger mountains and deeper snow. And while the destination might be the mountains, the roadtrip to get there is sometimes equally essential to the experience.

Japan by van, the Powder Highway in BC, doing the circuit of the resorts from Park City to Cedar City in Utah are all standout trips. Last January I spent a month doing backcountry trips in central Colorado. The hut system is fantastic, the skiing was mind blowing, and the road trip, a big loop from Vail to Salida, to Crested Butte and Ouray and then north to Grand Junction and Aspen, was a huge part of the fun.

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Riding for the Great Forest

The proposal for a Great Forest National Park is an idea whose time has come. The forests to the east of Melbourne contain incredible mountain ash and cool temperate rainforest. The proposed park could draw almost 380,000 extra visitors a year to the Central Highlands, add $71 million annually to the local economy and generate 750 jobs. It would protect the heart of the Highlands, including the catchments that supply much of Melbourne’s water.

Many people and groups are campaigning for the park. Aidan Kempster has been raising profile about the proposal through riding the trails and roads of the Central Highlands. He has been sharing his trips and insights on his website Riding for the Great Forest. Here he explains why he started riding to promote the vision of a Great National Park in the Central Highlands.

Continue reading “Riding for the Great Forest”

Where’s that damn snow?

Yes, winter teaches us many things. Including patience (and despair, like when an expected snow storm turns out to be rain). But after those mid May snowfalls I feel like it’s now testing us at a time when we should be getting reacquainted with the joys of fresh snow and early snowpack, and nice lines in the backcountry …

It now seems that the front that was expected to arrive from tomorrow has weakened to the point where even the southern mountains of Victoria will miss out on snow.

Fronts become more likely from Friday 23rd onwards, but there are still no strong indications of a significant snow event. And while the cold clear conditions have been good for making snow in the resorts, most backcountry terrain is looking pretty threadbare.

MountainWatch has snow forecasts for all Australian resorts (available here). Sadly, hitting ‘refresh’ doesn’t seem to make the snow arrive any quicker.

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