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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Auden Schendler on climate change – skiers can make a difference

After a decade of inaction, the Australian snow industry is finally starting to engage meaningfully on the issue of climate change. With Perisher having been bought by the Vail Resorts group, it has been swept along in that companies efforts to achieve carbon neutrality for it’s operations by 2030. And Thredbo recently became the first Australian resort to formally join Protect Our Winters (POW) the activist group seeking to mobilise the snow sports community.

There is, of course, still plenty of room to move. Many resorts, like Mt Hotham, are still effectively in denial about climate change, opting for the ‘we’ll just invest more in snow making capacity’ option. But as the recent visit by POW founder Jeremy Jones showed, there is a significant interest in the snow community about climate change.

We are starting to see some great leadership from prominent skiers and riders like Nat Segal, who is a vocal advocate for climate action. The interview below comes from Powder magazine and features a conversation with Auden Schendler of the Aspen resort. Auden is often seen as a key global spokesperson on climate because of his work at putting Aspen on a sustainable footing. This reflection has some significant things to say about what is and what isn’t possible in the resorts and what is required if we are to take effective action to limit climate change.

Two salient points that stand out for me from this interview are:

“We have to acknowledge or understand as a starting point that to be sustainable has got to mean solving climate change.

On climate, if you’re not at risk politically or from public criticism, and if you don’t feel uncomfortable, if it doesn’t hurt, you’re probably not doing enough on climate”.

The take home message from Auden is that making your operations greener is not an end point. It’s part of the pathway to solving climate change. This is going to involve sustained and public advocacy for the adoption of policies which will tackle climate change in a meaningful way – ie, engagement in good old fashioned politics. As he eloquently puts it, it means advocating for ‘systemic change’.

He reminds us that the current option adopted by most resorts is simply not going to work:

‘You can’t adapt to where we’re headed … we’re headed toward four degrees Celsius’.

Continue reading “Auden Schendler on climate change – skiers can make a difference”

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‘Finding the Line’ launched

Finding the Line is a ski ‘film about fear, it’s paralyzing grip on humans and how it affects our decision-making’. It stars Australians Nat and Anna Segal. They were filming last winter on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains as part of the production.

‘Fear. Unless you’re insane, it’s a very natural and necessary part of life in the mountains. Fear can keep us alive and finding a way to understand and either overcome or bow to our fears is where much of the adventure lies.’

The film is now finished. It is having a launch in Whistler this week (this has a great background to the film). Stay tuned for details on the Australian launch.

More info available here. This site will have details on screenings as they are organised.

You can watch the trailer here.

Image: GUY FATTAL PHOTO / FINDING THE LINE

Cycle guide to north east Victoria

This is another great guide to north east Victoria. Like the Walk and Trails guide, the Bright and Surrounds cycle guide provides a fantastic introduction to all types of riding in the area from Myrtleford to Mt Beauty and Falls Creek to Dinner Plain.

It includes easy, family friendly riding, road riding options and the many shared trails (including the popular Rail Trails) plus details on Mountain bike riding. It is produced by the Alpine Shire. You can get free copies in local tourist information centres or download it as a pdf here.

Backcountry film festival lineup 2018

The backcountry film festival is going to be great this year. We will have shows in Melbourne (March or April) and Bright (July) and probably NSW.

There is a great line up of films (details here), eight in total, covering a range of continents and aspects of backcountry skiing/ riding and snow culture. Stay tuned for full details closer to winter.

Mountain Journal turns eight

Another year has zipped by. We had a great winter, mild summers without big fires, and lots of changes going on in the mountains. Here’s the annual reflection. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Adventure Travel Film Festival, Bright

The Adventure Travel Film Festival ‘showcases the best adventure travel films and talent from Australia and overseas’.

‘The Festival is a three-day event guaranteed to appeal to adventurers, armchair travellers and dreamers alike. The festival will be brimming films and inspirational talks, featuring celebrated local and international adventurers, covering everything from trekking, motor cycling and four wheel driving to kayaking, climbing, cycling, long-distance horse-riding and much more’.

It will be held in Bright, on February 9, 10 and 11.

Continue reading “Adventure Travel Film Festival, Bright”

Walks & trails guide to north east VIC

The Alpine Shire has produced a great walking guide for the areas between Myrtleford and Mt Beauty to Dinner Plain and back to Harrietville. Operating through the ‘Bright & Surrounds‘ tourist info program, the guide offers descriptions for walks in and around key towns plus wilder destinations like the Alpine National Park, Mt Bogong and the Buffalo Plateau.

Paper copies are available from tourist information centres in north eastern towns or online here.

This excellent resource aims to get more visitors to the region out on walking tracks, and makes it easy for first timers by providing full details on the distance and difficulty and notes for more than 65 walks.

Bold Horizon: High-country Place, People and Story

A new book on the Australian Alps will be released in April.

Matthew Higgins traces the mountain experience in a rich variety of ways. Firstly he talks of his own times in the alps as a bushwalker, cross-country skier, historian, and oral-history interviewer. Then, he profiles a range of people who have worked, lived, or played in the mountains: stockmen, skiers, Indigenous parks officers, rangers, brumby runners, foresters, authors, tourism operators, and others’.

Continue reading “Bold Horizon: High-country Place, People and Story”

Kerouac, Alaska and that book in my backpack

In my teen years I became obsessed with skiing, climbing, Alaska and the Rocky Mountains. My first multi day walk (the southern circuit at Wilsons Prom) propelled me into the outdoors. Me and my mates would ride our bikes out of town to go camping, we went on family trips to the snow, I did lots of hiking with a bushwalking group we set up at school, and then eventually discovered the Victorian Climbing Club, which opened up new horizons for adventures. I did my first summer of mountaineering in NZ/ Aotearoa when I was 18.

This was about getting outdoors and having adventures in the wild. But I quickly realised that I liked outdoor culture. I started to meet older people who had spent their lives pursuing climbing and skiing, and (as someone explained it to me), ‘the people of the little tents’, long distance hikers. I knew that a big part of having a healthy life was to be outdoors, to have the skills to travel through big landscapes safely and the ability to be with yourself and enjoy your own company. Solo trips became ever more important for me. Time on my own in wild nature made me spend a lot of time on the internal work that we all need to do.

Continue reading “Kerouac, Alaska and that book in my backpack”

A mountain community stands up against hate

There can be little doubt that the election of Donald Trump has emboldened racists, homophobes and bigots not only across the USA but also around the world. A growing number of people are actively opposing the ‘normalisation’ of hate. Many people and even businesses who would normally consider themselves to be ‘non political’ are finding that they need to speak up and get active.

One simple example of this has been the outdoor industries becoming active in opposing Donald Trump’s anti environment agenda.

Another example of (perhaps unexpected) opposition to bigotry and homophobia comes from the ski resort of Aspen Snowmass in Colorado, who have launched a campaign to clearly explain the core values of the resort: based on unity and non-discrimination.

Continue reading “A mountain community stands up against hate”

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