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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Australia’s first backcountry festival

The Backcountry festival will happen at Falls Creek, over the weekend of September 1 and 2, 2018.

It aims to celebrate all things backcountry – tele, split boarding, cross country, snow shoeing and alpine touring.

Our vision is to host a grass-roots gathering at Falls Creek for backcountry skiers and riders of all abilities.  If you’re interested in any form of human powered adventure in the backcountry, you should be there. Beginners to advanced, all are welcome.

We now have a fantastic program for the festival. Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Falls Creek Cross Country, we have some great telemark clinics and snow shoe tours, which are being offered for free.

A range of people have also offered to lead tours or offer skills workshops, like navigation skills and snow camping 101.

There will be demo skis available for hire, an outdoor bar in the afternoon, and a mini film festival featuring Australian made backcountry films and some great speakers in the evening.

Sunday will see the world telemark day gathering, with skiing both in and out of the resort as an option.

The program is available here.

What now?

Please invite your mates and spread the word. Facebook page available here.

Please register. This is free and makes planning easier if we know numbers. People who have registered will have first option on getting tickets to the film festival.

Start to build some stoke. If posting pics through winter, please feel free to tag us #VICbackcountryfestival

We know of one person who is planning to walk and snow shoe to the festival from Walhalla (!!). Where are you coming from?

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Featured post

Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts

There is no doubt that climate change is already impacting on snow conditions in Australia, and hence impacting on the industries that need snow to be viable. When it comes to responding to this existential threat, there are three key options: ignore it (in the hope it will go away), reduce our contribution to the problem (also called mitigation) or just try to adapt to the changes that the problem brings (also known as adaptation). With few exceptions, ski resorts in Australia have opted for the first and the third options. A sensible, responsible and forward thinking ski industry would be doing both adaptation and mitigation.

A report released by the Victorian government will help local resorts steer themselves along the path of adaptation.

Continue reading “Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts”

Featured post

Ski / Ride Hard. Do Good.

The backcountry festival is the product of a lot of volunteer effort and good will. Falls Creek Resort Management Board, Falls Creek Cross Country, and a range of businesses and individuals have offered help and support in various forms. Bogong Equipment has provided some funds.

We hope to be able to give back to some worthy causes while we hold the festival.

Continue reading “Ski / Ride Hard. Do Good.”

The inaugural Australian backcountry film festival

Its time for our own festival! This set of short films comes from a number of different producers and features some lovely stories and stunning scenes from some of our grandest skiing and riding terrain.

Continue reading “The inaugural Australian backcountry film festival”

Emerald Link film to be launched

East Gippsland is the only place on mainland Australia with continuous forests from the alps to the sea.

The vision to see the Emerald Link created seeks to protect this precious landscape and biodiversity and create a viable economic future based on nature tourism.

Last year, Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) shot a stunning film about the proposal. Produced by award winning cinematographer David Franjic from Colour Chorus. The Emerald Link film captures the wild beauty of East Gippsland’s forests and the stories of the people who love it. It is being launched on July 7.

Continue reading “Emerald Link film to be launched”

Alpine Access Australia AST1 avalanche courses

Alpine Access Australia is an accredited Avalanche Canada AST Provider. We run AST1 courses in NSW and Victoria. Avalanche Canada sets the global standard for providing avalanche awareness programs. Participants acquire new skills and knowledge to help them keep safe in the backcountry. Yes, avalanches do happen in Australia, and AST1 is also essential if you and your friends venture into the side or backcountry when skiing or snowboarding overseas.

Our Avalanche Canada Accredited Instructors are David Herring and Luka Szczepanik.

They are offering AST 1 courses this winter in the Snowy Mountains, Mt Hotham and Mt Stirling.

Continue reading “Alpine Access Australia AST1 avalanche courses”

Snowy Hydro seeks ‘fast-tracked environmental approval for pilot works’

We have previously reported that it appeared that Snowy Hydro 2 was seeking to avoid full scrutiny about the likely environmental impacts of the proposal to convert the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme into a pumped hydro system.

While the concept itself is an excellent one in that it will provide a huge ‘battery’ of hydro power for the eastern seaboard, it is essential the work be done in a way that minimises impacts on the environment of the Snowy Mountains. (Check here for a summary of possible impacts of the current proposal).

Recent news reports seem to confirm fears that Snowy Hydro is trying to ‘cut corners’ on the approvals process in order to fast track the development.

Continue reading “Snowy Hydro seeks ‘fast-tracked environmental approval for pilot works’”

Splitfest 2018

The NSW ‘Splitfest DownUnder’ will be held on the weekend of the 24-26th of August in the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains.

It’s always a great event – meet some great crew, camp out at Island Bend up in the Park, and join a tour on the Saturday that leaves from the Guthega resort. Splitfest is organised by Adam West. You can Register here.

The weekend kicks off on Friday night at the Jindabyne Bowling Club in the downstairs room starting @ 6pm.

Full details on what’s going on and what to bring can be found here.

In Search of Space, Journeys in Wild Places

In the introduction to In Search of Space, Journeys in Wild Places, Ross Brownscombe points out that ‘nature writing’ which ‘explores the poetry and magic of wild places’ has not developed into a strong tradition in Australia. Compared to North America and the UK this is certainly correct, and true writers in this genre are few and far between.

This book is a great addition to the library of nature writing that Australia has produced. There is a review here.

Here it comes

After a fairly ordinary opening weekend, are we finally getting to the real part of winter?

It seems to depend who you talk to but the general answer is YES.

These are the seven day forecasts for Australia from MountainWatch.

This is the one from SnowWatch. Obviously, longer term models become less reliable, with a greater chance of the cold front being shunted off by a blocking High system or weakening, etc. We’ve all had our hearts broken many times by seeing a 15 day forecast that looks mind blowing slowly dissolve into drizzle and a bit of cloud, so do ‘adjust your set’ to prepare yourself for disappointment. But the short term forecast looks great.

The Jane Bunn forecast (via ski.com.au) looks pretty spectacular.

A series of cold fronts is passing through, driven by a complex area of low pressure that slowly moves past, just south of Australia.  

The heavier snow coincides with the colder air. Its still a little warm today (Wednesday) and Thursday, then we are proper cold from Friday. Snow down to 900 metres on Friday and Saturday, lowering to 600 metres for Saturday night and early Sunday.

Northern resorts see the most from this system as the airflow is northwesterly for much of the time. Baw Baw picks up what is left on Monday into Tuesday. 

The high moves in on Tuesday, bringing a return to sunshine.

We’re looking at 40 to 95 cm of snow for northern resorts.

Lets hope this is correct!

Lamont magazine #2

Lamont magazine is only in its second edition but it already feels like it has become an institution in the Australian alpine community. Issue #2 is now available free at a wide range of city and mountain outlets (check here for locations) and has a great cross section of stories, largely focused on people who have turned their passion for the mountains into lifelong connection.

Continue reading “Lamont magazine #2”

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