In all parts of the skiing and snowboarding world, interest in the backcountry – those areas outside the sections of resorts serviced by lifts – continues to grow.

While backcountry is still a ‘niche’ thing, advances in gear technology and a range of guided tours and safety courses are making it easier for resort skiers/ riders to travel out of bounds, and the backcountry community continues to grow.

Here are a few of the backcountry themed events and opportunities I’m aware are happening this winter.

Tell me what I’ve missed: cam.walker@foe.org.au

PRE SEASON and CITY-BASED EVENTS

JUNE 1, HARRIETVILLE: Backcountry film festival screening in Harrietville (NE VIC). Saturday June 1. Details here.

JUNE 6, MELBOURNE: A night about backcountry. Learn about safety, locations, gear and news about riding the off piste terrain in Australia. Melbourne people should definitely come along to this event. June 6. Details here.

JUNE 19, MELBOURNE: Bogong Equipment in Little Bourke st, Melbourne, holds regular free info sessions at their store. The June 2019 session will focus on Backcountry Safety, with Luka Szczepanik and Simon Murray.

June 19. No bookings required, just show up. Details here.

JUNE 20, CANBERRA: Backcountry info night

At the Mont store in Canberra. Thursday June 20.

“The Mont Backcountry Info Night is about true backcountry, beyond the bounds of the sidecountry & slackcountry. It will give you the knowledge & contacts needed to tackle the Western faces of Kosi, Watson’s Crag, the Sentinel, camping in backcountry & much more”. Details here.

 

AVALANCHE TRAINING

IMG_5802Yes, avalanches do happen in Australia. And yes, if you ski any bigger, steeper terrain in the backcountry, you should at least do a level one avalanche course. A number of providers offer the Canadian curriculum (AST 1) in NSW and Victoria, including

  • Alpine Access Australia. Do AST 1 courses in both NSW and VIC. AAA are also the avalanche training provider for the VIC backcountry festival (see below)
  • Snow Safety Australia. Offering courses in the Canadian curriculum in both VIC and NSW.
  • Avalanche Training Australia. Offering a range of avalanche and backcountry safety courses out of Thredbo and Falls Creek.

GUIDED TRIPS

  • Alpine Access Australia offers guided tours (skiing and snowboarding) in the Snowy Mountains.
  • Hotham resort has introduced guided backcountry tours this winter. They are offering an ‘intro to backcountry’, ‘return to backcountry’ and guided personal tours. Details here.
  • Lets Split is offering five splitboarding tours this winter, in both VIC (Hotham, Mt Stirling and Bogong) and NSW (Guthega and Dead Horse Gap). Details here.
  • Mike Edmondson runs winter camping trips out onto the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains. They can be done on snow shoes, skis or splitboards.
  • The NSW Nordic Ski Club organises backcountry trips, largely in the Snowy Mountains.
  • Snowy Mountains Backcountry offers skiing and snow shoe tours on the Main Range. Details here.
  • Thredbo resort in NSW continues to offer guided trips into backcountry areas on the Main Range. They also offer snow shoe tours.
  • Traverse Hotham is ‘dedicated to introducing more people to the joys of cross country (XC) skiing and snowshoeing in our magnificent alpine environment’. They offer Beginner XC ski lessons and XC and snow shoes tours.
  • Wilderness Sports, based in Jindabyne, offers lessons and guided touring in the Snowy Mountains.

IMG_5846GETTING INFO

The backcountry forum is a great place to find information from other backcountry adventurers.

Backcountry ski wiki. This has some great resources on many of the key backcountry skiing and riding spots around the country.

EVENTS

JUNE

Slay Safe academy.

June 27/ 28. Mt Stirling

Mountain Sports Collective will be running a series of FREE Introduction to Advanced Backcountry sessions this season. These events are for participants who are eager to step beyond the patrol lines and learn the skills required to pursue extended ski touring (both skiing and split boarding). This is nominally everything you need to know to travel over a variety of alpine terrain. Details here.

JULY

Slay Safe academy.

July 25/26. Falls Creek

Mountain Sports Collective will be running a series of FREE Introduction to Advanced Backcountry sessions this season. These events are for participants who are eager to step beyond the patrol lines and learn the skills required to pursue extended ski touring (both skiing and split boarding). This is nominally everything you need to know to travel over a variety of alpine terrain. Details here.

AUGUST

West Ridge mountain festival.

1-4 August

Australia’s first mountaineering and ice climbing festival. In planning for 1-4 August 2019 at Mt. Buller.

 

SplitFest. Adam West is into the 8th year of hosting SplitFest – a splitboarding festival in the Snowy Mountains. The weekend starts with a get together in Jindabyne on Friday night. Most people then head up to camp at Island Bend and Saturday sees a big group outing up to Guthega Trig. August 23- 25.

http://www.splitfest.com.au/

Kangaroo Hoppet. Australia’s mega ski marathon happens out of Falls Creek. August 24.

Slay Safe academy.

August 29/30. Mt Hotham

Mountain Sports Collective will be running a series of FREE Introduction to Advanced Backcountry sessions this season. These events are for participants who are eager to step beyond the patrol lines and learn the skills required to pursue extended ski touring (both skiing and split boarding). This is nominally everything you need to know to travel over a variety of alpine terrain. Details here.

Ski – Splitboard Mountaineering Intro. Snow Safety Australia is offering a one day intro in NSW on August 31.

IMG_5849

SEPTEMBER

VIC backcountry festival. Celebrating ‘all things backcountry’ – human powered winter sports including cross country skiing, snow shoeing, telemark and alpine touring, split boarding and mountain culture.

It’s a grassroots, volunteer run festival for the backcountry community. In its second year, we have shifted over to Hotham, to take advantage of the fantastic sidecountry close to the resort.

Sept 7 & 8

Details here.

Protect Our Winters info night at Mt Hotham.

Sunday September 8, The Bird.

Great speakers and films. Details here.

Feathertop camping tour

Aimed at strong intermediate to advanced skiers and riders. Will follow the VIC backcountry festival. Full details announced soon. September 9, 10, 11.

Slay Safe academy.

Sept 26/27. Man Range, NSW

Mountain Sports Collective will be running a series of FREE Introduction to Advanced Backcountry sessions this season. These events are for participants who are eager to step beyond the patrol lines and learn the skills required to pursue extended ski touring (both skiing and split boarding). This is nominally everything you need to know to travel over a variety of alpine terrain. Details here.

[These pics are from the Razorback/ Hotham area in VIC]

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